City councillor Betty Irwin (l) and Lynn LeBarge (r) at the 2013 Volunteer of the Year awards held by the City of Whitehorse.                                                                               

The Yukon Arts Centre is blessed to have an outstanding crew of over 100 dedicated volunteers that share our passion and commitment to arts and culture in the Yukon.  These amazing individuals take time out of their own personal schedules to assist with countless events, programs and performances. In fact, much of what YAC does can only happen through their enthusiastic participation.  We thought it was about time that we shared our awesome volunteer team with the public; and what a better time to premiere our ‘Behind-the- Scenes with Volunteers’ than during National Volunteer Week!

National Volunteer Week (April 6 – 12, 2014) is an annual celebration of Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers.  The City of Whitehorse honoured its own volunteers this week by asking organizations to nominate candidates for ‘Volunteer of the Year’.  YAC’s  nominee, Lynn LeBarge, has been part of the Arts Centre team for over 19 years. She is also the creator of the Volunteer Voucher Program, which allows volunteers to donate their complimentary ticket vouchers to deserving local organizations. So far, thanks to Lynn’s great idea, Kaushee's Place (Yukon Women's Transition Home) has received tickets on behalf of our ever generous volunteers.  On the eve of her award, we chatted with Lynn about her experiences and the impetus behind her extensive volunteering.

What do you do as a volunteer here at YAC?

I am on a Front of House team. I usually work Coat Check, but have also ushered several times.  I can't read the tickets without my glasses, though!

You have been a volunteer at YAC for over 19 years. How/Why did you decide to volunteer here specifically?

I really enjoy live theatre, and the chance to see performances while doing something good for my community really appeals to me. 

What other organizations or events have you volunteered for?

I am currently a volunteer with Girl Guides of Canada as a Spark Guider.  I am completing my 38th year with GGC (as a girl and adult).  I help the Ladies of the Eastern Star fold bandages for cancer patients.  I knit blankets, hats, scarves and mittens for places like the Pediatric Unit at the Hospital, Kaushee's Place, and anywhere else where children may be in need of comfort.  I was a volunteer with the Klondike Road Relay for 22 years, working at a checkpoint, usually in the middle of the night.  I volunteer with the Terry Fox Run every year.  I was involved with Yukon Women In Trades and Technology since their founding in 2000, serving on the Board of Directors until a couple of years ago.  I am still a member but not quite as active right now.  I was the chair of the Mascot Committee for the Canada Winter Games and worked for 1.5 years prior to the Games recruiting and training mascot performers, as well as performing in the costume myself.  I volunteered every day of the Games for about 12 hours per day to keep the Mascot Program going strong.  I was a volunteer for the Arctic Winter Games in 2012, working in the Public Relations area.  This isn't an exhaustive list, but it does hit the highlights!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time – if you have any spare time that is?!

I enjoy reading, watching movies and walking.  I also have cats and enjoy spending time with them.  I make my own greeting cards and do a fair bit of sewing as well.

What did you do prior to becoming a volunteer?

I have always been a volunteer, since I can remember.  My father was very committed to his community, and passed that along to me.  I can't imagine my life without volunteer activities.

Your favourite thing about the Yukon?

I love living here!  It is such a vibrant community, while at the same time being very relaxed and friendly.  The scenery is beautiful and the unending hours of daylight in the summer charge up my internal batteries to keep me going through the long winters.  My community gives me so much enjoyment that it only seems right to give something back that helps others enjoy it as much as I do.

If you are interested in getting involved in our community, check out Volunteer Bénévoles Yukon.

Want to join the Yukon Arts Centre’s volunteer team? Visit this page for more information.