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Shopping for Volunteer Opportunities

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

We all choose a volunteer opportunity that engages our heart with experiences that create fond memories for life. Better yet, I like to compare the fit of choosing a volunteer opportunity to that fit of a perfect pair of shoes (ladies you know what I mean…). Beat the winter blues with a little retail therapy “volunteer style” – give back to your community. What’s on your Community “Volunteer” shopping list.? What Volunteer Opportunity best suites or matches your personality? Volunteer Retail departments to browse  or select from (but not limited to):

– Support Local Causes

– Working with Seniors

– Working with kids

– Service Clubs

– Sports and Recreation

– Arts and Culture

Where to go shopping:

1. govolunteer is a one-stop-shop online portal where interested Albertans can easily search volunteer opportunities best suited to their skills and interests in communities across Alberta.

2. Local Community Websites

3. Local Family and Community Services (FCSS Agency)

4. Your local Schools

On a side note; April 15 – 21 2012 is National Volunteer Week and many communities are celebrating their volunteers .

It’s important that we take time to express our gratitude to all volunteers. The most effective way to thank them for their great efforts is to highlight how their voluntary contributions are making a positive impact in each of our communities. Volunteers want to know the impact of their efforts.

I am proud to acknowledge I am just one of many volunteers in my community and I am always “shopping” for new volunteer challenges or opportunities.  As women, we want several good pairs of shoes to choose from depending on our outfit or mood. Lets go shopping together…

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |

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Pets Are Family Too!

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

April is Volunteer Appreciation month!

This weeks blog is dedicated to a special community group of volunteers – your local SPCA.

As a non-profit organization, looking to volunteers remain to be an important part of the successful operation of any SPCA facility and programs. You may volunteer weekly or only once or twice a year, they appreciate whatever spare time you are able to commit!

Volunteering is great for people of all ages.  It is an excellent opportunity to get work experience, socialize and meet new people while helping a worthwhile organization.  May you be a college student, stay-at-home mom, semi-retired or retired person who wants to get out and about for a few hours a week, they need your expertise and your help. Did you know you can drop in to most SPCA’s and just play with the animals – great pet therapy (thank you GP SPCA!)


Working with SPCA animals is rewarding, but are always in need for volunteers to help in other ways.  By volunteering for one of the following programs you can help us take care of our SPCA animals:

  • Foster Program
  • Summer Camp Program
  • Shelter Workers
  • Committee & Fundraising Members
  • Special Events
  • Calendar & Christmas Ornament Sales
  • Bingo & Casinos
  • Computer Office Workers

Make the right choice for your pet. All pets require time, dedication and love. Make adoption your first option – adopt a friend for life.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |

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2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Comes to Jasper

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

2012 Canadian Special Olympics Winter Games were held Feb 28, 29 and Mar 1, 2, 3

Canada’s 10 provinces and two of its three territories were represented by more than 650 athletes, all of them with dreams of gold and aspirations to qualify for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Seoul, Korea.

The theme “Just as Bold, Here for Gold” reflected the passion and goals the Special Olympics athletes shared with their Olympic counterparts. There were seven winter sports in which Special Olympics athletes competed. The excitement and enthusiasm generated by these Games are going to leave a lasting impression on our region.

St Albert ( was the main host of this event but Jasper was given the opportunity to host all alpine events at Marmot Basin Alpine Resort (

Over 700 volunteers from St Alberta and Jasper had registered from opening to closing ceremonies to ensure that the 2012 Special Olympic Canada events and activities were a success.

Meet Team Alberta:

More than 80 athletes from all over Alberta, more than 20 coaches and seven mission staff formed this years Team Alberta.

There was 31 athletes on two-floor hockey teams. Five curlers. Four figure skaters. Eight athletes snowshoeing. Six  strapped on speed skates. Of the 19 people putting on skis, eight competed in  downhill and eleven cross-country.

