You will make a difference

Volunteers help make the world go around. And as we examine all the activities that take place in a year across Rainy River District, it would be difficult to measure the value volunteers contribute to the economy.
One only has to follow the Fort Frances or Emo minor hockey programs to begin measuring the time spent by coaches and support parents to make teams and leagues functions.
Each league hosts its own tournament, and hotels and restaurants fill with visiting families contributing to the economy of the community.
Earlier this month, the inaugural “Harmony of Nations” festival attracted visitors from across the region for a glorious weekend of music. Hotels filled once again, as did restaurants.
Cash registers rang regularly and money came into the community.
The weekend before, the annual “Castin’ for Cash” bass tournament hosted by Lake Despair Lodge attracted anglers from the Kenora, Atikokan, and the U.S.
Then this past week, the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship brought anglers to the border region from as far away as Florida, Missouri, and western Canada.
During their time here, each angler probably spent more than $1,000 on rooms, fuel, tackle, and meals in the community.
In two weeks’ time, the third-annual Boundary Waters Dragon Boat Festival will bring the waterfront to life for the third major weekend of activity. A week later, the always-popular Emo Fair will spring to life.
The common thread through all of these activities has been the commitment of people to volunteer to them happen. At one point, the FFCBC calculated that over the course of the week, more than 7,200 hours of volunteer effort went into the operation.
And that didn’t include the hundreds of hours spent by the committee organizing the week-long festival.
Similar numbers can be found for the “Harmony of Nations” festival, not to mention minor hockey programs, or figure skating, or the dragon boat festival, or the Emo Fair.
Even using minimum wage as a guideline for the value of volunteering, millions of dollars in time have been donated annually by volunteers to making exciting things happen in the district.
Without those volunteer hours, all community events would cease to exist.
Every event needs people to volunteer to make things happen. It might only require a couple of hours to put up posters, or it may involve greeting participants daily at events.
It could be delivering water to volunteers who are working in the sun. It could be taking an evening to man a penny table. It might be baking a square or loaf for a tea.
Many volunteer activities often only require a short period of time. But volunteer time is the most essential commodity we can donate to help make our community and district go around.
Try volunteering for a new group today. You will make a difference.

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