An editorial by long-time CKS volunteer Bob Kary
Organized canoe kayak exists in Saskatchewan only with the work of volunteers. Volunteers play critical roles as board and committee members, as officials, in keeping clubs operational and organizing and hosting events. This is true regardless of canoe kayak discipline.
In 2018, in addition to the CKS board and committees, there were eleven registered clubs in Saskatchewan all lead by volunteer board members. While CKS has an Executive Director to manage the multiple tasks that support and administer programs and funding, policy and program development is guided by board and committee members putting in hundreds of volunteer hours. Volunteers tend to be parents, active adult/masters members, and individuals once involved with their children in the sport who have continued to give to the paddling community.
Volunteers are core to the club system. Most clubs were started by dedicated volunteers, and continue to exist because of the enthusiasm, passion for the sport and leadership of volunteers. They construct docks and boat racks, put in and take out race courses, organize and staff fundraisers and social events.
Every event is organized and staffed by volunteers. In Saskatchewan sprint racing, clubs host and ensure the success of the Season Opener (SRCC) the Canada Day Regatta (WRCC), the Yorkton Regatta (YCKC) and in alternate years, Divisional Finals (WRCC). Additionally, there are team trials for multi-sport games, such as the WCSG and CSG. In marathon canoe racing, multiple events are organized annually, including the Lumsden to Craven Race by the Regina Marathon Canoe Club and in Saskatoon the Cranberry Punch, Eb’s Classic, and the Rec & Rookie Race. Events officials are principally volunteers trained and certified to ensure high quality completion. Saskatchewan trained officials work at local, divisional, national and international competitions. These many experienced officials have volunteered for hundreds of hours to achieve their expertise.
Volunteering in our sport has many benefits. There is a social component and a satisfaction derived from giving back to the sport and the community. Benefits may consist of:
· Developing a sense of belonging
· Participating in the community life of your Club
· Having fun and meeting people
· Doing your part and contributing to the development of your Club
· Making a difference for the Club, coaches and athletes
· Gaining experience and knowledge in the field of sport
· Becoming familiar with the culture of canoeing and kayaking
· Sharing your talents and interests
· Taking up new challenges
Thank you all volunteers who make the difference!