National Volunteer Week in Oyen April 12-18:
By Selena Smigelski, Student Volunteer
Oyen and District FCSS began the week of celebration by distributing “You’re Worth a Mint” frames with mints to the businesses, schools, and community centers throughout Oyen and surrounding communities. Volunteers are worth their weight in gold! All volunteers were invited to celebrate at the Oyen Legion Hall for beef on a bun, entertainment, and the FCSS Volunteer Star Award Presentations on Tuesday April 14th.
The program began with a delicious supper catered by Debmart, followed by a welcome from FCSS Director Heather Norris. Mayor Doug Jones brought greetings on behalf of the Town of Oyen and expressed his gratitude towards the volunteers of our communities. Throughout the evening Wilson School of Dance and Breaking Ground Dance Studio performed. Brenna Bamber also sang two beautiful songs. Darlene Scarff from Big Country Adult Learning and Laura Fleury from Alberta Health Services expressed how important it is to be a volunteer. Shelane Williams and Jolene Haag from the REAL project (mental health capacity building projects in schools) highlighted the benefits of one’s mental health by volunteering:
1.) It helps us actually feel better. When you help others, it promotes positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness. It can distract us from our own problems and engage us in meaningful activities that improve our self-esteem and competence.
2.) Secondly, it induces a sense of belonging and reduces isolation. Being part of a social network through volunteering activities can reduce loneliness and help us stay connected.
3.) It helps keep things in perspective. Through our volunteering and connection with others, we get the gift of stepping into the shoes of another, which helps cultivate empathy and keep our lives and the issues of the world into perspective.
FCSS Star Award Presentations:
Ellen Foot: In Ellen’s spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, knitting, crocheting, a card game called pinochle, and visiting friends and family. Ellen also has 17 grandchildren who she takes great pleasure in and loves baking for.
We asked Ellen what she thinks makes a person a good volunteer. You have to be able to get on with people and enjoy being with them in order to make them happy.
Ellen enjoys volunteering because it is always nice to make someone happy for a little while, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
Ellen takes great pride in volunteering for the Leisure Club, which consists of numerous activities.
Ellen specifically volunteers at the Extended Care 2 days a week and the United Church every Sunday. In the past she has also contributed her time to the school to make hotdogs for students, as well as serving food at the Oyen Fair for 12 years.
Karyn Caskey: When Karyn is not volunteering she enjoys gardening, reading, taking walks and bike rides with her family, and being involved in her children, Kallie and Kacey’s, activities.
In order to be a volunteer Karyn believes that a person has to be dedicated. You have to find something you’re interested in and spend time learning about it and do your best. But most of all, you have to put your whole heart into it.
Karyn takes great pleasure in volunteering because she thinks that it is extremely important to give back to the community as a whole. She always tries to be involved with at least one organization at a time.
Karyn’ s most favorite volunteering experience in her whole life was during college, where she volunteered for the Canadian Mental Health Association. There, she did one on one sessions with terminally ill patients who also had a mental illness.
Over the years Kayrn has volunteered for many organizations. She has dedeicated countless hours to the Oyen Skating Club, and most recently Child Find Alberta. She also volunteers at schools and casinos and things like that.
After 10 years of dedication to the Oyen Skating Club as a board member, Karyn has recently stepped down. She took great satisfaction in the Oyen Skating Club.
Vern Brockmann: Vern was born and raised here. He and his wife Debra have 3 kids; Jarrod, Carson, and Landon. Vern’s farm keeps him very busy, but with the help of his dad and brother it leaves with time to volunteer.
Vern donates his time to the Esther community. Just last year Vern drove the bus for the Communities in Action Paintball trip to Medicine Hat for the high school boys. Vern has also dedicated countless hours to the boys high school basketball team. He enjoys watching the boys improve over the years and getting to know them as individuals.
Vern has many great memories of volunteering with the kids, and the numerous shenanigans that took place in hotels and on bus rides.
In the past Vern has also coached basketball at OPS.
Lucille Heartz: Lucille is married to Sheldon Hertz and together they live on a farm at New Brigden. They have 2 children - Nelson who is engaged to Jana, and Nicole who is married to Travis Foot. Travis and Nicole have blessed Sheldon and Lucille with a grandchild, Ridge, who is there pride and joy. She likes being involved in the small community of New Brigden and spending time with friends and family…especially RIDGE!
Lucille doesn’t believe that there are any special qualities to being a volunteer; anyone can be a good volunteer! She enjoys being a volunteer because it allows her make new friends, meet new people, and work with others.
Lucilles favorite volunteering experience was about 21 years ago when New Brigden hosted the Hwy 9 & 41 baseball playoffs & had over 100 ball players and their families in their little community. Lucille said, “It was a great community effort resulting in a fun day for everyone.”
In the past Lucille’s volunteer hours were donated to anything and everything her children were involved in- 4H, hockey, baseball and so on. These days she mostly volunteers in New Brigden with the community club and the curling club- which involves anything & everything from skating parties to helping with curling bonspiels - - - - keeping the community ALIVE!
Lucille would like to thank FCSS for recognizing all of the volunteers in our communities.
Pamela Stark: Pam and her husband Rob together are raising three kids. By becoming a parent, she soon realized the fulfillment and importance of volunteering in her community and province. Pam loves baking and cooking for others. This sprouted from her interest in helping by DOING things for others.
Pam said that a volunteer must not expect anything in return. Give it your all and always set examples! She enjoys volunteering because her life is invested in her children. Pam wants to show her children the importance of helping others and how the community will grow from it.
Pamela doesn’t really have a “favorite” volunteering experience. Every moment helping someone is not wasted. Everything she has done has provided her with great satisfaction. Pam has been heavily involved in Oyen Youth Justice, Oyen Soccer Club, Oyen 4H Club, Alberta Restorative Justice Association, and Play Group.
More specifically, Pam is very dedicated to the Oyen Youth Justice. She is an executive of the small committee that provides resources and a learning experience when wrong decisions were made involving the law. She also is the president for the Oyen Soccer Club with a small team of
executives that organizes the season, equipment, coaching, players, games, and funding. Pam is also the casino chair for the club.
Heather Norris presented Sharon Ness with an award for her dedication to the FCSS board as an active member for two years.
National Volunteer Week was concluded with a lunch at Oyen Public School for all of the students and staff who have shown generous acts of volunteerism, and a tea at the Lodge.