I met my husband volunteering. I had just graduated with a Master’s in Psychology, but the degree was in social research, not clinical or counseling, and I wanted to help people one-on-one and not just watch it all from an office in a university somewhere. So, I volunteered to be a lay-counselor at the Greater Victoria Citizens’ Counseling Centre. I had to interview and when I was accepted, they gave me a 10-month course in how to be a counselor, and afterwards I gave their clients 500 hours of counseling in return. It was during that 10-month course that I met David, who was volunteering too. The rest was history.
I moved in with him in Colwood, but David worked in Esquimalt. His commute through the Colwood Crawl was ridiculous, so several nights a week he would stop in at the Canadian Forces Sailing Association, where we keep our Cal 2-29, in order to wait out the traffic jam. He started coming home later and later than even the Crawl would have made him, but he came home happy and relaxed. He ended up volunteering as the Rear Commodore, and then the Commodore. He loved spending time there, but the time he spent there was time taken from us. I decided that I would do some volunteer work there too, so I could see more of him. It worked! I was the Foreshore Chairwoman for a year. Not only did I get to see more of David, I made a ton of friends and got to do some really fun and fulfilling work around the club and docks. This work eventually led to a job as Dockmaster for all of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s Inner Harbour docks (seven of them!). It was a fantastic job and I loved it, but the military had other plans for us, and we were posted to Vancouver.
In Vancouver we knew not a soul. So—you guessed it—we found some volunteering to do. We joined the Vancouver Rowing Club and volunteered to do committee boat and a few other things. Sure enough, we made a bunch of friends and had a great time. Boom – we got posted back to Victoria again.
With blue water cruising aspirations, we went to a few BCA club nights to hear inspiring speakers. We were so impressed with the organization that we decided to join and take some courses. It was at one of these courses that I met Lionel. Having a bit of an educational background, I asked him if he needed any help. He kind of grinned and his eyes lit up, “Oh yes, I could put you to work,” he said. “I’m in!” I replied.
A year later, I’m now the Vancouver Island Education Watchkeeper and David is leaving his post as VI Vice Commodore and becoming BCA Commodore. Really, we don’t even have our blue water boat yet! That said, I’ve taken a ton of courses, we’re in Fleet and Weather this year and we’re learning as fast as we can. When we do get our boat, we’ll be ready!
It was by volunteering that I was so lucky to meet Brent and Barbara and was invited to join them on the Victoria to San Francisco leg of their journey to Mexico on their Nordic 44. Eight days of offshore sailing! It was a-maze-ing! Life affirming. We all got along like a house on fire and had a magnificent time. I never would have had that experience if I hadn’t volunteered.
Although I never really volunteer with the idea of “what’s in it for me?” I still end up getting more out of it than I put in. It’s a blast to work with other like-minded people and to be a part of something bigger than myself.
I guess all this is to say, why not? Go for it! Get involved and volunteer for the many opportunities that are available in the BCA right now. Who knows, you’ll probably make some friends, you might get some offshore sailing out of the deal, or maybe even a spouse!