They came from Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, and everywhere in between.

At the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, Team Alberta competed on home soil for the first time in 16 years.  During the days of Games the athletes of our displayed themselves with class, determination, and very welcoming hosts for the country. Our athletes competed hard, had numberous personal bests, and made themselves and their supporters proud.

The results for Team Alberta in all the individual sports go to

Congratulations to all our provincial athletes and to the volunteers for making this the best Special Olympics on home soil in 19 years – Way to make us proud in 2013!

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |



Women In Charge

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Did you know that March 8th is International Women’s Day? This year’s theme is to Empower Women.

This week’s blog is dedicated to four very special women – my RCC colleagues.

These four women are examples of “Women in Charge”, leaders in their communities.

All four encompass the 6 leadership competencies (big picture thinking, self-development, relationship building, management and governance, planning and organizing and strategic thinking). The other qualities that I admire and relate to as being good community leaders are (may include but not limited to):

  • demonstrate a healthy work/ life balance (I am
    still learning how to do that)
  • respect themselves and others
  • willing to learn something new
  • share ideas
  • value others opinions and suggestions
  • lead by example
  • confident
  • inspiring
  • positive role models and mentors for other women
  • community driven (STP’s in their own communities)
  • task oriented
  • willing to take a risk
  • willing to admit when they are wrong
  • proactive
  • independent
  • caring and trust worthy
  • team player
  • well spoken
  • knowledgeable
  • last but not least are great listeners…

The experiences and knowledge that we have shared to date have been rewarding and energizing and not to leave out memorable. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to meet four fabulous “Women in Charge” and I am a better person because of it.

As each of us move onto other chapters in our lives, the challenge will be to stay in contact. It is never good-bye but see you later!

Therefore, I am inviting people to celebrate inspiring women in their lives by sending a free International Women’s Day e-Card or honoring a woman whose efforts make a difference in your community or region; celebrate your “Women in Charge”.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |

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“Man In Motion” – Celebrating 25 Years

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Where were you 25 years ago? The year was 1987

–  Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson sets a new world record in the 100-metre dash

– Edmonton Black Friday – tornado disaster

– Music: Los Lobos (La Bumba), Gloria Estefen, Whitney Houston, Gun n Roses, Rick Astley

– Movies: Dirty Dancing, Princess Bride

– Sidney Crosby was born

– Rick Hansen returns home to Vancouver after his Man in Motion world tour.

1987 – Twenty-five years ago, Rick Hansen had a dream – to make the world more accessible and inclusive and to find a cure for spinal cord injury (SCI). Rick’s dream took shape in the form of the Man in Motion World Tour (MIMWT). For 26 months, he and his team wheeled over 40,000 kilometres through 34 countries, raising awareness of the potential of people with disabilities. The completion of this epic Tour was a testament to willpower, physical prowess and the ability to lead a seemingly impossible campaign. It was the beginning of a lifelong and selfless journey to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay will re-trace the Canadian segment of the original Man in Motion World Tour. Starting in Newfoundland and travelling westward to British Columbia, the nine-month relay will cover 12,000 kilometres, and visit over 600 communities from coast to coast – in every province and territory. With over 7,000 participants, this exciting and inspiring journey will celebrate and highlight Canadians who are the pride of their communities, recognizing everyday heroes, including youth, who are making a difference in the lives of others and who motivate us all to better our country and our world.

The Rick Hanson Canadian tour goes through Alberta Feb 15 to Mar 19 2012. For specific tour routes go to . Specifically highlight the NW region from March 16- 18 the tour travels up highway 16 Entwistle, Evansburg, Wildwood, Edson, Marlboro, Hinton and Jasper.

Follow our journey through 600 communities and across 12,000 kilometres by clicking onto the interactive Relay Map.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |


Who-What-Where-When-Why Regarding KnowledgeConnector

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Over the last 14 months, 5 Regional Capacity Coordinators (RCC) have been tasked with “spreading the word” of KnowledgeConnector and the benefits it provides to rural Alberta. Lets recap…

  • What are they?

