Has someone you know offered support in a time of need, helped you discover something new or rewarding, encouraged you to become active and involved in your community, and generally made a great difference in your life?
If so, the Township of Langley wants to know about them.
Residents are encouraged to nominate dedicated volunteers for one of three prestigious awards that will be presented in April, during the Township’s annual volunteer appreciation event.
The Eric Flowerdew volunteer award will be given to an individual who promotes active living and enhances Langley’s quality of life and the John and Muriel Arnason Award will go to a couple or pair – whether they are family, colleagues, or friends – who volunteer together to make Langley a better place.
The Pete Swensson outstanding community youth award will be presented to a Grade 11 or 12 student for their outstanding athletic and scholastic achievements, community involvement, and personal qualities.
“So many people are committed to making this an exceptional place to live and have had a significant an impact on others,” said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese.
“We are honoured to recognize and thank them at this special evening, and hope residents will take the time to nominate outstanding volunteers for the awards, to give them the accolades they deserve.”
The deadline for nominations is Feb. 18.
To submit an individual or couple for the Flowerdew and Swensson awards, people can visit www.tol.ca/awards. To nominate a student for the Swensson Award, people can contact their school principal.
Putting a name forward not only honours the volunteer, it draws attention to the many organizations that do such good work in the community and supports volunteerism in general, said Sylvia Anderson, charter member and volunteer coordinator with the Langley Volunteer Bureau, which pairs local residents with organizations and events in need of a helping hand.
“There is such a need for volunteers in our community,” she added.
Anderson is the 2017 Flowerdew award recipient and was recognized for her legacy of volunteerism, which includes everything from supporting seniors and those with special needs to emergency preparedness and helping care for the environment.
Volunteers, Anderson said, are vital to organizations that are trying to enhance the community and assist others, but lifestyles have changed through the years and fewer people are stepping up to help out.
Yet they should, she said. Not just for the community, but for themselves.
“It is so rewarding and you just need to start,” said Anderson, adding that volunteering is a great way to stay active, meet people, and get to know your community. It is especially beneficial for seniors as a way of keeping the mind and body active, providing a sense of purpose, and preventing isolation.
Whatever your age, there is a diversity of volunteer opportunities available in Langley for people of all interests and abilities to explore.
Anderson suggests trying a few things, for the variety of experiences they bring.
She notes that the tasks and circumstances involved with her volunteer work at Langley’s Canadian blood donor clinic are different than those required at the Nature House she assists with at Campbell Valley Regional Park.
But both are important and satisfying.
“I love working with volunteers and some of the friendships I’ve made have lasted for more than 50 years,” said Anderson.
She encourages residents to not only nominate a deserving volunteer for this year’s awards, but to try volunteering themselves: “You do it because you want to do it; it’s very fulfilling and provides a connection. Try it out – you might like it.”
Eric Flowerdew and Arnason award winners will receive a $750 monetary award to donate to a recognized charity or society, allowing them to make an even bigger difference where they live.
The winner of the Pete Swensson Award will receive a $750 scholarship.
For more information, contact Lisa Egan at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 604-532-7583.