Volunteering is never as easy as it first might appear. At times, the criticism can be very discouraging. In spite of the frustration that sometimes occurs, many good hearted locals step up to the plate over and over again.
“I should be clapping for you,” said Mayor Randy McLean to his audience at a special dinner held at Riverside Centre last Thursday evening. “I can’t imagine what Princeton would be like without our volunteers. Princeton would be a very boring place.”
The dinner had a reason. It was appropriately titled “Let’s Talk Princeton” and was part of a new plan for the community. The goal was to unite all the active local groups and their events under one roof for one night only.
“We are hopeful that by having this community dinner we can avoid overlap of local events,” added recreation coordinator Nadine McEwen. “By letting everyone know when events are already booked in for this following year, hopefully it will not only enable groups to choose a weekend that is open, but it will enable groups to work together better to make sure no one is stepping on anyone else’s toes. There are times when there are three or four events or activities on one weekend and then none for two or three weekends. It would be nice if we can spread events out so that everyone gets the best chance for their event to succeed and avoid failure because of that overlap. The community is really good about supporting events as long as there aren’t too many things on one weekend. When that happens they all suffer.”
Both McEwen and McLean pointed to the PXA committee as an example of sharing weekends for the best potential of success. Another merger of events is the merger made by the Rotary Club. Two summers ago the Rotary Taste of Ales and Chili Contest were held in conjunction with the Labour Day weekend long celebration of Princeton’s 150 birthday. The merger was a wonderful success. Learning from their success, the Rotary Club approached the town for permission to merge with the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. The festival coordinators were very receptive of the idea and it turned out so was the town.
“Our Taste of Ales and Chili Contest worked well with the music festival,” stated Rotary president Judy Short. “We hope we can do it again this coming year and that it will become an annual addition to the festival. I think they went very well together.”
Let’s Talk Princeton was presented by the town of Princeton in partnership with the Princeton Arts Council. Mayor McLean and Councillors Marilyn Harkness, Jason Earle and Frank Armitage were there to serve up the beef dip dinner to the crowded theatre. The town of Princeton had formally invited volunteers from each active local organization. Two members of each organization were encouraged to attend.
The dinner was a result of a productive brainstorming session held at the Sustainable Similkameen Seminar held in September. After the weekend, Councillor Harkness approached council with the idea which was met with a very positive response. It did not take long from there for the date to be confirmed and invitations to go out. “The Brown Bridge Pub gave us the beef in a bun at a really reasonable price,” stated Harkness.
After the dinner, the attendees held a very productive work bee. With Robin Lowe-Irwin typing and Nadine McEwen prodding, each group was soon shouting out calendar dates for 2012. Before the session ended, McEwen and Lowe-Irwin had events marked out for every month.
“This went really well,” stated McEwen. “The sooner we have these dates, the sooner we can advertise them on our website and elsewhere. This sharing will be really positive for the whole community.”
After the calendar sharing was completed, Councillor Harkness thanked McEwen and Lowe-Irwin for organizing the event. Then, she walked everyone through the modified Grant in Aid process. Council had reviewed the policies and refined the Grant in Aid which is used for non-profit organizations to apply for municipal funding for an amount up to $10,000. The organization or agency must “provide a program and service that serves, benefits and/or adds value to the community.”
“The dinner was a great success,” stated McEwen. “I am really happy with the progress we made for 2012. We have earmarked many important dates and I will be entering them all on Princeton’s new website which is not just good for us, it also helps visitors plan their holidays in our community.”