There will be an Aldergrove Fair next year.
Former fair president Robin McIntosh made the announcement following a Tuesday night, Nov. 14 meeting to decide whether the 111-year old annual event would have to be called off because of a shortage of volunteers.
“It will be happening,” McIntosh told the Langley Advance Times, because enough people responded to the call for help.
“We were ready to cancel,’” McIntosh explained.
“We just had to have people step up.”
As a result, the fair now has a full slate of nine volunteer directors, and close to a full slate of 28 volunteers to handle advance planning.
“We identified 14 key positions, and we’re trying to get two for each one [to prevent burnout], so that’s 28 positions,” McIntosh told the Langley Advance Times.
“We currently have around 22 people who are committed so that means we’re only short about six people.”
Karen Long, the new fair president, was pleased to see people stepping up.
“New people, new energy, new ideas, new skills, it’s all very good,” Long remarked.
“The fair’s been going on since 1912, and in my mind, there is absolutely no way that we can cancel it,” Long commented. “It’s something that the community looks forward to, it’s a family event, it helps all the businesses [and] it’s great for tourism.”
McIntosh was glad to see Long take over, saying “she’s going to be great, because she’s been around the fair for quite a few years. It makes my transition a lot easier [because] the organization’s moving forward in good hands.”
The former president said he will “be around for to help out where I can, but I really want to be more in advisory role.”
Anyone interested in getting involved with the Aldergrove fair can email email@example.com, or contact through the fair website at aldergrovefair.ca or Facebook at www.facebook.com/AldergroveFair.
Most non-profit groups are having difficulty finding volunteers.
A survey by Statistics Canada, released late last year, found 60 per cent of organizations reported difficulty in recruiting and retaining volunteers. About 30 per cent of organizations have had to change or close programs, or shut down altogether, because they can’t find enough volunteers.
Organizations like Volunteer Canada, YWCA, Habitat for Humanity, and smaller groups like Caravan Farm Theatre in B.C. all report the number of volunteers dropped during the pandemic, and has not recovered.
A study by Volunteer Victoria released early last year suggested the COVID aftermath has made health and safety risks a concern for a many volunteers, especially seniors. It showed 22 per cent of those surveyed “stopped volunteering altogether during the pandemic.”
In B.C. several fall fairs reported problems finding volunteers this year, including the Comox Valley Exhibition in Courtenay, which had less than half the 100 volunteers required, and the Alberni District Fall Fair in Port Alberni, where a shortage was being blamed for volunteer burnout.