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Recognizing Jasper’s volunteers

More than 20 staff from Mountain Park Lodges managed to fill up at least 10 bags of garbage in May 2016. Photo - P. Clarke

More than 20 staff from Mountain Park Lodges managed to fill up at least 10 bags of garbage while out picking litter in May 2016. Photo – P. Clarke

Jasper is often defined by its physical attributes, but when you get to know the real Jasper there’s a lot more to it than snow capped mountains and an abundance of wildlife.

Just take a look at last week’s annual volunteer banquet.

While it may have been short on individual awards and accolades, there was no shortage of appreciation as 180 people packed the Jasper Activity Centre to celebrate Jasper’s volunteers.

The lack of awards and special recognition shouldn’t be seen as an ominous sign about the state of the community’s non-profits, but rather as a testament to the type of people who volunteer with them.

For most residents, volunteering isn’t about being recognized or receiving special awards, it’s about giving back to the community.

In fact, many volunteers would prefer not to be in the spotlight if given the choice, preferring to work quietly in the background to make this community a better place to live.

That’s the beauty about volunteerism. It isn’t about the individual, it’s about the community.

In Jasper we’re fortunate to live in such a close-knit community full of people who care about one another, whether it’s volunteering for a fundraiser, a sporting event or a non-profit group.

Each organization plays an important role in fostering an inclusive and caring community and without volunteers supporting these organizations, they simply wouldn’t exist.

Take a minute to try and imagine Jasper without its volunteers. Community dinners wouldn’t exist, the shelves at the food bank would be bare and dozens of sports teams would be without coaches.

That’s not to mention our volunteer fire brigade wouldn’t be there when we need them most and our town’s beloved trails would be at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Fortunately this dystopian world doesn’t exist thanks in large part to the tireless volunteers who put in thousands of hours to make Jasper a healthy, supportive community.

Most volunteers will tell you it’s not about what you give that makes volunteering worthwhile, it’s about what you get back.

As an anonymous person once said, “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy.  You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”

If volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy, then Jasper’s democracy is thriving and truth be told we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Thank you for all your hard work!

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