VIMGA Volunteer Season: Behind the Scenes
VIMGA has always been challenged by its extensive area, stretching as it does almost from Campbell River to south of Duncan. Nonetheless, every year there is a spirited sign-up session, usually in Nanaimo, a central location not too far distant from the extremities. The behind the scenes work of the District Planners has already taken place, the Master Planner has emailed us all the preliminary opportunities in advance, and we come together, as we did this year on Sunday March 10th. With this amount of advance planning, the sign-up is usually a smooth affair, as we make our choices following the suggestions of the District Planners, in addition to a variety of Community Outreach events. Then the Master Planner has the demanding job of putting the Master List together for the season.
Key people are our tireless Master Planner Irene Toulouse, along with those acting as District Planners: Mark Fleming, Angela Einarson and Kay Howard, Sue Marr, Gail Hudson and Paul Lawry.
With the sign-up taking such a short time, we always enjoy educational and social time. This year we enjoyed an excellent Clematis primer from our own member Diana Walker, followed by an introduction to Horticultural Therapy from Chanchal Cabrera of Innisfree Farm in Royston. Diana grows many many different clematis, and was able to clearly review the pruning groups and cultural requirements as well as show us a wide variety of her favorites. Chanchal’s talk was an inspiring introduction to the therapeutic values of gardening, given her long career in organic gardening, medicinal plants and the development of specific programs to bring healing into the lives of people suffering from mental disabilities, illnesses such as depression, and trauma. Particularly touching was her description of the work of a mentor who found that refugees suffering from torture were helped to heal through allotment gardening. The refugees themselves articulated that working on the land was something missing from their lives.
Once again the VIMGA volunteer season is off to a good start, thanks to the efforts of all our members.
March 20, 2013