150 Days, 150 Volunteers, 150 Organizations

Need some inspiration to get going with the Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge?  Read through the examples of people in our community who are using their talents, fueling their passions and showing they care.  Come back and visit this page!  We will be counting down from #150 till we reach #1 on July 1st, 2017.  From board work to the front-lines, from agriculture to sports, islanders are a generous bunch!  For each example, click on the link to learn more about the organization.

*there is more than one page of examples so please click on the blue arrow at the bottom of each page till you reach #1.*

Thank You to our Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge Partners!

Country Grocer, Salt Spring Classic and Antique Motor Club, Gulf Islands Driftwood



Jennifer Howard, Greenwoods Eldercare Society

I enjoy getting to know people.  I also enjoy being outside and making surroundings beautiful, to bring beauty and joy into people’s lives, especially where there is perhaps not so much beauty and joy available. I love it when I’m outside gardening and a Greenwoods resident knocks on the window, waves and smiles – I know they are saying “thank you” for the flowers – that they feel momentarily happier. The staff tell me how much they appreciate the colour, that the flowers are so up-lifting. I watch people take a moment to look at the flowers as they walk through the doors or lift their heads from wiping tables in the dining room. Gardening at Greenwoods Eldercare helps other people feel a little better, and that in turn makes me feel really good.  I suppose it’s making connections with people that I enjoy most by volunteering at Greenwoods.



Drew Stotesbury, Lady Minto Hospital Foundation

I value community service and believe it is important to contribute how and where I can. It is a special privilege to follow in the footsteps of Salt Spring pioneers who helped create, expand and sustain the Lady Minto Hospital – its Foundation is an important legacy that serves the entire community. And it is particularly meaningful to be working on the planning for a potential new primary care centre that could help solve many of the island’s challenges in recruiting new doctors. The best part of volunteering with the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation is hoping that, by applying my business experience, I can contribute to its future.



Leon Esquivel, Head Coach, SSI Wrestling Association


I love the fact that I am contributing to the education of kids by teaching them character-building and self-esteem. I see them growing through the sport and gaining tools for life. They conquer fear and doubt and when this happens, they learn happiness. In my job, I experience incredible satisfaction and I see with my own eyes how kids change and that fills me. I have direct contact. It is not like sending money somewhere and wondering if it got through.




Donna Cloete, SSI Conservancy

For me, the best part of participating in the Stewards in Training Program is twofold.  First, I agree completely with the underlying idea of the Stewards in Training Program which is to teach young people to enjoy, appreciate and respect the beautiful, natural environment in which they live. The fun, hands on approach that is used is effective and makes it enjoyable for all involved.  It’s rewarding to be a part of a program like this that helps our youth see that there is a role they can play.

Secondly, this is a program in which I have often been the beneficiary of learning experiences. Environmental science and marine biology are not my areas of expertise and I am a newcomer to BC so it has been great learning along with the students about such things as plant and tree identification, invasive species, pond invertebrates and the list goes on.



Alan Robertson,  Ometepe-Gulf Islands Friendship Association (O.G.I.F.A.)


The best part of volunteering for Ometepe Coffee is that we are working with a group of local friends on an extremely interesting and vital project, which is to help the farmers and people in Nicaragua.




Carol Williams, Salt Spring Hospice

I volunteer with Salt Spring Hospice, which provides caring support to individuals and families who are facing the end of life of a loved one. The work helps me focus on the aspects of life that really matter. It gives direction and purpose to my own life because I can help others in this unique way. It nourishes my soul!




Frank Neumann, Salt Spring Island Historical Society – Salt Spring Island Archives

There are always interesting, stimulating and creative tasks to do at the Salt Spring Archives.  I can choose the ones that interest me the most. It is very rewarding work.  Researchers are very appreciative of the collections that I have helped make accessible as well as for my assistance in finding material or adding new acquisitions to the Archives.





Evelyn Smith, Salt Spring Island Lions Club

My life in Lionism started because a Lions club helped me during a challenging time in my life. I was a single parent with two teens. I was working part time and being subsidized by income assistance. I was paying 80% of my income on housing. I was sick with worry all the time over whether or not I would have enough money for rent, food and other necessities.

