Celebrating Alberta’s Recreation Volunteers

With the changing colors of the leaves and the autumn chill back in the air, it’s once again time to take a moment to thank Alberta’s recreation volunteers. They’re the hometown heroes behind the scenes making sure Albertans can get out and play in their communities, and each year we take an opportunity to recognize them and say an extra “thank you.”

Launched in 1977, the Recreation Volunteer Recognition Awards are handed out annually to four Albertans who have “gone above and beyond to advance the development of recreation in Alberta.” The awards are sponsored by Alberta Culture and Tourism, and the Alberta Sport Connection, and winners are selected by the volunteer Energize Advisory Committee from nominations received from the public, community organizations and other stakeholders. To date, 213 Albertans have received this award.

This year’s recipients come from small towns where often the resources aren’t available to employ full-time coaches, referees or staff to put on provincial-level sporting events. These are the people whose passion for helping connect members of their community to sports and recreation is more than just one or two hours a week. These Albertans have nearly 20 years of combined volunteer service each, championing youth sports, organizing rodeos, fundraising, and encouraging positive community spirit.

These four volunteers, along with the thousands of others across Alberta, have helped millions of children discover a passion for sports and recreation. They work tirelessly behind the scenes, giving back to their community.. They are the true hometown heroes, and we are proud to recognize them.

2015 Recreation Volunteer Recognition Awards Winners

Wendy Blackwell (Ferintosh)

Recognized for her volunteer activities in several communities across Alberta, Wendy Blackwell served on the Fairview Recreation Board for four years, the Board of the Drayton Valley Cross Country Ski Club for seven years, the Ferintosh Recreation Association for two years, the Little Beaver Hi-U Seniors Club for three years, and was instrumental in founding the Friends of Little Beaver Lake Society. Wendy has encouraged positive community spirit by creating new recreation opportunities in Ferintosh and is a role model for living an active lifestyle.

Allan Bohrson (Vegreville)

Allan Bohrson has committed an extraordinary amount of his time and labour over many years, including six years as President of the Vegreville Minor Soccer Association (VMSA), and over 10 years as a Board Member with the Lakeland District Soccer Association. In addition, Allan developed and organized a summer soccer camp, which helped dozens of players develop their skills over the last five years. His leadership continues through more than 12 years of coaching experience and commitment, providing countless hours in building a strong soccer community.

Ross Mather (Sexsmith)

With more than 20 years of volunteer activities in Grande Prairie and surrounding areas, Ross Mather’s most significant contribution has been to the rodeo community in northwestern Alberta, where he has played an important role in organizing numerous rodeos and ensuring they run smoothly. Mentoring young rodeo athletes has become a personal priority for Ross. He is a community volunteer who leads by example and demonstrates commitment, dedication and teamwork.

Terry Volsky (Leduc)

Terry Volsky is a recreation leader in his community who has dedicated his time and effort as a champion for youth sports over the last 20 years. His involvement includes serving over 15 years on the Leduc Minor Hockey Association Board, four years as Vice President of the Calmar Minor Hockey Association and 18 years as a volunteer and Board Member of the Leduc Ball Federation. Terry has been a vital committee member for many major hockey events, including the Alberta Cup of Hockey, Telus Cup of Hockey, the Junior B Provincial Championships and the 2015 World Sledge Hockey Championship.

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