A Battlefield Turns into a Volunteer Opportunity
Ainslie Milley, a young volunteer at Fort Battleford National Historic Site
© Parks Canada
“I never thought I could enjoy my summers ‘working’ as I have volunteering for Fort Battleford. I look forward to coming back every summer.” – Ainslie Milley, one of Parks Canada’s dedicated junior volunteers.
Before becoming a volunteer at the age of 12, Ainslie first took part in the many activities Fort Battleford National Historic Site offered through a class field trip. After that initial visit, she couldn’t wait to repeat her experience. The opportunity came more quickly than she imagined when she was offered to join as a junior volunteer.
“I wanted to join right away. It wasn’t like any ‘job’ I’ve heard of. It was an opportunity to have fun and learn a lot,” beamed Ainslie.
The Junior Volunteer Program was established in 2007 to provide youth with more than just a history lesson; the participants develop skills in interpreting history while receiving a gentle introduction to a workplace environment. The program’s goal is to create a challenging and entertaining environment where youth can learn to appreciate history and in turn teach others to recognize the value of history as well.
“In my first year, I helped organize two parades and wrote and presented many puppet shows for local children’s programs,” explained Ainslie. “In my second year, I saw the program grow twice the size as more volunteers joined.”
Eager for her third summer of volunteering, the 14 year-old already has the experience of planning and coordinating events, acting in the popular Siege of Battleford, and writing for the Fort Battleford newsletter.
“This program has helped me grow as a good person who is inspirational, and admirable,” remarked Ainslie.
“To me, volunteerism is being independent, offering your time and committing to as many activities as possible. There’s so much going on – it takes a whole team of great people to get the job done.”