The Courtenay Lions managed a social housing complex. I put my name on the list, thinking that I’d have to wait months if not a year to move up the list. The day after I handed in the application I got a call from the manager, saying that I was moved up the list because of my desperate situation, and in fact there was a vacancy at the end of the month and I could move in right away.

I was able to breath…and relax a little.   This opportunity was life changing. I was no longer overwhelmed by the stress of trying to support my children. I am forever thankful to the Lions for being there when I so needed them.

I found out about the other valuable services and projects the Lions Clubs do in their community, regionally and internationally, I knew I had to become part of this group that focused on making the community strong.



Abigail Walkner, SSI SPCA

Honestly it’s selfish – I volunteer with the SPCA because it makes me feel good. I love animals, I love helping animals, and it is a great way to give back to the community.

There are a lot of rural communities that don’t have SPCAs or animal shelters that are as equipped as ours. I feel very lucky to live in a community that is so ready to help animals, and equipped to do so in the ways we have been doing.

I have been volunteering with the Doggy Daycare for three years now. The best part is when you see a dog, initially so anxious to leave its owner, willingly crawl into your lap for belly rubs after playing with and brushing them for half an hour. It is a very humbling and rewarding experience.




Christa Wohlfahrt, Special Olympics BC – Salt Spring Island

I volunteer with Special Olympics on Salt Spring Island.  The best part of volunteering there is because the love I get, while spending time with them, is SO much more than what I can give.




Lynn Thompson, Salt Spring Trail and Nature Club


My volunteer work with the Trail and Nature Club involves leading hikes both on and off-island. Now 21 years a member, I have persisted with the Trail and Nature club because I like activities that get me outdoors with like-minded people. We live in one of the beauty spots of the world and I like seeing it all in all seasons. The group that hikes is a varied and enjoyable lot.




Diane Hayden, Salt Spring Literacy

There are many aspects of volunteering with Salt Spring Literacy’s One-to-One Reading program that I love. I love being in the school at the beginning of the day and seeing the welcome that the children receive from the teachers and principal. I love feeling the energy.

I love helping a child find the confidence to patiently work a little longer to master one more word that has been a struggle for them, and to own it. But the best part, the very best part for me is when they say to me, face beaming, “I read that whole page!”



Sharon Hawke, SSI Women’s Institute

The history of SSI Women’s Institute is rich with stories of how we have contributed to build better communities.   I find it humbling to be in the presence of some of our elder members who have given selflessly for so many years.  The comradery within our group of 20 is tremendous, and everyone gives because that is their nature.  Being part of this organization has helped me to realize that I have an obligation to my community and that we are all richer for our involvement.  It is very gratifying to have such loyal patrons to purchase our pies at the Fall Fair and Applefest.  The smiles on their faces, and the repeat clientel make it worth all the scratches I get from picking all those blackberries to fill all those pies!




James Cowan, Saltspring Gymnastics Association

The best part of volunteering with Saltspring Gymnastics Association is by far is going into the gym while a class is running and seeing kids working hard at learning skills. There are classes for toddlers who can just barely summersault to teenagers who do backflips. Gymnastics is one of the only indoor sports facilities on the island and knowing that I’m helping 100-150 children and youth get regular training and exercise is very rewarding. I also like seeing the smiles on the coaches’ faces when the gym is full, as well as working on my own handstands on the big blue fun floor.

photo credit:  Billie Woods


Marguerite Lee, Island Comfort Quilts

In 2004 when Carol Simpson was diagnosed with cancer, a quilt was requested for her from Victoria’s Quilts Canada, a national organization providing handmade quilts to people living with cancer in Canada. Subsequently, she and her cousin requested one for my daughter who was also receiving treatment.

One day, Carol said to me, “We could do this on Salt Spring Island. I’m a quilter, you’re an organizer”. I agreed to one year…that was 13 years ago.

