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Volunteers invaluable to Fort Macleod boards

Fort Macleod residents interested in serving their town have a variety of opportunities.

The Town of Fort Macleod is working to fill vacancies on some of its volunteer boards and commissions.

“These boards and committees are very important and impactful to Fort Macleod,” Town of Fort Macleod director of community and protective services Liisa Gillingham said.

“They help to keep all sorts of facilities and organizations running that provide programming and services to our community. There is only so much the town employees can do with the hours in a day, so it is imperative to have community members step up and get involved.”

At present, the Town of Fort Macleod has vacancies on the library board, municipal planning commission and built heritage advisory board.

Volunteers also serve on the environment committee, Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) board, Willow Creek Foundation and subdivision and development appeal board.

“Volunteering on local committees is a great way to get to know other individuals in town that you might not get the opportunity to rub shoulders with in your normal social circle,” FCSS director Angie O’Connor said.

O’Connor said volunteering on boards and committees helps to foster respect and caring for individuals and groups different from a person’s own immediate circle of influence.

“Boards function the best when they are formed by a variety of ages, genders, and stages in life where appropriate,” O’Connor said.

Another benefit of serving on a committee or board is gaining experience in governance and what it entails to have all the programs and services people enjoy in Fort Macleod.

The town’s volunteers develop an understanding on how certain areas and programs are run, funded and governed, while gaining insight on how other people in Fort Macleod live.

Board and commission members also learn about legislation and provincial acts that must be followed.

Kristi Edwards, a town councillor who represents council on a number of boards and committees said in addition to meeting new people, volunteering gives a person a chance to make a difference in Fort Macleod.

“You can help build the community you want to live in,” Edwards said.

O’Connor said research indicates that volunteering helps people enhance their sense of purpose, boosts self-esteem, improves job prospects and can help a person’s physical health and mental wellbeing.

The time commitment can be as little as one or two hours a month, depending on the board or commission.

Some boards have subcommittees that are options for members who have more time to volunteer.

Gillingham, O’Connor and Edwards agree that volunteers bring important knowledge and lived experience to the boards and committees.

Application forms are available by calling the town office in the G.R. Davis Administration Building or by e-mailing m.daychief@fortmacleod.com.

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