Lake Country, like so many other smaller communities, has a solid core of organizations created to fill the various social, recreational and service needs of our citizens. Most of these organizations were created when our town was smaller and more tightly-knit, and they have served the test of time because of dedicated, hard-working volunteers.
Few such volunteer organizations have served us better or longer than the Oceola Fish & Game Club. Those folks are not just about hunting and fishing, they’re all about building a sustainable interface between wildlife and an increasingly urbanized community. The Club presents the most coveted award our area offers, “The Lake Country Citizen of the Year” award, given by the club in honour of Sax Koyama.
Sax was a quiet man, dedicated to this community and the people who lived here. He was very involved in the Fish & Game Club and tragically lost his life while participating in the annual winter fishing derby on Okanagan Lake. His name will be long-remembered as synonymous with volunteering and community commitment.
The recipients of this award over the last twenty plus years yields an impressive list of individuals from every avenue of community service. Most of the winners I’ve known over the years, would probably say that there were others who were just as deserving of this award. Good volunteers are like that
However, all is not as well as it could be in many of our organizations. Simply put, in many cases the volunteers are too few and getting older. Where are the younger “reinforcements”? I don’t accept that all younger folk are “too busy”.1 Most of the many volunteers I know have been helping forever. Every organization could benefit from more help, and some younger hands would be appreciated. I also wonder why more of our newer residents don’t get involved. They might find volunteering an enjoyable way to integrate into the community, and every organization that I know of enthusiastically welcomes the “newbies”.
Why not find an area of service in Lake Country and attend a meeting? It just might open some truly enjoyable doors to meeting some of the finest people who live here and to making this a better place in which to live.
I’m very proud that my sister Sharon, brother Glen, and sister-in-law Karen, are volunteers at our museum, and I think they’re really enjoying the experience. I think volunteers find their efforts well rewarded. Try it, you may come to love it.2
National Volunteer Week in Canada is April 10th to 16th, 2016.
Director, Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society
NB: The Annual General Meeting of the Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society will be held on Thursday, April 14th at 9:00 am in the Carrs Landing Room at the District of Lake Country municipal building. We’d love to see you.
1 It’s heartening to know that many of the volunteers at the Lake Country Museum and Archives are young people — people with enthusiasm and technical skills. They, along with our other volunteers, are greatly appreciated.
2 The original version of this article appeared as a Backward Glances column in The View.