Jennifer Ellis
By Jennifer Ellis
March 27th, 2014

This week I talked to Shanna Tanabe another one of our key community volunteers who played a central role, with Darcee O’Hearn, in reviving the now thriving scouting movement in Rossland.

Shanna is currently a Scout leader and the Group Treasurer for Second Rossland Scouts. In the past, she has been a Girl Guide leader, Brownie leader, Cub Scout leader, Beaver leader, and Parent Advisory Council Chair, Co-Chair and Treasurer. She has also volunteered on a one-off basis at events such as Winter Carnival, the BC Winter Games, United Way events, Bullarama and in nursing information booths. Like many parents, she also volunteers for many of her son’s sporting events including minor hockey tournaments and baseball game concession. She started volunteering as a teenager in an extended care facility organizing resident activities.

She estimates she volunteers about five hours a week during the school year.

Shanna shared some of her motivations for volunteering. In particular, she stressed that she has a “great belief in giving back to the community” and feels that people should volunteer.

“I enjoy it. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I really like working with youth, and volunteering is a great opportunity to meet people.” She stressed that she started volunteering more when she lived in Banff as she did not know many people and “it was a great way to meet people and feel like part of the community.”

Her experiences are consistent with studies of volunteering which suggest that volunteering helps connect people to others and that volunteers are happier than non-volunteers.

For Tanabe, the best parts of volunteering are “seeing the kids learn something and experience something new” and in the case of being part of the school PAC, “meeting other parents and feeling like I’m part of what is happening at my son’s school.”

She indicated that she chose scouting specifically to become more involved in because there seems to be a lot of sporting opportunities for youth and she wanted her son to have the opportunity to be involved in something with a different focus.

Tanabe indicated that one of the most challenging parts of volunteering is finding other volunteers to help out, and finding resource people who can help run programs for youth. Sometimes she ends up taking on more than she would like herself because she can’t find other people with whom to share the load. However, she noted that they have now “built a great scouting team in Rossland with lots of fantastic leaders. Sometimes you have to push a bit to get people to commit, but now we have a good balance of having all sorts of different parents involved.”

Trying to run exciting programs with limited funding is also an ongoing challenge indicated Tanabe. She further observed, “the time commitment is also a challenge as I work full time. And sometimes I end up missing my son’s activities, such as baseball games, when I am volunteering at another event.”

Balancing the time commitments associated with volunteering and other demands is one of the most common challenges for many volunteers.

Tanabe believes that she will always volunteer in some form because she enjoys it.

“Volunteering is an essential part of communities. It is sometimes hard to find volunteers in this community because so many things are run by volunteers. There are a lot of parents volunteering for their children’s activities and people are pulled in different directions, but Rossland has a good volunteer base, and Rosslanders are very supportive of the fundraising efforts of organizations such as Second Rossland Scouts.”

Shanna stressed the importance of finding a good fit in terms of the volunteer and the required job. “Volunteering is a rewarding experience and it is something that everyone should try. They may have to try more than one organization to find a fit and to realize that most organizations are willing to take on people for different time commitments. It would be great to have a volunteer fair in Rossland so people can get information about volunteering opportunities, and what different organizations are looking for.”

The Telegraph wants to profile all of the amazing people and groups who make our town what it is. No volunteering effort is too small. If you want to nominate a volunteer or a non-profit organization, or yourself, for a profile contact us here.

Jennifer Ellis is a local writer and consultant. Her first novel, a middle-grade fantasy for adults and children on time travel, physics and witchcraft, entitled A Pair of Docks, is available on Amazon and at Café Books West. Her second novel, due out in April, explores the issues of a non-money economy in a post-apocalyptic future.

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