The 13th annual Kaleido Family Arts Festival volunteering campaign is up and running, and assistant volunteer co-ordinator Shelby Johnson explains how helping others can make a difference.
Johnson, a University of Alberta student, grew up in a busy St. Albert family that instilled community engagement and volunteerism as important to individual and neighbourhood growth.
“We’re a multi-generational festival for newborns to 85-year-olds and we encourage partnerships. This festival brings energy and vitality, and it’s helped to develop a stronger sense of community,” said Johnson.
For those unfamiliar with the festival, it is one of Arts on the Ave’s signature events. Running Sept. 14 to 16 at Alberta Avenue community, its main goal is to promote creative expression in every discipline from theatre, dance, music and circus to photography, literature, film and the visual arts.
Kaleido is held on historic Alberta Avenue on 118th Avenue from 90 Street to 94 Street. This four-block area is barricaded from traffic to create a safe space for portable stages, artisan stalls and a market. Past years have attracted as many as 60,000 visitors.
However, to make this colourful festival a go, organizers require nearly 350 volunteers.
“There is a place for anyone who wants to volunteer,” Johnson stated.
Volunteers are broken down into a series of teams for specific areas. Assistants are required for the children’s zone, beer gardens, security, information booth and Aboriginal Village.
Drivers running errands, a green team and maintenance crew keeping the site clean, and kitchen assistants preparing food for volunteers are also needed.
“Shifts range from three to four hours. We hope all volunteers sign up for a minimum of three shifts. We recognize it can be tough to do, however, we’re very flexible depending on what the volunteer can do. However, our golden number is three.”
In return, volunteers receive meals throughout their shift, festival T-shirts, volunteer dinners and a wrap-up event.
“We encourage friendly interaction, professionalism and respect. At the end of the day, having fun is the biggest part of the festival.”
For a complete description of all volunteer roles and registration, visit www.kaleidofest.ca/volunteer.
Kaleido also hosts a free dinner and information session for individuals interested in volunteering. The dinner is held on Monday, Aug. 13, at Parkdale Cromdale Community League, 11335 – 85 St. RSVP by Friday, Aug. 10.