The KnowledgeConnector initiative is designed around 6 leadership competencies: Big Picture Thinking, Planning and Organizing, Strategic Thinking, Management and Governance, Self Awareness and Development and Relationship Building.

  • How do we accomplish this task?

RCC have been traveling throughout their respective regions (mine has been the North West) facilitating presentations and A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshops.

  • Who did we target?

Meeting with Community Adult Learning Councils, FCSS, Government Agencies, local and regional interagencies and one-on-one meetings with various community groups and organizations.

  • Were have we been?

KnowledgeConnector’s focus has been to target rural Alberta (rural meaning anything outside of Edmonton and Calgary)

  • Why KnowledgeConnector?

Designed to link rural Alberta’s non-profit and volunteer organizations to leadership and training opportunities via a click of the mouse – focus is directed towards rural organizations that have limited funding and resources to provide training and development to their staff and volunteers. As well, RCC’s are advocates in the field to provide education and awareness of the various projects and programs Volunteer Alberta has to offer the sector.

So have we done our job as RCC’s? Have we linked our region or communities to learning and training opportunities? Have we identified the various learning providers who populate our website with those training opportunities? Are our learning opportunities accessible? Do we have a  wide variety of learning opportunities posted that attract various learners.?

KnowledgeConnector has been a “team” approach from Volunteer Alberta, the KnowledgeConnector Project Manager and Program Coordinator, Web Design and support to us out in the field. As we head into the last month as regional capacity coordinators, these are just some of the questions that are being asked around the table.

We have made thousands of contacts throughout Rural Alberta crisscrossing over 12 different sectors. Bottom line have we done our job? Where do we go from here? Evaluation and feedback!

The key to the success or continuation of any project relies on the evaluation and feedback from the consumer or client, in this case the “learner”. We would like to hear from you! Here are some questions we have for you?

Have you been on the KnowledgeConnector website? Is the KnowledgeConnector website user-friendly? Are you a registered Learning Provider? Have you accessed a learning opportunity from the website? Is there a variety of learning opportunities to choose from? Have you participated in an A.S.K. workshop on-line? Has KnowledgeConnector helped you create a personalized learning plan designed to develop or enhance your leadership skills?

Please send your feedback or questions to our KnowledgeConnector Program Coordinator, or call 780.497.4780

Lets Stay Connected…

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Family Day, More Than Just a Day Off….

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Building Community capacity; adding one family at a time, community leadership at its best “volunteering”.

Throughout the North West, “family day volunteers” have been frantically planning and creating activities so you and your family are able to have a “Family fun day” off . Please check out your local newspaper, community website, Facebook or your local bulletin board to see what each community has to offer through the Family Day weekend.

Family Day is on the third Monday of February (observed in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan). This holiday celebrates the importance of families and family life to people and their communities.

Did you know? Family Day was first held in Canada in the province of Alberta in 1990. It is supposed to reflect the values of family and home that were important to the pioneers who founded Alberta, and give workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families. Family Day was introduced in Saskatchewan in 2007 and in Ontario in 2008. One of the reasons for introducing Family Day was that there was a long period when there were no holidays from New Year’s Day until Good Friday.

As the weather is usually very cold in February (we are spoiled for unseasonal good weather this year), so what a better time to take a break and spend it with friends and family. Popular snacks of choices for the day may include (but not limited to) hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies. The long weekend is an opportunity for a short winter break or to travel to visit family members or friends.

So what do you do on Family Day Weekend?

  • fishing licenses are FREE for the weekend, so register for your local ice fishing derby – You could win some cool prizes
  • go pond skating with the family
  • participate in winter festival activities (Grande Prairie, or Edmonton)
  • backyard BBQ with roasted marshmallows
  • snowshoeing or cross-country skiing
  • build a snowman or an ice sculpture
  • walk “fido”
  • indoor family board games

Whatever you decide to do, get out and enjoy a winter day with family and friends and have a great day off. Happy Holiday!

