Helping hands for the arts: Vernon performing arts centre salutes its volunteers

The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre is not just a wonderful home for the Arts, it’s also a home for the dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the arts and all of the riches it brings.

From ushers and servers to ticket-takers and greeters, the arts centre’s volunteers help make the performances possible.

“We are quite busy with shows booked up until Christmas. So, for anyone who loves the arts, is outgoing and loves people, you’re encouraged to apply for our fall arts season,” says Wendy York, Volunteer Coordinator at Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre.

”You can apply in person or online, and we’ll hold an orientation and training session for the new volunteers. We can bring in as few as 12 or as many as 30 volunteers per session, with another session happening later in the year.”

The volunteering community at the centre is robust, welcoming people from all ages and backgrounds. Some volunteer to indulge a passion for the arts, others enjoy the social benefits volunteering brings. “I just know that no matter what is playing, I enjoy every show that I do with an awesome staff and a great team to be around,” says Gloria Phelan, a volunteer who has banked 1056.60 hours since 2016.

“This is the source of companionship for many of our volunteers and a deep source of joy. It brings a lot to their lives,” York says. “We have ballet, orchestra, rock shows and singer/songwriter shows, and many people who were busy with their careers may not have had that kind of exposure to the arts while they were working. Now, they have time in their lives to really enjoy it.”

The volunteering community at the centre is robust, with volunteers from all ages and walks of life. “Volunteering for this centre has been far more rewarding than I expected when I joined the roster in early 2019. The staff’s passion for making each patron’s experience a positive one is always felt and I realized I joined a family of caring individuals,” reflects Christine Schwarts, who has earned the title “Golden Volunteer” from earning the most hours last season of 355.50, reflects.

York is proud of the centre’s history and the diversity represented among the 148 volunteers, and points to the vibrancy they bring when patrons walk in the doors. Some stay on for a season, others for years.

“Some have been here longer than I have,” she says.

“One man in particular who was presented with a trophy for over 6,000 hours of volunteer service has been with us for years. He lives by himself and walks here every day and enjoys giving our patrons a warm and homey feeling” says York.

“I really want this to be a second home that they can rely on here,” York says. “We treat our volunteers well. We have snacks we provide on their shifts, a lot of camaraderie and two volunteer appreciation parties each year. There are friendships that develop.”

For more information about becoming a volunteer for the fall volunteer season, email Wendy York at, or visit

“I am so proud to be part of a family of deeply caring individuals who work hard to make sure we have top quality entertainment in our beautiful town,” York says.

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