The one thing that makes the International Children’s Festival of the Arts a roaring success is knowing you helped make it possible. While volunteering costs you nothing, it puts a lot of smiles on people’s faces.
Kathleen Bell, children’s festival volunteer manager, needs to wrangle more volunteers to keep events moving smoothly on June 2 to 5.
“We need to fill 134 shifts per day. In total we need 400 volunteers. So far 80 per cent of what we need is filled,” said Bell, who is an experienced festival volunteer from previous years.
There are two key areas with a shortage of sign-ups. The first is team leaders.
“Personally, I love being a team leader. It’s a bit more responsibility, but you are in the heart of the festival. Team leaders oversee indoor and outdoor activities. They liaise with artists and other volunteers and make sure the workshops run smoothly. They interact with kids, volunteers, and artists. They have more responsibility, but it’s an engaging role,” Bell said.
The second area that requires volunteers is the Ambassador Program for youth 12 to 17 years old. It is a tried and tested program that is great for improving public speaking and building a resume.
“This is a leadership program, and we call them the ‘first face of the festival.’ They greet school buses, welcome the public, and inform them [on] how to navigate the festival. They handle the information booth, do intros before a show starts, and get the public excited about the festival.
“Because youth ambassadors have an additional orientation due to the nature of their roles answering questions from the public, it’s an opportunity to socialize and make friends. Since youth need to move around the festival site, they develop a broad variety of experiences. They have their own hang-out space and can get to know each other and become friends.”
While most slots for Thursday and Friday are full, sign-ups are still needed on Saturday and Sunday as venue ushers, hospitality assistants, and a few workshop assistants.
Shifts are generally six hours, and volunteers choose their preferred time slots. The festival operates from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Perks include a festival T-shirt, complimentary lunch, snacks, daily refreshments, entrance to one workshop or feature performance, and a volunteer appreciation event on Sunday, June 5 from 3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
“Volunteering shows you what hard work and community can do together. It inspires people and is empowering.”
Applicants can fill out an online form at www.childfest.com. If individuals need to ask questions or require a personalized response, they can email [email protected], or call Georgina at 780-616-07529.