This week, we’re recognizing several of our Tolko employees for the amazing and selfless volunteer work they do in their communities. Volunteers give their time, skills, experience, and passion to help others, without expecting anything in return. And while volunteering is a form of service, many volunteers will tell you that “you get more than you give”. The magic of volunteering is that it creates social and economic value for all.
Today, we’d like to introduce you to Devon Leys, Purchasing Team Leader, Accounting from Tolko’s Athabasca Division. Devon recently became a first-time male snowshoe coach for Team Alberta North at the Arctic Winter Games, held March 18-24, 2018 in the Slave Lake region. He recently shared a few thoughts with us on why he became a volunteer and what he enjoys most about volunteering with youth and sports.
CC: How long have you been a volunteer coach with the Arctic Winter Games?
DL: This was my first-time volunteering as a male snowshoe coach for Team Alberta North at the Arctic Winter Games.
CC: What made you decide to become a volunteer?
DL: I became a coach when my wife’s friend, who is a coach for Team Alberta’s female athletes approached me about an opportunity to coach the male athletes. They were looking for someone who lived an active lifestyle, enjoyed snowshoeing, had a positive personality and was responsible enough to chaperone four male kids between the ages of 12-18 for a week. These athletes are so focused and they take their sport seriously, and I wanted to be a part of something that would help them prepare for their future. In general, I volunteer because it’s a great way to meet like-minded people and get involved in the community.
CC: What is the most rewarding part of being a volunteer coach with this organization?
DL: For me, the most rewarding part was seeing the athletes’ enthusiasm, excitement and nervousness for the races and the look on their faces when they finished a race and knew that they’d done the best that they could. It proved to me how dedicated they were to perform their best and it was great knowing that we as coaches were helping shape their future.
The Arctic Winter Games was one of the most rewarding volunteering experiences that I have ever been involved with and if I have the extra vacation time in 2 years I would love to volunteer for it again when it’s hosted in Whitehorse, YT.
CC: What would you say or recommend to anyone else interested in becoming a volunteer?
DL: I often hear people complaining about their situation, like work, friends, remote location, lack of activities, etc. At these times I highly recommend volunteering. It’s a constructive and healthy way to take some of that focus away from yourself and give back to those who need your support. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet people who share your interests.
CC: Are there any other thoughts that you’d like to share with us today?
DL: I think that volunteering is a great way for people to meet friends and become a part of the community. The truth is when I lived in High Level, AB with my wife we struggled during the first couple years due to living in a remote location and being so far away from family. We found that shortly after deciding to volunteer with several local organizations, we really connected with people in the community. Now fast forward five years…when we decided to move to Slave Lake it was very hard to leave the friends that we now called family and the town we had made good memories in.
About National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week (NVW) is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers. Join Volunteer Canada and Investors Group April 15-21, 2018 to recognize the contributions of volunteers in our communities. This year’s theme is: “Celebrate the Value of Volunteering – building confidence, competence, connections and community”.