With Carol, I started Island Comfort Quilts because this community had given me a good life. I felt it important to give back with whatever means or abilities that I had. We wanted any islander dealing with a life-threatening illness or injury to experience the comfort of all those hands of the community wrapped around them.   I didn’t know that years later, I would receive a quilt and experience the comfort while I was facing a health challenge.



Nigel Bisnar, Foundation of Youth

I love being a member of The Foundation of Youth. I deeply enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with fellow youths in granting. It’s inspiring to see all the initiatives put forward by the members of our community.  I am so lucky to live in such a nurturing and supportive place.




Susan Gordon, The Terry Fox Run Salt Spring Island

At the time of Terry Fox’s epic marathon, neither cancer, nor running played a large part in my life, but that has changed. In 2001 my mom passed away from lung cancer. In 2007 I began training for my first race, and in 2008 my dad also passed away from lung cancer. Both were avid volunteers in a variety of sectors and demonstrated what it means to “give back.”

As an event photographer for the SSI Terry Fox Run, when I use my camera to document the emotions, expressions, and efforts of participants,  I feel a great sense of connection to an event and the people involved.  I volunteer because I believe it is truly of benefit to me as an individual, to the community, and to those for whom the charitable donations are intended.



Jim Raddysh, Bandemonium Society

I believe deeply that community music is an important part of a healthy community. As an active volunteer with the Bandemonium Society, I know that I am making a difference to my whole community. For me, it really is the people that make volunteering enjoyable.



Radha Fournier, Gulf Islands Community Radio Society

My passion is simply radio.  I love it, I want to have it back, and more than anything for me, I see the radio as a service to the community in so many ways. This includes not only highlighting the visual and performing arts, but also highlighting our community members, whether individuals or businesses, as well as servicing the emergency services sector of the island. The radio is a wonderful way to express through sound the tapestry and diversity of the island. Working with a really strong board of directors and the committee chairs and members are extremely rewarding for me, especially when the cogs are really turning. The project started with a simple discussion of a couple folks, and now we are a board of 7, with 5 active committees and 150 paid members. That is rewarding!



John Foley,  Salt Spring Rod and Gun Club

I believe in protecting heritage and providing a safe place for people to discharge their firearms. The Rod and Gun Club has been in this community for 101 years. It is heritage and has been a major community centre for weddings and other events, as well as a strong supporter of the community through its many fundraising campaigns. It has a rich history built on the work of volunteers. It is horrible to think that it could be taken away. We are fighting hard to protect it and save it.



Susan Grace, Salt Spring United Church 


I volunteer at the Saltspring United Church. The BEST thing about volunteering there is the fact that all of my love, energy, talents and spirit go into helping create a strong and caring faith community which sustains me every day.





Kisae Petersen, SS Housing Council

I love volunteering for the Salt Spring Island Housing Council because I believe in more affordable housing in our community.  Housing is a core need and the impact of safe and affordable housing is significant.  I want to be a part of this vital improvement in our community and the lives of our citizens.   The Housing Council members are wise, caring and passionate about housing. I enjoy volunteering because I feel like I’m contributing my skills to strengthen the fabric of our community.



Conrad Pilon, The Salt Spring Farmers’ Heritage Foundation


I enjoy volunteering there because I like working with the amazing range of skills on this island. Much is accomplished through teamwork. And, I believe that volunteers influence/determine the kind of community we live in and (we) the entire community benefits




Cherie Geauvreau, Copper Kettle Community Partnership

Doing the work of Copper Kettle keep me grounded in the reality of people’s lives.



Bruce Dunbar, SS Minor Baseball and Fastpitch Association


There are so many reasons why we coach. Our own children are the reason why you start, then after a while you suddenly have more then a dozen children that are the reason. When I walked on to the field one day and suddenly felt a tiny hand holding mine, that is when I knew what being a coach was all about!





Catelyn Cresswick, Big Brothers, Big Sisters

I volunteer with Big Brother Big Sisters to help ensure our Salt Spring Island community remains as kind, generous, and accepting as it is today. By acting as a mentor to an elementary school student over the past three years, I have been given the opportunity to positively impact the lives of young students. My hope is that in our time together, they become more confident in themselves, and understanding of others, carrying these qualities with them throughout their lives.




