It’s often been said volunteers are the heart and soul of public events and an important factor in the success of an event.
Jennie Loeppky, director of volunteers for the 67th annual Penticton Peach Festival agrees.
After helping out at the event for several years, Loeppky is now overseeing this year’s volunteer group.
“I’m a perpetual volunteer,” she said, noting that in addition to her regular job, she also lends her time at Penticton Vees games at the South Okanagan Events Centre and to Citizens on Patrol.
She also helped Bill Kolter, music director for PeachFest in his successful bid to bring Oktoberfest back to the city.
“I’m not bored,” she said.
Loeppky first volunteered at PeachFest about eight years ago. Her reason for lending a hand is motivated by a sincere desire to invest in the city in which she lives.
“I figure everybody should do their part and give back to the community,” she said.
Although volunteering can sometimes eat up a significant amount of time depending on the event and her involvement, Loeppky has developed a good system for staying on track.
“I’m ultra-organized,” she said. “I”m not a tech person; I don’t use a computer. I’m strictly a pen-and-paper person. Once I’ve got my list made up and everything is organized, it’s no big deal.”
One of her greatest concerns stems from the volunteer burn-out factor and that a small percentage of individuals in the city seem to be the ones present at a majority of publicly-staged events.
Loeppky also expressed concerns about the lower numbers of young people helping out at events such as PeachFest. She hopes to see a reversal of that trend as some people such as herself start cutting back on their volunteer commitments.
“As we age, we’d sure like to see younger people coming out to volunteer,” she said.
Loeppky estimated between 40 and 50 volunteers are working at Okanagan Lake Park and at Saturday’s Peach Festival parade.
“I think we have a really good group of volunteers this year,” she said. “They’re dedicated and committed to helping out.”