My hat goes off to the many volunteers who make this weekend fun and enjoyable for all of us!!!

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |

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Happy Heart Day

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Not only is February Heart and Stroke month but it is also one of the biggest day for florists and greeting card companies; if you couldn’t guess already I am talking about Valentines Day. Do you really know how Valentines Day came about? With a little research (one of the many skills of a good community leader) I found out that it is more than just a “Hallmark Holiday”.

Parents are wondering how many cards and cupcakes the kids will need? Do you make homemade valentines  and cookies. The pressure is on; some of the more craft-crazy families may go all-out and even sew some felt hearts on strings.

This time of year many individuals are feeling the pressure in looking for the right gift or greeting card for that special someone. Romance is the key!

Here is an explanation of Valentine’s Day and some of the actual  facts behind the holiday, in case you want to think about this one more.

• Like most modern holidays, a day celebrating love this time of the  year traces its roots back to Pagan traditions. The Roman festival known as Lupercalia, one of the longest-lasting of all Roman holidays, happened every February 15. It honored the goddess of women and marriage, Juno, as well  as Pan, the lascivious god of nature.

• The story of Cupid also comes from Roman mythology. He was the son of Venus who was  the goddess of love. Cupid is often said to be a mischievous boy who  goes around wounding both gods and humans with his arrows, causing them  to fall in love.

• The Christian roots of the holiday centers on the story of Saint Valentine. He was linked to a romantic narrative in the Middle Ages in a work called the Acta. But he is probably an amalgam of at least two Valentines who lived during in the early A.D. era of the Roman Empire.

• The most accepted lore is that St. Valentine was a priest who refused to uphold a law enacted by Roman Emperor Claudius II. The law  ordered young men to remain single because the Emperor believed that  married men did not make for good soldiers and he wanted a bigger army. But the priest Valentine believed in love and he secretly performed  marriages behind the Emperor’s back. When Claudius found out about this,  he had Valentine arrested, thrown in jail, and possibly killed.

• Another legend is it that Valentine was an imprisoned man who fell  in love with his jailor’s daughter. Before he was put to death he sent  the first ‘valentine’ himself when he wrote her a letter and signed it  ‘Your Valentine.’

If the story of St. Valentine is too gruesome  for your tastes, or if you’d just like to focus more on the concept  of love itself, you may choose to tell a different story about love:  falling in love, the power of love, or perhaps the story of how you and  your mate fell in love.

There are other ways to celebrate the day include watching a movie about love,  making cards together, or crafting a family poem where everyone takes turns creating one line. You can also play a game that tells what each  person in the family loves about each of the other family members. These thoughts are written out and put in a basket or a small box that is owned by each person. Family members take turns reading aloud what has  been written about them.

Whatever you decide this year to celebrate the day, some clear  intention is sure to help craft lasting memories. As far as I’m  concerned, you should say I love you all year not just because Hallmark tells you so…

Happy Messy Cupid Day!

P.S.: February 15 is National Flag Day – wave your Canada Day flag with pride.

Stay tuned for next weeks blog – always looking for great ideas to blog about throughout the NW Region.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |


Here’s What’s Going On In The North West Region

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Success Factors in Raising Financial Capital for Non-profit Organizations

Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau is pleased to offer “Success Factors in Raising Financial Capital for Non Profit Organizations” in our newly expanded video conferencing center, on Tuesday, February 14 from 11:30AM to

Financial capital for non-profit organizations refers to the financial resources and assets available to an organization so it is able to either gather the resources they need or pay for what it needs in order to provide the services and products of the organization. Non-profit organizations generally raise financial capital through sources such as donations, grants, sponsorships, contracts, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and various fundraising activities.

