“Friendly and outgoing.”   “Super knowledgeable.”  “Wonderful people.”  “So talented.” 

Who are these people that are always so highly praised in online forums, in person, by telephone, email and in every way possible?  They are the dedicated volunteers of Westfield Heritage Village and the accolades are typical.  With a volunteer organization currently numbering 265 members, Westfield is joining in with Volunteer Canada during the week of April 19 to 25 to celebrate the contributions of these and the other incredible 12.7 million volunteers who so generously contribute to communities across Canada.  It’s time to applaud Canada’s volunteers and Westfield will be cheering loudly!

Like most of us, Westfield volunteers are staying safe at home right now.  Their passion for history and commitment to the museum is genuine, however, and while they look forward to returning to the village as soon as possible, many continue to find ways to contribute.  Some are working on carpentry projects, others sewing costumes, exploring historic baking techniques, doing research or other special activities.  Westfield wants to recognize and celebrate all their volunteers during National Volunteer Week, even if they can’t do so in person.

In all seasons, in all weather, Westfield volunteers ranging from toddlers to seniors faithfully step up to share their knowledge, skills and expertise in a wide range of roles, both public and behind-the-scenes.  They work as historical interpreters, create and maintain costuming, toil in period gardens, carry out heritage carpentry, preserve historic buildings, care for artifacts, oversee supplies, operate the gift shop, assist with food and visitor services, prepare for special events, fundraise, undertake research, split and haul firewood, perform administrative work, attend community events and contribute to countless other activities.  They are enthusiastic, energetic, passionate, dedicated and generous.

Sometimes volunteers are drawn to Westfield share a skill, to gain some work experience, to pursue a new interest or to find social connection with others.  They might come as individuals, with partners, as families or with friends.  No matter what their background or unique interests, all volunteers are united in a core desire to make a difference, to contribute, to be a part of something that matters.  And, Westfield just wouldn’t be Westfield without them.

Rondalyn Brown, Manager, recently expressed the organization’s deep appreciation,

“Volunteers are the backbone of Westfield.  Without volunteers, Westfield would not be able to provide the programs and services for our community in the ways that it does.  Westfield volunteers care about their community and demonstrate this each time they come out and share their time and incredible talents.  This year, and every year, we applaud them for all that they do.”

Although it will not be possible to thank Westfield volunteers in person at this time, there are lots of creative plans afoot to let them to know just how much they are appreciated.  It seems the latest technology does indeed have a place in an organization so steeped in history!

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