Volunteers are heart and soul of College of Piping and other groups

Kylie MacHattie
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Celtic Connection column

This week (April 6 to 12) is National Volunteer Week. As stated on the website, Volunteer Canada, National Volunteer Week “is a time to recognize, celebrate and thank Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers.”

Skirts were swirling and toes were tapping at a high-energy preview of Highland Storm. The show is presented during the summer at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside.

They rightfully note that volunteers “strengthen our communities and make our country vibrant.” I would add that they are the glue that holds a lot of communities, organizations and charities together. Without the selflessness of volunteers, there would be a lot of missed opportunities for others whether it’s our elderly, our youth or those who need the extra help.

At the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada we are extremely lucky and grateful that we have a dedicated group of volunteers. Without them, I really don’t think the college would exist.

With a small team of full-time staff, it’s impossible to get everything done ourselves so we rely on the kindness and goodwill of others.

Some of our volunteers take personal holiday time to help prepare our back field for the Highland Gathering and “Highland Storm.” They volunteer in the gift shop during the evenings in the winter months. They sign up to greet, take tickets, assist and work in the concession stand during “Highland Storm.” They help build our “Highland Storm” set, put on the amphitheatre roof, volunteer during the Highland Gathering weekend and the list could go on and on for miles.

We have extraordinary volunteers and we know how lucky we are.

It’s not just our organization that is lucky to have such amazing people willing to donate their precious time. It’s all over the country and the world.

James and I saw this first hand in New Zealand. The Invercargill Pipe Band has a fantastic team of volunteers who travel with the band. Some have kids in the band but the astonishing realization for us was that a lot of them are there by themselves with no other connection other than they just want to help.

We had meals made for us every day while at the New Zealand National Championships, they set up and took down the band tent at the grounds, they made sure our uniforms were on properly and fixed our uniforms while we tuned up. They wanted to be there to help in any way possible.

I know there are countless other organizations out there that have the same dedicated volunteers. They are the hearts and souls of the organizations and they provide the foundations for success.

One of my favourite quotes is: “Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.” They sure do. 





Organizations: College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada

Geographic location: New Zealand

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