Richard Larsen, MSc, a Community Development Officer with Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, focuses on building the capacity of individuals and groups to achieve their goals and accomplish their projects. With twenty-six years of experience working with a range of communities; rural, northern, ethnic, aboriginal, government and urban organizations, he identifies ‘what’s working’ and finds ways to replicate that. Richard also has an active role as a volunteer in his church and community, and is an organizer and sponsor of humanitarian efforts in the developing world.

For more information or registration email Colleen at

Grande Prairie and District SPCA – Paying it Forward Recipient Nominee

The Grande Prairie and District SPCA has been the chosen recipient of this years Paying it Forward event by last years recipient, Grande Prairie Odyssey House.  Paying it Forward is a charitable initiative sponsored by Friesen Bain Chartered Accountants.  The initiative this year will hope to raise the necessary resources to buy a transport vehicle for the society to allow for safe transport of animals in their care to and from veterinary clinics.  The event is raising these funds through selling paw print decals that will contain the sponsor name or logos to appear on the vehicle.  The vehicle will be presented to the society at a Day in the Park Event on June 10, 2012.  For more information or to help out on this worthwhile initiative please contact Jenna Campbell with Friesen Bain at 780-830-2305

Babies Best Start Program is Seeking a Part Time Outreach Worker for Sexsmith

The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre is seeking a part-time Outreach Worker for the Babies’ Best Start Program. Babies’ Best Start is a community based program which provides prenatal nutrition information, advice, support and supplements to pregnant and parenting women.

Applications will be received until a suitable candidate is found

Please forward resume to: Dawn Ferguson, Program Coordinator Grande Prairie Friendship Centre 10105 – 97 Avenue Grande Prairie, AB T8V 0N5 Fax: (780) 513-2199 Email:

Volunteer Opportunities

Below are some of
the recent volunteer opportunities,  Please visit GPVSB website at Can’t find what you’re looking Please call Colleen at 780-538-2727, She always happy to help volunteers connect with the causes they care about!

Database Volunteer, Grande Prairie Council for Lifelong Learning:  Lifelong Learning is seeking a volunteer for database set up and entry. They are upgrading from Excel to Access and need to have their information moved from their spreadsheets to an Access database.  Please contact Cathy Torok at for more information.

Relay for Life Volunteers, Canadian Cancer Society:  Relay for Life is a 12 hour, overnight event where teams of 10 take turns walking around the track. Relay for Life starts by celebrating the life and fight of survivors, remembering and honoring loved ones lost, and encouraging and enabling people to fight back against the disease. Volunteers are the heart of Relay. Help plan and organize this local event.  There are a variety of positions available from scheduling entertainment to helping with food and beverage.  For more information contact Jaci McNaughton at (780) 538-8205 or

Casino Volunteers, The Centre for Creative Arts:  The Centre for Creative Arts will be working at the casino on March 25 and 26, 2012. The Centre is eligible to work a casino once every three years and will earn part of the money required for special projects and purchases at the Centre. In order to make this happen we need 28 volunteers over 2 days.  AGLC needs to clear our volunteers 40 days prior to the event so we need to have all of these shifts filled in the next week or so. Thank you for considering helping us out. For more information please contact Candace Hook at (780) 814-6080 or email

Newsletter Assistant, Crime Prevention:  The City of Grande Prairie’s Crime Prevention Department has a volunteer opportunity available for someone to assist with putting together their quarterly newsletter. This would involve coming into the office to work on it every quarter during office hours. Arrangements to work from home would be considered, once information has been gathered from staff contributors. The expected time commitment is for a few hours, every three months. Interested volunteers must be comfortable using Microsoft Publisher and have some experience in graphic design. Please call (780) 882-7813 for more information.

