Community Spotlight

The Ardrossan Recreation & Agricultural Society (ARAS) is currently working alongside the Strathcona Library Bookmobile on an initiative of a Community Greenhouse. Early on, the committee identified (during the planning/community outreach phase) that to ‘feed’ the larger goal, and maintain interest and relevancy; the project needed to be broken down into phases. The committee settled on a few key projects to incorporate in the first season, with a strong and deep focus on building relationships.

Up until now, ARAS has had several noteworthy accomplishments worth mentioning:

  • Potato Planting – breaking/working land at Camaneri Acres, plot size one-quarter acre (including trenching in and planting all 200lbs of seed potatoes in approximately 1 hour utilizing volunteers of all ages).
  • Open Farm Days – harvested and sold potatoes to raise funds for the Strathcona Food Bank ($684 raised!)
  • Potato Harvest – harvested and donated approximately 500lbs of potatoes to the Strathcona Food Bank! 
  • Land Assessment/Planning – Assessed land soil structures for potato growth. ARAS will be planting corn, beans and squash this year (A project in partnership with the Strathcona Library Bookmobile on June 1st weather permitting).
  • Living Christmas Tree Program – In the first year, ARAS trialed 20 trees and delivered them to Sherwood Park Heartland Housing Foundation locations for the holidays. Trees were lovingly decorated as part of a cross-generational ornament-making activity.

ARAS has officially launched and celebrated a very successful first year of the project.

They will look to once again grow the potato patch and this initiative by expanding the experience to incorporate a Three Sisters Planting Experience (to be held on June 1 in partnership with the Book Mobile).

Funds generated from the Open Farm Days You-Dig as well as ARAS Farmers Market Sales throughout the season, will be used to feed the overall project initiative of a Community Greenhouse located in Ardrossan; however, all harvested potatoes at the end of the season that are not sold will once again be donated to the Strathcona Food Bank.

Don’t miss out on the scoop for upcoming ARAS events! Click HERE to get all the details.

Photos: Courtesy of Jessica L

At PHOENIX FC, our volunteers are the heart and soul of our community, playing a key role in the success of our youth sports programs. Whether they are coaching teams, organizing fundraisers, connecting families, helping with logistics, or leading community efforts, every volunteer brings unique skills and dedication to help our young athletes succeed. Our volunteers mentor the athletes, helping them improve their skills both on and off the field and work together as a team and community. Volunteers are the foundation of every sporting club, playing a vital role in players discovering possibilities and reaching their potential. The four pillars of Phoenix FC coaching are working hard, positive team spirit, positive coaching, and learning and improving. These pillars are built from studies about why kids stay in sports and can only be achieved in a highly connected and active community.

We have many volunteer roles. Coaches lead sessions, managers organize team activities, and volunteers handle logistics for matches and events. Video volunteers record games and practices, capturing all the action on the field, creating highlight reels, and building training materials for player improvement. Volunteers manage our social media and communications, keeping the community connected by promoting events, sharing club news, and engaging with our community. Program volunteers help run club programs and support special events and tournaments, ensuring every event is a success. Administrative and logistical volunteers handle registration, maintain facilities, and manage other important tasks behind the scenes, keeping our club running smoothly.

Volunteering is about more than helping with tasks; it’s about connection, service, and learning. Youth interact with people from different backgrounds and perspectives, experiencing and learning new ways of thinking and doing. These experiences encourage players to explore and express their own agency, further inspiring growth in others through their development as players, people, and leaders. Volunteers strengthen communities by connecting people through a sense of belonging and shared experiences while modeling leadership in action.

While we seek to encourage and grow early volunteer involvement, we also want to continue increasing community connection and capacity. Our approach includes event-based activities, from fun and informal social gatherings to more structured clinics, seminars, or information sessions. We feature volunteer contributions on our platforms, celebrating impact through storytelling. Additionally, we connect experienced and new volunteers, supporting growth through mentorship. If you are interested in this direction and wish to take part, please reach out to our team at Phoenix FC by visiting our website at or calling our office at 780-449-1343. We will connect you with the appropriate person to support your volunteer interest.

