Tarina White is an award-winning journalist who has written for print and digital media in Canada and abroad, including the National Post, the Calgary Herald, the Calgary Sun, the Victoria News, festivalseekers.com, The Cairns Post and news.com.au in Australia. She lives in Victoria, B.C. with her husband and loveable lab and works as a freelance writer, editor and communications consultant. She volunteers her talents at Volunteer Victoria.
Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour will soon transform into a friendly battleground for dragon boat teams vying for victory.
The 2013 Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival takes place August 16-18 at Ship Point in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. In its 19th year, the festival has long been a local summer favourite that fuses Asian culture, the competitive thrill of racing, delicious food and live entertainment. It’s also a family-friendly, fun-filled event that helps raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation.
These are among the many reasons why dedicated festival volunteers like Kathy Cropp sign up year after year to lend a hand. Kathy is among 500 volunteers who will pitch in this year to help make the festival a success.
“Volunteering at the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is fun,” she says.
“I have met lots of interesting people at previous events – organizers, paddlers, other volunteers and spectators. The event is well organized, the participants are appreciative, the weather is good – usually – the location is beautiful and everyone has a good time.”
Ross Copeland is another Victoria resident who eagerly signs up each year.
“For me, volunteering for the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is awesome. It’s a way to contribute to a great community. More importantly it’s a way to connect with awesome people, whether fellow volunteers, participants or spectators,” he says.
“It’s great to be part of the energy, the fun, the entertainment the festival generates and knowing that you contributed to the excitement that others felt.”
Volunteers help with almost every kind of task, from greeting visitors at the information tent to helping paddlers into and out of the dragon boats, festival coordinator Sarah Smith says.
“Volunteers are key to putting on a successful event. Really, we could not hold the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival without them. We recently calculated that we use around 500 volunteers who put in more than 5000 hours over the course of the year, including around 4000 hours put in over those four big days in August alone,” she says.
“Like most Victoria events we operate with a very small staff, and so our volunteer team is critical to the success of the Festival. We’re very fortunate to have the support of so many incredible volunteers.”
In addition to the rewarding experience of working at the festival, volunteers also receive free refreshments and snacks, a lunch, a dry-fit t-shirt, and an invitation to the volunteer appreciation event after the festival weekend.
Volunteer shifts are 4-6 hours and include positions in the beer garden, decoration crew, environment crew, event safety, paddler’s experience crew, kids tent, information tent, and more. Volunteer orientation will be held on July 29 and 31, but volunteers will be accepted beyond those dates.
What: 2013 Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival
When: August 16-18
Where: Ship Point in Victoria’s Inner Harbour