Janet Kennedy, Salt Spring Centre School


For me the best part of volunteering at the Salt Spring Centre School is seeing the children learning and taking on new challenges. I enjoy participating in planning programs and activities for the children and then hearing them talk about those experiences. Hearing their ideas and seeing their creativity is extremely rewarding.




Marv Coulthard, Saltspring Antique and Classic Motor Club

I have been involved with the Saltspring Antique and Classic Motor Club since its inception in 2000. I get to see and meet with a lot of like-minded people who love collector cars, plus organizing and running the Saltspring Canada day Show and Shine, every year is hard work but very rewarding.




Janice Dickie, Salt Spring Sneakers


I co-founded and began volunteering for the Salt Spring Sneakers Running Club in 2008, and have loved watching the club bring together runners of all ages and abilities. We even have a few members in their eighties and nineties! Three times a week, I get to experience people having fun, becoming healthier, and setting and achieving goals. I am less a volunteer and more a grateful recipient of the Club’s upbeat and ever-supportive energy!





John Hobbs, Sendial Program – Thrifty Foods

I enjoy volunteering with Thrifty Foods’ Sendial program because it is fun and the customers are grateful.




Lynne Johnson, SS Arts Council

Initially I started Art Jam at the request of some of the marginalized folks in the community who wanted a place to share and do art. The group quickly grew by word of mouth, and the generosity of the arts community in providing us with supplies was overwhelming. We are an inclusive, non-judgemental group coming together to enjoy creating art. Watching people grow, feel appreciated and accepted has been most rewarding for me. We’re like a big family that gets together once a week to “play” with art supplies, share ideas and drink coffee. Holding two successful art shows in the community has been the icing on the cake, as well as rewarding for the artists. Having volunteered with various organizations on the island since moving here ten years ago, I can honestly say running this program has been the most gratifying thing I have done. I look forward with anticipation every week to seeing everyone and sharing in their creativity. I truly love what I am doing and the people I am doing it with!




Martin Oloriz, Salt Spring Elementary Parent Advisory Council (PAC)

I became involved with the PAC initially because I had the time and it seemed like they needed volunteers. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up President. I much prefer volunteering my time and helping out whenever I can rather than being the one to host meetings, follow Roberts Rules, go to regional meetings, being a signing authority etc. Having said all this, I suppose the number one reason that I am involved with the PAC is because I enjoy it, and I have the time. It has also given me a personal sense of fulfillment. Being part of the PAC has allowed me the opportunity to feel involved with what happens around the school. I am a social person and thoroughly enjoy interacting with all types of people and I really enjoy working with kids. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of what is happening at the school.



Eric van Soeren, Saltspring Island Sailing Club


Originally my volunteering was about using my training as a Chartered Professional Accountant to give back to the community and help various organizations. In the end I think I get back as much or more in the friendships I gain and the satisfaction I receive from working with the people to help achieve a goal. Volunteering helps me meet people that share a common interest but are especially interesting as they come from many different walks of life and are a wide range of ages.





Rita Archer, Salt Spring Island Public Library

I have been a library volunteer for 15 years. It is an organization that offers a wide variety of volunteer roles, an outstanding work environment and lots of friendly people to work with. I enjoy volunteering there because I have always loved libraries and it’s the one place on Salt Spring where everyone is welcome and its programs and services are free.



Michelle Bennett, Salt Spring Island Girl Guides of Canada

For me, the best part of volunteering with the Salt Spring Island Girl Guides is working with the Guiding team- both the girls and the leaders.  We have so much fun in all we do, whether it be crafting, camping, hiking, exploring the city or helping out in the community.      The Guides always do their best and they are always up for a challenge- they make me, and the community proud!  Before becoming a leader 9 years ago, I was a girl member of Guides for 12 years and I had wonderful experiences- I really wanted to provide some of those same experiences for the girls of SSI.