Written by Josh Pynten

BGCBIGS has set a lofty goal in the form of a challenge to the community—for 100 men to step up and become mentors to children and youth in the Edmonton area.

The Goal

While the goal of the campaign seems simple—recruit one male mentor per day for 100 days—the purpose of this campaign is more far-reaching. We currently have a waitlist of over 700 young people waiting to be matched with a mentor; over half of those kids are boys and some of those boys are waiting up to 2 years for a mentor.

The 100 Men in 100 Days campaign aims to break down common misconceptions about what it means to be a mentor, such as:

  • “I need special skills or higher education”. False. Lived experience is just as important to a young person who just wants someone they can relate to.
  • “I need experience working with children or youth.” False. You just need to be willing to show up and be consistent. BGCBigs will provide mentors with training and support the whole way.
  • “I don’t have time to be a mentor.” False. Being a mentor means doing many things you’re already doing, such as playing board games, reading books, watching movies, playing sports, etc. but now you’ll enjoy them alongside a young friend.

Redefine the way you spend an hour

“We’re posing this challenge to men in our community specifically because so many men have the capacity to be awesome mentors but they don’t even realize it,” said Ian Amundson, Club Manager at BGCBigs. “I hear guys tell me all the time, ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I don’t have what it takes’ and I always respond by saying; ‘Did you play video games last week? Did you watch a hockey game last week? Did you play a sport or a board game or check out a cool attraction?’ The answer is always yes—so why not do all of those fun things you’re already doing anyway but with a buddy? Just for an hour per week! That’s all it takes to be a mentor—one hour a week to do something fun you were already going to do, but with a young person who needs you.”

We have a place for you

Whether it’s as a Club volunteer or as an in-school mentor, or as a mentor in a group setting sharing your love of sports, board games, hands-on projects, reading, movies and more—we have a place for you.

“Volunteering as an in-school mentor was an opportunity to re-experience my youth in a positive way. From reading books like Jeronimo Stilton, to spending time making a paper mâché volcano, it was as much fun for me [as it was for my mentee],” said Robert Markowski, former in-school mentor. “I know I felt pressure coming the first day, but when you realize your [mentee] is looking forward to spending time out of the classroom with someone that is just trying to help them with learning challenges, have some fun and develop a relationship, I really had nothing to worry about. With the small commitment of time each week, combined with BGCBigs’ [support] and the teacher setting everything up for me, it was an easy way to step into volunteering again.”

Be one of the 100

Rise to the challenge. Being a mentor isn’t complicated because it’s not about changing the future, just the moment.

Learn more about 100 Men in 100 Days by visiting our website at


At Volunteer Strathcona, we love learning about the amazing things being done by volunteers and community organizations in Strathcona County.  

In December we caught up with Tara Erickson, Program Director at the Strathcona County Community Mediation program (SCCM), to find out more about their volunteer program and impact in our community.

Did you know that SCCM can help neighbours, family members, and community organizations resolve disputes through FREE informal mediation?  We learned they have helped neighbours resolve parking disputes and disagreements about roosters (yes, roosters!), assisted separated parents communicate better about the activities their kids are participating in, and helped members of community organization Boards work out disagreements.

We also learned that SCCM can provide organizations with FREE workshops on topics such as effective communication and conflict resolution. This is a great benefit to organizations in helping staff, board members and/or volunteers agree on how they want to communicate with one another and approach conflict constructively!

There are many different ways volunteers can get involved in SCCM work – volunteers can become mediators, workshop facilitators, and/or case developers – or can support SCCM in other ways, like volunteering for casinos or joining their Board.  SCCM provides all the training needed – they are looking for good communicators who are empathetic and non-judgemental, and have a few hours a month to volunteer.

If you’d like more information about SCCM’s services and volunteer opportunities, check out their website or reach out to their Program Director, Tara Erickson at (