Never Enough Volunteering

Guest post by Asiyah Robinson

Willows Beach, 2016

On Saturday September 9th, a few of my friends and I are participating in the Paddle for Health! This is an event that works to support and raise money to “enhance the lives of cancer patients and families” on Vancouver Island. My experience last year was absolutely amazing, but I was not expecting to find an organization I truly believed in and wanted to work so hard for!

I remember getting a message from my friend Nimah about this volunteering opportunity she was signing up for, wanting to know if I was interested. I was not. Not really. I mean, sure, it was a great cause but I, personally, like to use my weekends to stress and overstress about school! Don’t we all? So when she asked, I was on the fence, but I agreed.

I’m originally from the Bahamas, so on some of our field trips back home we went paddling through the mangroves and I had even been white water rafting in Costa Rica. All this to say, I had “experience” paddling, but that was years ago, and I do not think it is the same as riding a bike.  

We all met up at the beach on a beautiful morning and I was actually really excited about being out there and getting on the water! We went over rules and safety issues and then we were off!

Three of us climbed into the canoe and pushed off Willows Beach to start our journey. And, Oh My Fish! We almost tipped over so many times! Like honestly, I mean in the first 20 minutes of being out there, we couldn’t get our canoe straight and we were just rocking! It was just… really funny, and a bit sad, but mostly funny! We were definitely the most inexperienced group there, but there was this guy who was talking us through it and making sure we were okay every step of the way to Cadboro Bay. Super nice guy!

Just a guy casually pushing us away from their vessel so we don’t crash. It’s all good!

It was absolutely amazing being out there and we wanted to make sure on the way back we kept up with the other groups and didn’t buck into anyone! And we succeeded, but definitely not on our own!

Overall we just had a lot of really good laughs and an amazing and unforgettable experience. There were some team mutinies and I was made captain (TEEHEE!!). We started making chants about food and eating, making the other teams laugh and just overall having a wonderful time.

To be honest, it wasn’t until after the event that I realised what an amazing opportunity I was a part of. I realized I could have done so much more to get other people involved to either come out and paddle alongside us or just donate to the cause. This year we want to try harder and make a bigger difference. We want to get the word out there about our team One Love and get people out there on the beach with us!

Volunteering is just one of the things I love about living in Victoria. It’s so easy to get involved in something meaningful and impactful, and just… volunteer. To be a part of something bigger than yourself and make an actual difference in the lives of others. And you don’t need to have a PhD, and you don’t need to hand in a resume. You just have to want to help. You have to want to do good and come out and participate. And that fact is just amazing.

Join us!

Come to Willows Beach on Saturday, September 9 to cheer us on. The paddlers arrive at 8:30 a.m. and we launch at 9:30.

There will be kayaks, canoes, SUPs, outriggers and more!

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