Elizabeth Zook, Beaver Point Hall

The best part of volunteering anywhere is knowing that you are one set of hands with many that can make things happen.  Beaver Point Hall has a very special community and working with this community makes it all worth while.




David Norget, Salt Spring Health Advancement Network


I like volunteering with the SS Health Advancement Network because I have an opportunity to create more caring in my community. I wish to make a difference in creating health and wellness for all. I wish to support the conditions that create an inclusive, healthy and well community.




Valerie Hughes, Meals on Wheels

I was a cook at Greenwoods for 25 years and we prepared Meals on Wheels there. I decided that it would be a nice thing to volunteer for when I retired. I feel very rewarded helping people in need.




Jeff Jones, Connecting Generations

When I started, I knew that I would be working with students from different parts of the world to help them practice their English. What I never thought was that I would learn so much about things I never imagined of other countries, from an insider’s point of view.   I also didn’t expect the deeper connection that I made with some of the students. The best was when two young girls from Brazil asked me, “Can I give you a hug?” and then threw their arms around me and said, “Thank you very, very much for helping me to learn English.” It was out of the blue and completely unexpected. It’s quite the experience and it is definitely a two-way. I think I learn more from them than them from me. I guess that’s why I have been doing it for 5 years. I never thought it would be as good as this. I am the winner.



Lise Poitras, Lady Minto Hospital Auxiliary

The best part of my volunteering is people, because I am a people person.  The three places where I volunteer, although very different, involve human contact so it always seems to me that I get a lot more out of it than I give.  Of course, if my work helps someone in the interim, all the better.



Lesley Reynolds, Salt Spring Island Foundation

The very best part of volunteering with the Foundation is the people I’ve met, both those within our organization and those associated with other community non-profits. They are talented, thoughtful and incredibly committed to helping islanders of all ages and situations. It’s been a wonderful learning opportunity and has helped me feel more connected to our community. I’m motivated to give to the Foundation by the broad range of charities that benefit from Foundation grants. I love how the grants have in one way or another touched the lives of a majority of islanders over the years, whether they are aware of it or not.




Laura Moore, Salt Spring Island Visitor Centre

I enjoy meeting people from all around the world as well as those travelling locally. I love the other volunteers.




Dave Baukol, Seniors Wellness, Van Excursion Program


The best part of driving is listening to the clients share their opinions, stories, and history of their lives. It’s really very interesting! And, I enjoy the idea that we are all enjoying our journey too!






Loretta Rithaler, 4H Club Salt Spring Island

The best part of volunteering with 4H is the opportunity to work with and meet new people with many different interests and talents. I love watching the youth grow into confident, successful, community minded individuals who will be our leaders of tomorrow. It’s fabulous to see members achieve success as they participate in the vast opportunities the 4H program has to offer, for personal growth and skill development that they will use the rest of their lives.



Judy Burch, Salt Spring Island Amateur Radio Club

For ME, the best part of volunteering with the Salt Spring Island Amateur Radio Club is the challenge of learning the many new advances in radio communication.  It is the sharing of our knowledge and equipment with members of the public at the Fall Fair and with the students at the High School.

It is being available to support the Emergency Program in their work with the POD program and providing community support during disaster events.




Randy Cunningham, Salt Spring Island Golf and Country Club

Having come from a business background I was familiar with making decisions, giving direction and getting the job done.   My ‘friends’ were mostly business connections and we had friendships but with strings attached. When I joined the golf club on Salt Spring I created a whole new social circle of friends without any strings! Getting involved with the golf club as a volunteer was also a whole different experience for me in my adult life. Working largely with members and volunteers required a much different approach than I experienced during my business career and I discovered I really enjoyed building the consensus necessary to achieve the club goals.



