O’Keefe Ranch volunteers are at the core of what keeps the Ranch churning. Volunteers are always welcome and the Ranch is slated to open its doors for the season May 13. (Photo submitted)

O’Keefe Ranch seeks volunteers

The ranch is slated to open for the season May 13

The O’Keefe Ranch is gearing up to re-open its doors to visitors on May 13th.

There is a lot of work to be done to prepare for the season ahead, and volunteers play a key role in the daily operations at the Ranch and help make it thrive each year.

“Our volunteers are incredible. They wave to the crowds while dressed in period costumes walking in parades in 30 degree heat, or lift kids up to meet our draft horses up close and personal after a sleigh ride at -15 degrees. It’s heartwarming and a privilege to work alongside these amazing people,” said Kelly MacIntosh, marketing and events coordinator.

In 2017, O’Keefe Ranch logged more than 5,300 volunteer hours. For a registered non-profit and charitable organization, with a staff of four full time employees and up to 16 part-time, student, and seasonal employees, the value is significant.

Related: Ranch implementing plan recommendations

According to BC Community Gaming Grant, a fund provider for the Ranch, the dollar value of volunteers is between $15-$20 per hour, and for the Ranch that sum amounts to between $80,000 – $100,000 of saved wages.

Some Ranch volunteers have been involved with the interpretive and education program for decades and they come with a wealth of knowledge and wonderful stories of the past. There is also a surge of young individuals with a keen interest in work-experience opportunities within the Greenhow Museum at the Ranch. This is key to keeping the Ranch’s doors open, there is a constant need for more volunteers and young people as programs improve and grow.

The Ranch would like to invite new and returning volunteers to attend the Volunteer Orientation and Meet and Greet April 21 from 10-11:30 a.m.

This event will provide information on volunteer opportunities available, everything from gardening and animal care to bilingual interpretive tours and archival documentation. Anyone interested in attending is asked to notify the Ranch in advance at 250-542-7868 or volunteer@okeeferanch.ca. The general public can also receive monthly email correspondence or sign up on the O’Keefe Ranch Volunteers group on Facebook to stay connected.

The first work bee of the season will take place April 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Just show up, bring a rake and wear gumboots and help get the grounds prepped for the year to come.

The O’Keefe Ranch tells the story of early BC Ranching and endeavors to preserve the history and culture of the early ranching era for future generations. The Ranch is a registered charitable organization, historic site and museum.


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