Town councillor Malcolm Fischer dons his fun side on stage with Hoja

Stettler’s local organizations come together to celebrate community volunteers

“Volunteering is an essential part of feeling that you are a part of the community," said Lorraine Hankins.

The Stettler Volunteer Centre, along with Stettler and District FCSS and AHS Volunteer Resources came together to host an eventful evening on Thursday, April 26 for community volunteers.

The acapella group, Hoja entertained guests and attendees after a supper provided by Brenda’s Country Catering.

“The evening signified the successes that we have had as a community, due to our committed and dedicated volunteers,” said Lorraine Hankins, executive director of Stettler Volunteer Centre. “We have to remember how valuable our volunteers are and how many things would be left undone without them.”

Hankins said that especially this year with Canada turning 150 years old, the nation is celebrating 150 years of volunteering across Canada and all the wonderful things that have been accomplished by volunteers.

“Volunteering is an essential part of feeling that you are a part of the community, and it is also about giving back, lending itself to making you feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction,” Hankins added. “We encourage volunteering in our youth to ensure that they continue to contribute to their community and realize the important role that volunteers have in all areas of our lives.”

According to Hankins, many organizations would not run without volunteers, and sports organizations would be few without the dedicated coaches, parents, and helpers that put the games together.

Hankins commented, “Volunteering also looks great on a resume, and gives you work experience that can be used later for paid employment.”

Among some of the organizations in the community, who need volunteers and rely on them are Big Brothers Big Sisters through Heartland Youth Centre, Stettler Information and Referral Centre, Stettler Food Bank, along with many other not-for-profit organizations.

“There are long-term positions and short-term volunteer opportunities depending on what you are looking for,” Hankins said. “If you would like to volunteer, it is as easy as contacting the organization or agency that you are interested in and visiting them or giving them a telephone call.”

There were more than 200 volunteers who attended the evening, representing local organizations, both in the town and county.

“The evening was a huge success and we would love to have all of our volunteers come out, but we don’t have a big enough venue to hold everyone, that’s how many we have,” Hankins stated. “We are very fortunate as we celebrate volunteers all year long, with many organizations having their unique volunteer appreciation events at various times.”

Acapella group Hoja entertains the crowd

The entertainment for the evening was provided by Hoja, a three-piece acapella group from Calgary.

The group was well-versed at providing entertainment for events such as this one and spend much of their time putting on shows at schools, and also provide entertainment for community events.

Singer Jessie Froese noted that the group had already performed at three other volunteer appreciation events throughout Volunteer Appreciation Week in the province.

The group even incorporated the song “Lean on Me” a piece they don’t normally perform into their set as a way to honour volunteers.

Hoja has been around since 1998, with a number of different band members helping to shape their sound.

“There have been over 35 singers in the group by now,” commented singer Dave Yurkewich.

Currently comprised of Yurkewich and Froese, as well as Matt Deroche, who provided much of the bass and rhythm section for the evening, the three vocalists created a full musical experience that included harmonies, instrument sounds, percussion, and sound effects all using only their voices.


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