A chance to get involved in community

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The newly-formed Haliburton Highlands Volunteer Coalition is putting together a volunteer engagement fair at the Haliburton Legion June 16, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Brigitte Gebauer, volunteer coordinator for HHHS, is taking the lead. She said the coalition is composed of people from a variety of organizations that rely on volunteers.

“The coalition is new, and we are looking to create a strategy to build capacity and awareness across the board in terms of volunteerism in the community,” she said.

There will be booths for numerous organizations that rely on volunteers to continue to offer the events and services they do for the community.

“Such a variety of organizations, all under one roof, will give people a sense of what’s available,” Gebauer said. “Great for community connections, amazing opportunities that people may not be aware of, so many ways to get involved and feel good.

“Our community wouldn’t look anything like it does without volunteers,” added Gebauer. “They are part and parcel of having a vibrant and healthy community on so many different levels.”

County of Haliburton manager of tourism, Tracie Bertrand, said it’s a great idea as, “volunteers are the backbone of Haliburton Highlands. They are dedicated, passionate and amazing. Without them, the County would not be what it is today. They love their community, they’re very proud of it, and want to make an impact.”

Since COVID, however, she said a lot of people have stepped back from volunteering.

The fair will provide the organizations with an opportunity to re-engage with past volunteers, and connect with new people on a personal level who may not know much about how to get involved with their community.

There has been a change in how people and organizations work with volunteers, according to Gebauer, and that has, “opened up so many creative opportunities, volunteer lead positions, and event-based volunteering.”

Bertrand added, “this volunteer engagement fair is a step in the right direction in recognizing the significant impact volunteers make on all of the things we’re working on. They are indispensable to us.”

Shining a positive light on volunteerism, connecting with people who are new to the area, engaging seasonal residents, and re-engaging past volunteers is what the coalition is hoping to accomplish with the fair.

Bertrand said, “there will be volunteers talking to potential volunteers, about how amazing some of the events are, and how volunteering has positively impacted themselves and their community. We are looking to get previous volunteers involved again, looking for those new volunteers that want to try something fun and leverage their skill sets, strengths, and experiences.”

For more information, go to volunteering@ hhhs.ca.