National Volunteer Week is an opportunity for organizations across the country to celebrate and express appreciation for volunteers. Volunteer Alberta and the Government of Alberta work closely to administer funding to help celebrate volunteerism in these communities. Since each community is different, they all celebrate in their own way! Today, we are going to take a closer look at the Village of Waskatenau (pronounced WA-SET-NA, the ‘k’ is silent!). We would like to introduce Bernice from the Waskatenau FCSS, who has graciously answered some questions about her community, National Volunteer Week, and more!
Get To Know Bernice:
Bernice is the Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Waskatenau. She mentioned how “extremely proud” she is of the volunteerism in her community and that it “spearheads the opportunities for residents to belong to something.” She adds that they “are a small municipality, so it’s difficult sometimes for [their] office to provide opportunities to residents.”
A Background Of Waskatenau FCSS:
The Village of Waskatenau was first incorporated as a municipality in 1932. While its population remains small at 247 according to the most recent census (Statistics Canada, 2021), the village takes great pride in its community facilities and strong community spirit. Waskatenau FCSS works to serve the residents and businesses in the Village of Waskatenau. Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) help communities implement social programs and improve the quality of life for residents, including increasing access to participate in social, work, and volunteer opportunities.
National Volunteer Week Celebrations
For the last 20 years, Waskatenau celebrates its volunteers through a village-wide cleanup event. They found that this was the best way to get community members and school participants alike to participate. The day is organized with a welcome to residents and schools, opening remarks, and then a community cleanup. The event has changed and grown over the years with the community – in the past, certificates and thank-you gifts were also distributed at the event but it has recently been replaced with a BBQ after the event which has given more opportunity for engagement and fun.
This year, their event held a talk on volunteerism accompanied by a “green” giveaway for participants. Waskatenau FCSS has also been working on going green the last few years, in which they have used funding to purchase spruce seedlings as giveaway prizes.
Volunteering “weaves us together” at The Village of Waskatenau:
To Waskatenau FCSS, this means that weaves are formed by “working together,” which offers “communication and conversation… a door may open for other people to be invited into other community organizations.” Bernice adds that these weavings give “an opportunity to come together and share volunteerism.”
Simone Michalski (She/Her)
Political Science student at the University of Alberta
Simone is an undergraduate student studying Political Science at the University of Alberta. She has been placed with Volunteer Alberta through her CSL (Community Service-Learning) class. She has volunteered with a couple of organizations throughout her high school career, but currently looks forward to expanding her knowledge by working with non-profit communities in Alberta. Upon graduating, she hopes to further her education and attend graduate school for family law. Some of her hobbies include writing, sewing, cooking, and finding different ways to give back to her community