Frank Van den Dorpel tries to start a 1910 International Harvester gasoline engine as Ray Ramey (left) watches during an open house at the Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association site in 2017. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Frank Van den Dorpel tries to start a 1910 International Harvester gasoline engine as Ray Ramey (left) watches during an open house at the Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association site in 2017. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

‘Our future all depends on volunteers,’ says president of Chilliwack ag society as numbers dwindle

Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association looking for more volunteers; inviting folks to open house

The president of a Chilliwack agricultural society is stressing the importance of volunteering now that organizations have reopened following COVID restrictions.

“During COVID, we lost volunteers that retired from volunteering but have not replaced them. This is much of the story for many clubs and associations,” said Ray Ramey, president of the Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association (ATA).

They were even losing volunteers before the pandemic hit.

The ATA is a historic agricultural museum society which has been in Chilliwack for 39 years. It runs a farming museum called Chilliwack Pioneer Village.

In order to keep the ATA going, Ramey and other members have organized an open house where people can see firsthand what the association is all about and, hopefully, sign up to volunteer.

“What happens when people do not step up to volunteer for these great clubs and associations? They go away,” he said. “Then you will say ‘Whatever happened to that great car show?’ or ‘Remember that place we used to go to? Whatever happened to it?’”

If not for volunteers, organizations like the ATA might not exist. More volunteers and members are needed as the association gets ready to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, people are welcome to come to the open house where they can meet members, take tours and talk about future plans.

Some of the things members and volunteers do include attending meetings, volunteering in the museum, helping around the site with cleanup, volunteering at community events, and be a backup to cover shifts in the museum.

RELATED: Fundraiser yard sale this weekend for Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association in Chilliwack

Ramey has been a member with the ATA for 12 years and president for five years. He’s said people will be “leaving a legacy for the future generations” by volunteering.

Ideally, they want the ATA site to be open six days a week like it once was years ago.

“What is our future all depends on volunteers. If we don’t have volunteers, we can’t be open.”

The Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association open house is on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 44146 Luckakuck Way (beside Chilliwack Heritage Park). For more, go to atchelitz.ca/home.


 

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