From April 10-16, we are celebrating "National Volunteer Week" so once again, I am putting my regular interview feature on hold to honour the men and women who dedicate their time so that we can enjoy the game we love.
For those of us who grew up in the YBC, we fondly recall the coaches, secretaries and program directors who worked so hard to make our game fun. While we saw them each week at the lanes, we didn't get to see the amount of time they spent throughout the week doing the standings and stats, preparing tournaments and all of the other organizational duties involved in running a successful program. Their workload is much greater than most people realize. For those of us with kids who bowl, helping out the other kids while we are there can just be a fun way to stay busy, since we're there anyways. Some programs, such as ours' at Neb's Fun World have 3 shifts and some of the volunteers are there ALL DAY, from 8:30 in the morning until almost 4:00 in the afternoon! These are the folks who deserve a pat on the back, especially since some of them don't even have kids in the program. Even for YBC tournaments, much more is involved than the average child or parent would realize.
Here in Ontario, there are 12 Zone Reps who attend several meetings each year to plan for the Zone and Provincial events, which are overseen by Melanie Girard and the Bowl Ontario staff, who do an outstanding job at running the program. The average bowler would have no idea how much planning goes into booking lanes, making lane draws, lane sheets, ordering awards, etc. This list goes on and on.
Even in the adult ranks, the average league requires qualified folks to ensure that things run smoothly. League executives, especially secretaries and treasurers put in more hours than people would think.
Those who have been fortunate enough to participate in a National Championship at any level quickly understand how much work is involved to run such a large event, and that you definitely need lots of volunteers. Our Championships are always in good hands, whether run by Bowl Canada, the C5PBA or the MBAC, but running events of this magnitude wouldn't be possible without a spirited team of helpers to take care of transportation, souvenirs, 50/50 tickets, being a Judge of Play, meals, or any other tasks that may arise.
Many people also forget to realize that the individuals who sit on our Provincial Board of Directors are also volunteers. Until I got involved with our Bowling School here in Ontario, I had no clue as to how much planning and how many meetings were involved to ensure that all of the bases were covered with each event. These people really know what they're doing! In speaking to Al Hong, himself a LIFE MEMBER of the C5PBA who has played a huge role in our game from his time working out west, to running the C5 for many years, and who has been Executive Director of the O5PBA since 1994, he gave me an idea of what is involved in being a Board Member. The O5 holds 12 monthly meetings each year in addition to overseeing all of the other committee meetings for events such as the Bowling School, Open or Convention. In total, members attend approximately 20 meetings per year on top of the prep work they do on their own, and don't forget that they also attend and run the events.
The Open itself, is a huge undertaking for the O5. On top of all the work with the host committee, many Board members are there all week starting with preparing the centre and setting up the bleachers on Monday, and running the Press Conference on Tuesday, and finalizing everything for the competition to begin on Wednesday.
Although there has been a bit of chatter about the possibility of moving the Open out of Sherwood, the one thing that would be difficult to replace is the awesome staff of volunteers provided by the local Hamilton Association. According to Al, on top of the O5 staff, approximately 30 people give up their time to help out each Easter! It would be difficult for any other zone to replicate that support!
Many additional organizations also rely heavily on volunteers including each provincial Masters Association, as well as Y.A.B.A. here in Ontario.
Other unsung heroes in our game are the people who put in countless hours with our local associations. I recently spoke to Heather Cresswell, a long-time (that sounds OLD- she's not, she just started YOUNG) member of the York-Simcoe board who currently serves as their President. According to Heather, the YS5PBA holds 8 general monthly meetings during the season, plus one annual general meeting. In addition, they hold 8 executive meetings plus 1 to prepare for convention and also 1 in the late-summer to prepare for the upcoming season. Oh, and did I mention that she also works with the O5 helping with marketing and attends 8-10 of those meetings each year. In addition to Heather's work, her husband John is the Vice-President of the O5PBA and also sits on the York-Simcoe Board. Heather figures that John attends close to 30 meetings a year between his two posts. And don't forget, all of this doesn't include all of the time they spend planning for and running tournaments throughout the year. And in case you thought I was finished with the Heather and John, they also both work a shift of Bingo each week to help with fundraising! Amazing dedication!! (And don't forget to buy your 50/50 tickets from Heather at the Open.)
Many of our amazing volunteers wear different hats in representing our game, but I'm not sure anyone has held more jobs than our own O5 President, Mr. Dave Post.
Dave has served for many years in just about every capacity imaginable. In the YBC, Dave has been Program Director, coach and even Zone Rep. Dave has also coached in 22 consecutive Opens and has taken 2 Youth Challenge teams to Nationals, winning gold in 1999. As a volunteer in the adult ranks, Postey started with his local Board in Great Pine Ridge which later became part of Kawartha Lakes. In 1997, he moved on to the O5PBA Board and became our President in 2004, replacing one of his mentors, Jennifer Guay. Dave is also 1st V-P of the C5PBA and in 1997 was inducted into the Builders Division of our O5PBA Hall-of-Fame. When I spoke to Al Hong, he estimated that Dave attends approximately 45 meetings per year as well as 6 major tournaments. On top of all of the work he does at home preparing for everything, Postey spends about 100 days per year working on our sport! And keep in mind, many of those are weekends.
This will be Dave's last year serving as President of the O5, and on behalf of bowlers from coast-to-coast, and especially from those here in Southern Ontario, we thank him for everything he has done for our game and wish him well as he takes a well-deserved break to golf, spend time with his family and watch the Petes LOSE! (Sorry, I'm from Oshawa, had to throw that in!) Cheers Dave!!
As I mentioned, there are incredible people all across this land who dedicate their time and effort to make this great game more enjoyable for everyone. The next time you're having a blast playing the game you love, make sure you thank the people who made it possible!
As always, thanks for reading and feel free to add your own "National Volunteer Week" tribute in the "comments" section below, or on the FACEBOOK group.
For those participating, good luck in the Open next week!