A 2012 study in the journal of Health Psychology found that those who volunteered regularly actually lived longer. Another report from Carnegie Mellon University stated that adult volunteers over 50 were less likely to develop high blood pressure. It’s fair to say that volunteering is important. It makes us feel good, and doing so for an organization like the Capital Ukrainian Festival can also introduce you to an entirely different culture.
What is pysanka and how do you paint them? What exactly does “budmo hey” mean? What are those colourful pieces of beautiful embroidered clothing called? Where can I get some of that kapusta salata I keep hearing about? How can I learn to add a vypad tynok to my dance move repertoire? All these questions and more can be answered through the immersive cultural experience of the festival. Ukrainians love to share their traditions as much as they love a good party, and those who volunteer for them are treated like old friends.
“I stand in awe of the power and the passion of this community and I’m grateful they allow me the honour of leading this amazing annual event that we have built together,” says festival President Jane Kolbe. “Our community is proud to host and celebrate our unique Ukrainian heritage, culture and traditions. We hope all volunteers who join us experience our genuine warmth and hospitality while they enjoy the Capital Ukrainian Festival.”
You can feel the appreciation radiate off Kolbe for her festival’s army of dedicated volunteers. Kathie Wright is just one of the many who helped make the festival one of the top 100 events in Ontario in 2017.
“Last year was my first time experiencing Ottawa’s Capital Ukrainian Festival. This relatively new festival is full of fun. It was colourful and happy with great uplifting music and dancers in amazing costumes entertaining us throughout the day,” says Wright, a non-Ukrainian who became swept up in the heritage and tradition of the Ukrainian people.
“Everyone was so friendly and willing to share stories about their culture. The air was filled with smells of delicious food which was well priced and authentic. Mix that with all the wonderful drinks --especially the yummy Vodka-- and we were set for a terrific day. In fact, ‘authentic’ and ‘hospitable’ are probably the best words I would use to describe this lovely festival. I plan on returning again!”
If the Ukrainian people and their rich traditions are the heart of the festival, the volunteers are really the backbone of this event. They work in a variety of positions that include: VIP hospitality, food service, parking and transportation, merchandise, volunteer coordination, promotions, bartending, set up, tear down, and venue supervision.
This year the festival is adding even more incentive for their valued youth volunteers. A new Youth Volunteer Scholarship Program has been developed to help the helpers succeed in their next steps in life. Each eligible post-secondary student who completes a minimum of two shifts (approx. 12 hours) will be automatically entered into the draw to win one of two scholarships in the amount of $1,000, awarded by random selection during the festival’s closing ceremony at 8:00 pm on Sunday July 22. To be included, the volunteer must be registered in a full-time program at an accredited Canadian post-secondary institution by December 31, 2018. More shifts provide more entries, meaning more chances to win.
“We are asking our sponsors, partners and supporters to consider donating to this cause to help develop our youth and build the capacity of the next generation of community leaders,” urges Kolbe, who knows that the festival simply couldn’t run without all its volunteers.
“Success belongs to them and I am so proud to call them my festival family.”
To volunteer at the 2018 Capital Ukrainian Festival, visit the volunteer section on our website.
For more information about the Capital Ukrainian Festival activities and show times, visit our website. Free admission. Free parking.