On Volunteerism

Credit Ben FrantzDale – CC-BY-SA

Guest Post

From time to time I will be publishing posts from guest authors whose writings I think will interest people. Of course, all opinions and assertions in these posts belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily agree with mine. Please direct your praise and criticism to the author. This post makes reference to a specific community, but the overall message is more universal. — rjb

Today’s guest author is Laird Smith.

Laird Smith

On Volunteerism

Wally and Auntie Kay Smith moved to Oliver during the Dirty 30’s, built a house and stayed in it for thirty plus years before building another house 100 meters away and moving again.

There are many good things to say about staying in one place. Many residents live in Oliver who were born there, schooled there, married there, and chose to stay there and live out their lives in the same community.

Some chose to operate their parents farm or business or started a business themselves, all serving the community as best as they could. Their choice spared them the disruption of moving to a new community and starting over again. Moving is expensive, mentally, physically, emotionally, and materially. By experience I know this to be true for I have moved many times, always by choice.

There is one segment of our society that has very bad judgement, and continuously puts themselves in harms way as they go in and out of jail, which means starting over every time, everywhere they go. Of course some learn and stay out of jail, but that story is for another day.

I have written the odd time or two about my move and life in Walla Walla Washington during the 1990’s. I have also mentioned, I believe, about my involvement in the City Crime Watch organisation there. It was formed to integrate civilians with the police department to cooperatively protect the City from the criminal element which is always at large.

I would have continued my active involvement with the City Crime Watch but chose to return to Canada where we settled in Red Deer, Alberta. There I became active in a civilian advisory group working with the RCMP. After ten years I moved again, this time to Edmonton.

Now I’m connected with the Edmonton Community League Block Connectors. The Community Leagues all have Block Connectors which are a link between the local neighborhoods and the Community Leagues. These groups work together to administer the City strategies for the well being of everyone.

I have been reading in ODN about the need for volunteers in Oliver to assist the RCMP in community policing. One might say, ” hire more police, I don’t want to be involved in policing! ” Well folks, police are not being trained fast enough. Alberta alone requires 230 more RCMP just to maintain standard policing numbers.

With Alberta having that need, where does that put the rest of Canada let alone li’l old Oliver? The answer for Oliver is community policing. Citizens MUST be actively involved in volunteering with the RCMP. A recent article in ODN said, ” one 4 hour shift per month is all that is required. ” That doesn’t seem to be an expectation that is impossible to meet, is it?

Think of the goal, making the community safer by putting more eyes on the street in coordination with the federally hired officials ( RCMP ) who know the law to protect you while you volunteer. Your accompaniment will give the officials comfort in numbers.

Isn’t it time to take back the streets, the pathways, and the alleys of Oliver?

With the population of Oliver at 5000, if just 1% volunteer, that number is 50 men and women. If half a % volunteer, that number is 25 men and women which is perhaps more realistic. Surely 25 people out of 5000 can step forward and commit to 4 hours a month to help protect the community of Oliver from the criminal element which seek to undermine the vulnerable. We are all vulnerable at one time or another.

During the 1970’s, Auntie Kay Smith was active in motivating the citizens of Oliver to build an arena because of the need. Look at how the citizens responded, you have an arena meeting the needs of the people. Once again, the call is going out to the citizens of Oliver to respond to a need. Will you be willing to respond before the need reaches a crisis point?

Laird Smith

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