Amy MacLeod, Salt Spring Island Emergency Program

While managing Heritage Place, I learned about the POD through Salt Spring Island Emergency Program. Its immeasurable value became immediately obvious in case of any disaster happening on the Island. When I retired from Heritage Place, I became concerned that my neighbourhood was not an active POD. I became the Pod Leader for 100 Hills Pod. As challenging as it was to find people to join a “what if” cause, 100 Hills Pod is now active and connected with the Emergency Program. The best part for me is bringing neighbours together with a comforting and demonstrative connectedness that was non-existent before the Pod. When Hydro is down, no phones are available, WiFi is gone and the First Responders are overloaded, we have each other, our feet and, hopefully, battery-charged walkie-talkies.



Marcia Jansen, Fulford Elementary School

I love to volunteer at my daughters’ school. Besides the fact that parents help make extra curricular events happen, which I think is important, I find great pleasure in watching my daughter having fun at school.




Taryn Muldoon, Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre

I love animals.  My parents actually convinced me to move here by telling me, “They have a natural wildlife centre, maybe you can volunteer there”.  And it actually happened.  I volunteer with Island Wildlife Natural Care Center because the work that they do is very important and very much on the ground – saving animals, feeding them, giving them merciful deaths when required.  I want to be a part of that.  If I can wash dishes or do laundry for an hour and if it can free up a staff member to do the work that they need to do, then that’s what I want to be doing.




Brian Adderley, Saltspring Eggheads

Since retiring full time in 1995 and settling on Salt Spring Island, I have had some involvement with many organizations, including the SS Eggheads.  It’s hard to talk about one’s volunteer activities. What is volunteering and, when are you just doing your part in sharing the load?   So far I have had twenty plus great years of retirement.  I am convinced that doing things with other people is the key.



Anna Watkins, Phoenix Elementary School

I love volunteering at Phoenix School mainly because of the family type setting and energy that comes from the children and the teachers.   I look forward to driving up to the school and having all these smiling faces beaming out the window and waving enthusiastically knowing that they will be enjoying a “hot lunch” that day.  I feel cooking in the school provides that homey feeling that I remember as a child when my mom would have something baking or cooking, with this the aromas brought a sense of belonging, nurturing and comfort. The children at Phoenix are extremely grateful and are generous with their appreciative comments of the time and effort I give. Comments such as, “thank you sooo much that was the best soup, that was so delicious, can I have thirds?”  I can say that cooking there is a highlight of my week and brings me incredible joy and contentment.  Even though my children do not attend this school anymore I feel drawn to keep giving my time and love to the children at this welcoming school on Salt Spring.




Georgina Marcotte, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church

The best of volunteering music at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church is the praise and worship of God. I feel that I am helping other people come into the presence. The biggest part is the joy that it brings to me and to others.




Audrey Denton, Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program



As Red Cross volunteers we receive sincere thanks and appreciation when needed medical equipment is loaned out, knowing recovery from surgery or injury will be made easier with the equipment.  We get more thanks and appreciation when the equipment is returned.





Tudor Davies, Salt Spring Island Search and Rescue

For me, the best part of volunteering for SS Search and Rescue is being part of a dedicated team of volunteers who willingly give up a lot of their own time to help the community.  I have learned tracking, searching, first aid, high angle rope rescue, communication skills whilst being a member of this amazing collection of wonderful people from all walks of life.  I would thoroughly recommend Search & Rescue to anyone who is able to commit themselves.




Christin Boyd, Scouts Canada


The best part of volunteering with Scouts is watching the kids’ confidence grow, all while taking part in a wide variety of activities with an emphasis on trying new things and being outdoors.  It is great to be a part of an international organisation which supports leadership and skills training for both youth and adult volunteers. I also enjoy having fun and connecting with other communities for larger Scouting activities.




Hilda Spendjian, Canadian Federation of University Women SSI

I strongly believe that educating girls in developing countries can change our world and positively affect some of the difficult issues facing us today.  That’s why I volunteer with CFUW and in particular with the Hope Project.

The pleasure in volunteering for this project is working with an amazing and dedicated team of like minded members. The reward is in enabling girls access opportunities that education can bring, and knowing the positive impact that can have on their families and communities.

For me, letters from the students showing courage and determination in pursuing education despite difficult circumstances remains a huge motivating factor to continue working for this cause.


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