My daughter attended her one and only community club dance last year in Grade 5. She did not dance, although some of her friends did.
All of them, at least on one occasion, made a trip to the canteen to buy sugar in some form. Some of these kids came back two or three times. I know this because I volunteered behind the canteen counter.
I could not believe how much money these kids were spending to feed their sugar habit. I am sure some of them used this as a distraction from having to actually dance. It occurred to me that this canteen was a lovely little gold mine. I don’t know how much money came in that one particular night of the dance, but I knew it had to be good.
I was only volunteering for the Grade 5 and 6 dance; the older kids were coming after 9 p.m. when the younger ones went home. I could only envision how much money they would be spending. They would likely be dancing and working up an actual thirst and hunger.
I thought I would ask around and find out why there weren’t more dances. The answer? There aren’t enough volunteers.
I remember thinking to myself that a community club is actually just another business. The hall gets rented out to those who will pay. Ice gets rented in the winter. There may be some free skating going on.
There may be some city programs being run out of our community club, and an assortment of other activities. Hockey of course, is what monopolizes the community club in the winter.
Being a mom who did not have a kid playing hockey, I was always in the dark when it came to what was happening at the local community club. It was apparent that was the only way you were in the know about what was going on.
Our community clubs may be businesses, but they are not run as efficiently as most enterprises. We need to see updated websites, with links to what programs are being offered, what time and days there are free activities and for crying out loud, if you need volunteers, ask.
I don’t know how many times I have missed an event that is taking place at the community club simply because I didn’t know about it. Why? There were no updates or links on the web; no communication in our mailbox; and nothing was posted at our school.
Perhaps for some parents this is no big deal, but would you feel differently if I told you I only lived less than a block away from my local community club? Just today I had a flyer of events for a community club, but it wasn’t my club.
If you are not being asked, for whatever reason, but you have even a few hours a month to spare, let someone know that you would gladly volunteer. It may be the difference between having a safe place for your kid to go or not.
If volunteering once a week or month at our community clubs will help us to utilize them more effectively, and provide programs for our kids at no cost, would you do it?
Tannis ross is a St. Vital-based writer.
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