Rocky Mountain Section - Volunteer Recognition
Editor's note: The ACC has 22 sections across the county, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island and the Yukon. Each of our sections relies on volunteers and has their own way of thanking these members. This is a look at how things work at the Rocky Mountain Section, based in the Canmore/Banff area in Alberta. The Don Forest Service Award, mentioned below, is presented for "distinguished service to the ACC in matters other than mountaineering" and is one of seven awards that the National Office uses to officially recognize contributions of volunteers.
Rocky Mountain Section Volunteer Appreciation
The Alpine Club of Canada of Canada stretches coast to coast to coast. In all of our sections and at the National Office, dedicated volunteers make the ACC the great club that it is today. We rely heavily on these volunteers to run the sections, give back to their local community, help maintain our huts, give voice to our mountaineering culture and then find time to climb, ski, hike, etc. Their passion is something we should all strive for.
The Rocky Mountain Section is no different. In honour of its volunteers, the RMS holds a volunteer appreciation night each year where all the trip leaders, and their significant others, can come down, mingle, socialize, feast and be recognized for their contribution to their club. At this event, awards are handed out to long-standing members and to recognize special volunteers that have been chosen by our nomination committee. These are our members who have made significant contributions in furthering the aims and goals of The Alpine Club of Canada and Canadian mountaineering in general.
In late May, the 2016 volunteer appreciation night took place with many members being recognized. Steve Fedyna, Chair of the Rocky Mountain Section, describes the contributions of the recognized volunteers at this years event.
And the Awards go to...
Doug Sims, Lara Seward-Guenette and Clifton Potter are all recipients of the ACC Don Forest Service Award.
In the case of Doug Sims, he was a member of our executive for many years, mostly responsible for administering our grants program - we subsidize courses for our leaders, such as first aid training - as well as a volunteer on the BITS winter back country ski training program and the ROCK summer trad climbing program.
The American humorist Dave Barry once said that if there was a single word that described why western civilization will never reach its full potential, that word would be "meetings". So I am thrilled that Lara Seward-Guenette is around - because for years she has been our section representative to the ACC's national board. She has collected stats, resolved issues and managed our membership lists, and is always willing to pitch in on any special project that comes up.
Clifton Potter is the current chair of our trips committee - probably the most important committee we have. If the section doesn't have trips, is it still a section? In addition, Clifton is the past chair of the section, a volunteer on BIT and ROCK and has spent a great deal of time volunteering for the national board by helping with hut construction and maintenance. Clifton also pitches in in lots of little ways. For example, he will often send personal reminders to members who have let their memberships lapse.
Rod Plasman and Val Sullivan received their pins for 25 years of continuous membership with the ACC - and all of it was with the Rocky Mountain Section. They signed up before they moved from the west coast, and at their first section meeting somebody asked Rod if he would chair the section! Rod did eventually chair the Rocky Mountain Section, but he and Val are most proud of the BITs program. Backcountry Skiers in Training has trained hundreds of new backcountry skiers - and some of the folks who met on the program actually married and had kids, so they're helping out with Canada's demographic challenges as well!!”
There are many ways we can recognize our volunteers and trip leaders. Sections find their own ways and the national office has organized various volunteer awards that we hand out each year. These are based on nominations made by other members to help recognize the dedication some put back into the Alpine Club. Volunteering is the selfless act of helping others while expecting nothing in return. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be some small acclaim to those that give so much. Take a look through the list and we challenge you to find someone in your section to nominate.
Join the ACC today
The heart and soul of the ACC are the volunteers who make every aspect of the Club function. Season to season, day in and day out for over a century, our volunteers run the sections, write articles, lead trips, protect the alpine environment and in a mountain of other ways, demonstrate their commitment to the Club.
If you know of someone who should be recognized, take that step and check out the awards here and make a nomination.