It has been my great pleasure to serve the community of Champlain as your President for the past five years. This centre has seen improvements in membership numbers and community involvement during this time and the credit for that goes to the awesome group of volunteers on the Champlain board. These volunteers have created events that speak to our community and its members. From Halloween dances that have raised money and food donations for Winnipeg Harvest; to our Puppy Love dances that have embraced the 4-legged members of our community and raised funds to support local adoption agencies. Our Family New Year’s Eve event has grown to be a high-light of the year for neighbours near and far. The Forks firework show has nothing on our display here at Champlain! They have professionals and perfectly timed electronics – we have dads who are willing to risk a bit of frostbite to blow some stuff up!
Some days it is tough to find that extra bit of time, energy and effort it takes to volunteer but my faith in why I do was always restored when I came by the community centre. I would see kids learning how to skate on the rinks, or families enjoying the Friday Family Nights in the middle of winter; parents sitting around catching up with neighbours and kids burning off some cabin fever. Or there was always that core group of neighbours registering and attending every session for our yoga classes; and every time they would tell me how much they enjoyed it! Then there are the neighbours and families with their dogs, walking through the field or heading to the hockey rink for some off-leash fun; seeing everyone in our neighbourhood find something to enjoy at the community centre makes the time, energy and effort all worthwhile.
My family has grown and my children have aged out of participating in the activities and events at Champlain so now it is time to pass the torch to the next group of volunteers. So that they can make this community centre what it needs to be to fit their families and their vision of the community. What a community centre is and what it offers changes with each generation; and a community centre like Champlain that has benefited from each generation volunteering and having their say will continue into the future on the strength of its community members and their voices.