Dick Wilkinson is retiring for real this time! After more than 5 years in the role of VC’s man
in his truck in the community we are sure going to miss him, his effervescent smile, and his sense of humour. He made significant contributions to our community through his work with schools, community volunteers, seniors, youth, and community service learning. Enjoy his thoughtful reflection on his encore career at Volunteer Calgary.
Is There Life After Retirement?
In my case, the answer is yes. After 30+ years as a public school teacher and principal retirement from my chosen career became a reality. Like many who leave work after many years there was a longing for rest and relaxation. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that after some months of rejuvenation the world looked so interesting and inviting again. Luckily, Volunteer Calgary was seeking a Community Volunteer Coordinator to work in schools as part of the Calgary Learning Village Collaborative Team in the greater Forest Lawn area of our city. A perfect match for a revitalized educator!
Fitting the Baby Boomer Profile
Being born between 1946 – 1961, I qualify as a Baby Boomer – one of the large demographic born after the second World War. The first Boomers turn 65 this year and officially become senior citizens. Like many in this cohort group I chose to engage in an “encore career” after first career ended. We are just beginning to understand the needs of Baby Boomers but it seems many of them, like me, desire part-time work that is different than their first vocation but is in a field where they can use their skills and experience. They also crave a flexible schedule, prefer working on a team, desire opportunities to grow and learn, and want to know that their efforts are making a real and demonstrable difference.
Our community is so fortunate to have Volunteer Calgary. One might imagine that every major city has a volunteer centre, but alas this is not true. Currently, sixteen people work at Volunteer Calgary supported by a cadre of volunteers. Everyday this team works hard to ensure that volunteerism is promoted and supported in our city. This work contributes to the zest of Calgary and helps us to remain the “howdy neighbour – yahoo” spirit that we are known for across Canada and around the world. Volunteer Calgary strives to build the capacity of its 400+ members to recruit, train, support and retain volunteers. Our work encompasses the encouragement of volunteerism in our youngest students to honouring our veteran volunteers who have given so many years to service to our community.
The Value of Volunteering
After five years of community development work I am convinced that volunteerism is part of the Canadian fabric. Canadians are known as a people who care and share. To be Canadian means thinking beyond yourself and investing your time, and sometimes money, in efforts for the greater good. And Calgarians are leading the way in volunteer engagement. After an Ipsos-Reid research report in 2006, our then President & CEO declared Calgary the Volunteer Capital of Canada! Nearly 3 out of 4 Calgarians are involved in formal volunteerism (serving lunch at the Mustard Seed) or informal volunteering activities (anonymously shovelling your neighbour’s walk). I have appreciated the opportunity to learn about the strong non-profit sector in our city and contribute in a small way to making Calgary the best place on earth to live.