The Community Information and Volunteer Centre has installed a new head of the organization for the second time in almost as many months. Joe Becigneul, the incoming executive director, is no stranger to the scene, however.
After all, he was named the Volunteer Citizen of the Year by the CIVC only three years ago. Even if many people might only recognize him during his high profile stint as Brent Rathgeber’s right hand man during his years as an MP, Becigneul has a long history of volunteerism in the community.
“It’s an amazing fit,” he reported. “I think I found my home.”
He has a long history of a number of community programs in the city going back more than four decades. This includes his involvement with school parent advisory committees, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Northern Alberta Business Incubator, just to name a few.
Perhaps though, he is best known for his work through his church and the Knights of Columbus, not to mention St. Albert Minor Hockey. Many have said that minor hockey certainly wouldn’t be the same in this city if it weren’t for him stepping in to help when help was needed behind the scenes.
He played an integral role in jumpstarting local Referee Advanced Technical Training, a program that has created an environment that ensured more officials would return to hockey. That, in turn, meant better continuity of officiating and a more stable and sustainable hockey experience for hundreds if not thousands of local youths.
His work earned him the tongue in cheek nickname “Lightning Joe.” He’s well known for his methodical approach to things, making sure that the job gets done right every time.
He even instilled the value of being a volunteer in his two sons, each of whom were previous winners of Leaders of Tomorrow Awards, the youth equivalent of the Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award.
Becigneul took charge of the agency two weeks ago. There’s a bit of a learning curve, he said. He said he is keen to learn more about SOARing, the youth volunteer program.
“I had no idea of the scope and breadth of several of the programs that are here. I was aware of Sidekicks Mentoring but did not have a good understanding of what that all involved,” he continued. “It’s nice to be able to get up close and personal with all of the programs that are offered and then see if there’s a fit for other things that we might be able to offer down the road.”
Mostly, he hopes to further improve the agency’s communications to help make the public even more aware of what the CIVC can offer.
“We all think of the CIVC as the place that people come to if they’re interested in finding a fit to volunteer, but the information and referral capacity is virtually unknown.”
“A new family moving to town may not know anybody in terms of finding a babysitter or childcare. It’s just those small things that help get them introduced into a community. In addition to those referrals, we also take the lead on conducting the babysitting courses. That program is oversubscribed so there’s even a need to do more things like that.”