Lesson Volunteers, Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society:  PARDS has immediate openings for volunteers who are
interested in helping with Lessons and in the Barn.  If you have an hour to spare each week, please let us know. Check out our website for more information about the Volunteer roles at PARDS; give us a call at 780-538-3211 or email if you have any questions, and to let us know what hour (or hours) you would like to help out with.

Congrats to a Voluneer of the Week – Larry Bentley – Larry has been a Bingo volunteer for PARDS for the past 2 years. He is always ready to help out, even at the last minute, and always has a joke or a story to tell. Larry you are a wonderful volunteer and we appreciate all you do for PARDS

The nomination deadline for the Leaders of Tomorrow awards is Monday, March 7th, 2011. If you know of a youth, between the ages of 6 and 18 years, who is a leader in our community, who volunteers and inspires others to do the same, perhaps they would be a good candidate for these annual awards. A nomination or award of this sort can be a great asset to a youth’s portfolio. Also, such recognition has the potential to motivate a young person to continue their good work well into adulthood. Nomination forms are available in a fill-able PDF format online at, they are also available at all schools, library, recreation centre, Friendship Centre, and The Guild.

National Volunteer Week Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon!

National Volunteer Week will take place April 15 – 21, 2012 and VSB would like your input to organize our largest Volunteer Appreciation event of the year!

Each year during National Volunteer Week, Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau hosts a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon and Leaders of Tomorrow Awards, presented by ATCO.  To be a part of this feel good event that pays tribute to one of our community’s most vital resources – volunteers – please phone Colleen at 780-538-2727 or email

The Hinton Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) is gearing up to plan for the 3rd annual “Beaver Bike Fest”. They’d love to have people join the planning committee and/or volunteer during the day of the event, slated for Saturday, June 16th! The first planning meeting is on February 7th at 7:30 pm at Cedar Creek Restaurant on Highway 16. Spread the word, or join them on Tuesday, February 7th!

For further info contact Lisa Brett Volunteer & Information Centre Coordinator Town of Hinton | Gateway to the Rockies

p: 780.865.2670 | f: 780.865.2669 e: or

The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.  ~ Terri Guillemets



Community Collaboration

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Let me introduce to you one of Grande Prairie’s success stories about community collaboration and building on community capacity – the Community Village. This non-profit/voluntary organization is passionate about their “community”, here is their story.


By creating an empowering environment for Peace Country organizations, the Community Village encourages a culture of
collaborative relationships by housing cooperative social services.


The Community Village is home to an abundance of open-minded organizations who meet the social needs of the community through mentorship, collaboration and leadership.

The Community Village and its tenant agencies have demonstrated that they believe and work within the following guiding principles.


Our organizations provide a welcoming environment of accessible services and programs that promote empowerment and mutual support.


Our organizations make committed and vigorous efforts to listen and learn from each other, to strengthen and enhance the long-term sustainability of our services and programs for the community.


Our organizations make efforts to work collectively for the common good while maintaining the diverse character of our individual agencies.

Lateral Leadership

Our organizations value mutuality and reciprocity in all our work.

Harm Reduction

This community of organizations recognizes the respective missions of the founding partners and strives to support all missions and members within a philosophy of harm reduction. Harm reduction is a respectful approach that values people for who they are and where they are at in their lives.  Although people may be involved in negative or unhealthy behaviours, the individual is never seen to hold less value than a person who may not be engaged in such behaviours.  Relationships are built from a place of non-judgment in order to slowly reduce the harm the person may be causing to himself or herself or the community.  It is from this place of self-worth and empowerment that people can truly make changes in their own lives, develop new skills and expand their learning.

The following agencies are being housed within The Community Village:

  • Alberta Health Services
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Center Point Facilitation
  • Grande Prairie Legal Guidance
  • Healthy Families Program
  • Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council
  • Second Base Originals
  • GP Acting Guild – Ovations Dinner Theatre
  • FASS – Fetal Alcohol Support Society

If you happen to be in Grande Prairie, stop by for a coffee and check them out…

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 |

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