If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity that will fill your heart with joy, consider Operation Trackshoes!

Since 1971, Operation Trackshoes (OT) has brought people with special abilities from across B.C. together, for a weekend sports festival.

“There’s about 500 people that participate every year at this amazing sporting event at the University of Victoria,” says Lindsay Brookes, an Operation Trackshoes volunteer counsellor.

“I think it’s like a highlight of their year. It’s a weekend that they look forward to, and one that they count down the days to because it’s just so much fun!  It’s like a reunion!”

Fresh out of high school 49 years ago, Judith Armstrong and a few friends created Operation Trackshoes.

“It was organized in about four months,” says Armstrong.  “It was only a one-day event at the time, and then very quickly we went to a weekend event the following year.”

And while the event has grown, their philosophy has remained the same.

“It’s an opportunity to bring people together for participation, for competition, and for fun,” says Armstrong.

Sarah Gurney has been competing at Operation Trackshoes for 10 years.

“It’s just a great, fun, social weekend that I get to spend with all the volunteers and all my friends who I don’t get to see very often,” she says enthusiastically.

But OT can’t run without volunteers. Organizers are hoping people will commit to the weekend of June 7th through 9th.

“In particular for the volunteer counsellor role. That’s the role that we really need to recruit for,” said Brookes.

“With that role, you’re paired up, one on one, with a competitor, or you’re assigned to two or three competitors depending on the level of support they require. You basically act as their buddy for the weekend, and you make sure they arrive to their event on time, and cheer them on.  You’re kind of like their cheerleader for the weekend.”

“We’d love as many full-time counsellors as we can,” said Hollie Ross, another OT volunteer counsellor.

“But, we would love as many volunteers as possible, so you can come just for Friday if you’d like, just for Saturday, or Sunday as well. It would be great to have many overnight as we can, but anyone is helpful, even in just that short amount of time.”

Click here to learn more about Operation Trackshoes.

Veronica Cooper