Katimavik bids farewell to Vernon

An instrumental group of volunteers is saying goodbye to Vernon.

Since 2005, Katimavik has brought 17 groups of young committed volunteers to the community to assist with the needs of local not-for-profit organizations. 

Wednesday is the last day of the program for the current group of Katimavik volunteers, and they will say their goodbyes to the residents of Vernon. What makes this year even more significant is that it also marks the departure of Katimavik from Vernon.  

Danielle Kraus, communications and development manager explained that it is normal for Katimavik to rotate communities.

“We feel it is important for the program to benefit as many communities as possible in British Columbia, as well as in the North, Pacific and Prairies region as a whole.”

Two Katimavik volunteer groups visited this year. Each Katimavik volunteer averaged 35 hours a week of service with the following organizations: Allan Brooks Nature Centre, Canadian Mental Health Association, Vernon and District Association for Community Living (ACT and Venture Training), Okanagan Science Centre, Vernon Arts Centre, Downtown Vernon Association, The Vernon Winter Carnival, Independent Living Vernon, and the Vernon Public Art Gallery.  Over the last six years, other local groups, including The Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, Vernon and District SPCA, North Okanagan Child Care Society and the Regional District of North Okanagan benefited from Katimavik.

In addition to hours given by the youth to their volunteer-service placements, Katimavik volunteers also found time to lend a hand in many important community events, including the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Sunshine Festival and this year’s Vernon Winter Carnival.  

“Katimavik has been an excellent program for our community and we were fortunate to have the Katimavik volunteers up at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre,” said Mary Jong, ABNC manager. “They were eager to learn, enthusiastic, and helped enhance our programs, we will miss having them at the Nature Centre.” 

“We believe the program was a mutually rewarding one through which our not-for-profit trade association was able to draw upon the skills, talents and energies of Katimavik volunteers and they were able to acquire valuable experience with community events, communications and marketing in a small business environment, hone language skills, and develop their self-confidence through individually assigned projects,” said Earl Hansen, executive director, Downtown Vernon Association.

“It has been a privilege to have the Katimavik volunteers here at the Okanagan Science Centre.  Their contributions can be seen all over the centre,” said Paula Lambert, executive assistant/volunteer coordinator.  

Katimavik extends a sincere thank-you to all who helped make the program possible.

 Katimavik is also grateful to many others, including all billeting host families, and workshop providers who have contributed to the success of the program these last six years!  

Katimavik promotes civic engagement and fosters sustainable communities through challenging national youth service programs. Since 1977, Katimavik has enabled more than 30,000 Canadians to be involved in more than 2,000 communities throughout Canada. Volunteers between the ages of 17 and 21 live with 10 other youth from across the country in one or two communities. They commit to volunteering in the context of a six-month program where they will provide work 28 to 35 hours a week for a variety of not-for-profit organizations. Youth also benefit from Katimavik’s structured learning program that focuses on the development of lifelong personal, professional and social competencies in the areas of civic engagement, healthy lifestyle, cultural discovery, official languages, communication, environmental stewardship and project coordination. 

For more information on Katimavik visit  www.katimavik.org or visit their blog at www.gokatimavik.com