“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
Two summers ago, Sena Fong started volunteering with the Disability Foundation in an administrative role. Her dad works with the Foundation and she thought she could use her summer time to help out organizing files.
One day, her dad had to visit the Creekside Paddling Centre to check on the staff, and she tagged along for the trip. When she went down the docks, the place sparked an interest in volunteering there instead of the office.
She loved the idea of being able to volunteer outside in the summer sun by the ocean. The opportunity to interact with people seemed nicer to her as well, instead of sitting in her room every day. This is how she started working as a British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS) paddling land volunteer.
Continuing her volunteering in 2021, Sena committed to donate around 24 hours a week with BCMOS paddling. Her work even inspired her sister to join her once a week. Sena’s role included greeting the clients and getting them ready to kayak or paddle board. When the team crew were out in the water, she also took care of cleaning up the equipment or around the dock.
Sena believes this experience has helped her come out of her comfort zone and learn to talk to more people. She says she’s always been a shy person and this was a good push for her to be more outgoing. Not only this, becoming a paddling volunteer helped her become much more independent. Going on her own to grab water and supplies at the London Drugs or taking the bus was something she didn’t do before.
From this experience, Sena was excited to see that many people love watching the adaptive recreational programs offered by BCMOS. For instance, she recalls a cyclist who passed by the docks and stopped to chat with the paddling crew. He ended up donating money as he, himself, recovered from a spinal cord injury. He was very pleased to see all the work done by our volunteers.
Volunteering at the Paddling Centre motivated Sena to keep up the hard work. She sees a lot of participants (and their families) book time to kayak or paddle-board and enjoy the waters. It was always fun to see new people wanting to join!
Sena admitted she was a little intimidated in the beginning. Everything was new and she did not know what to expect. But once she met the paddling team and got out on the water, they make her feel a lot more comfortable. The crew are all very understanding and patient, which to Sena, makes it all worth it.
Volunteering with the Disability Foundation and affiliated Societies, in general, is very different than volunteering somewhere else according to Sena. You see the lack of accessibility in our world for people with disabilities. But with BCMOS’ programs, you inspire them to experience what is possible.
In total last summer, Sena contributed 159 hours as a paddling volunteer! We are all thankful for her hard work. We are so excited to welcome Sena back for the 2022 summer season.
If you would like to volunteer with the BCMOS paddling program, or any of our affiliated Societies – don’t hesitate to reach out to Sheryl Rose Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have plenty of virtual and in-person opportunities for all ages, interests, and skill levels!