We held a photo contest to celebrate GivingTuesday in Canada on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. We asked people send in their UNselfies – pictures that showed how they give back to their community. The response was terrific – visit our Facebook page to see the entries. Two people won a prize of $500 each to donate to a charity of their choice. One of our winners was Anne Boquist, who entered this photo:
She wrote: This is one of the workshops at the Sooke Children’s Garden Club… In this workshop the kids made planters that sat in a pair of pants – like half a scarecrow – and when you watered the plants, the plants wet the pants! Our club has been going for 6 years now, has over 80 members and is free for Sooke families because of donations from local groups. It’s so FUN!
We wanted to know more about Anne, and asked her a few questions about her work with the Sooke Children’s Garden Club.
How long have you volunteered at the Sooke Children’s Garden Club?
I started the club because I love gardening and kids. We’ve been going for six years now, and we meet once a month from April to October. We divide the kids into five or six groups and have them move between five or six different workshops… Vegetables, flowers, the environment, a garden craft, healthy cooking/eating and then something extra like water conservation, invasive plants, etc. – whatever we come up with. Workshops last 10 to 15 minutes, then we ring a bell and you move on to the next station.
What’s your favourite part about volunteering?
I just LOVE the garden club. We have an amazing group of families – they all stay and go through the workshops with their kids, an amazing group of volunteers that also love it. The kids are so excited and eager to learn. We now have a storage shed built by the local high school kids with money from a grant from the District of Sooke. We meet at the Sunriver Allotment Garden now, after four years of meeting at my property. We grow larger every year. It’s so satisfying to see the kids so excited about gardening. They all go home with seeds, plants and recipes, and many parents are amazed to see their kids eating nettle pesto and kale chips and carefully tending their little plants. We have a Sooke Fall Fair Challenge every year – this year it was sunflowers – and all the kids are encouraged to enter their produce and flowers in the fair. (I’m Section Head at the Sooke Fall Fair for produce, so it’s a good fit.) We receive money every year from Sooke Rotary, Sooke Lions and the Harbourside Lions, and donations in kind from other Sooke businesses. The club is FREE for Sooke families and we love that.
You’ve indicated that you want to direct your $500 prize to the Sooke Residents in Need Society. What is it about the work they do that inspires you?
The Sooke Residents in Need Society is a wonderful resource in our community, a warm place to have tea, get dry socks, get referrals for housing and support, get a warm shoulder to lean on. They run on a shoestring and will be thrilled to receive the money. They will put it to great use.