Volunteer Awards 2013


Paul Barber

Paul Barber began dancing in Winnipeg in 1976 when his wife, Kim Malcolmson, dragged him out on cold winter nights despite his protests.  It was not too long, however, before he was hooked.  They danced for a brief time after moving to Toronto in 1981; however, his job interfered, so it wasn’t until 1991 that he and Kim began dancing again and joined the Trinity social group.

Paul became chair of Trinity in 1996 and has been responsible for its smooth operation for the past 17 years during both the regular season and the summer sessions with guest teachers.  He ensures the group is kept informed about Association events and is a great supporter of them himself.  

The music escaping from Trinity’s unique location at the University of Toronto often draws in curious visitors, and Paul not only welcomes them but also encourages them to give it a try.  Paul also assisted the Trinity executive with organizing the Toronto Assembly for a number of years.

Paul first volunteered with the Toronto Branch Executive in 1997 as Convenor for Monthly Dances, and then in 1998 he took on the challenging role of editor of the Toronto Branch newsletter for two years which he handled in his quiet but capable way.

Paul is responsible for at least two people becoming dancers:  being his neighbours Wayne Ellwood and Liz Martin – their interest was sparked by seeing Paul regularly heading out wearing his kilt, and he encouraged them to take lessons.  Wayne has now followed Paul’s example of volunteering by agreeing to serve on the Board of Directors.

More recently, Paul responded to a plea from the Board who wanted to have an outreach event in the West end.  Paul contacted the appropriate people and determined Toronto Association could hold an event in Dufferin Grove Park.  Since then he has been integral in organizing the event as the main liaison between Toronto Association and the Park, arranging for music by ensuring John Clark arrives with his sound system and last year arranging for a piper to march through the park in order to entice people to watch and to participate in the dancing.

Paul’s diligent service to the Trinity social group and his constant, enthusiastic support of RSCDS Toronto is very much appreciated.

~ Nancy Duffy (with thanks to J. Clark, W. Ellwood & J. Robinson)

Jennifer Bentley

Jennifer Bentley, along with her husband Graham, started dancing at the first beginners’ class at St Leonard’s church in January 2006, and they soon became members of RSCDS Toronto and active participants of events in the Toronto area.

Jenn quickly became involved as a volunteer, helping with many events such as afternoon teas and the Youth Ball.  Jenn served on the Volunteer Committee from 2009 to 2011 and provided several new insights.  In the first year, she and other committee members joined Board Members in visiting the social groups in teams of two.  Jenn organized the display at the AGM of lists of members serving on Association committees.  She assisted with soliciting nominations for the Volunteer Awards, creating the awards, and organizing the reception to honour the recipients.  Although she declined to be officially on the Volunteer Committee for the past two years, she has nevertheless cheerfully pitched in as needed.

In 2011-2012, Jenn moved to the Membership Committee.  For 2012-2013, she was specifically responsible for issuing membership cards to those joining by PayPal online. She also did the routine annual updating of Toronto membership on the Society database in Edinburgh.   

Jenn is a member of the Petronella social group.  Petronella has a very active demo team performing 15-20 times per year.  For the past three years, Jennifer has taken on the huge job of being the co-ordinator, which is of great assistance to their teacher, Carole Skinner.  Jenn does all the contacting, lines up the dancers, organizes costumes, emcees most events and, when needed, dances. 

She was also instrumental in getting a website for Petronella group and made sure it was tied into the Toronto Association website.  She remains responsible for updating it.  Jenn became co-chair of Petronella in 2012 and now oversees its committee and is responsible for handling announcements to the members, arrangements with the venue, and requests received via the website. 

Jenn is great at promoting Scottish country dancing.  She hands out business cards wherever she goes and is now promoting with bumper stickers.

Jennifer is organized, enthusiastic, and very helpful regarding anything she puts her hand to.  We are grateful that Jenn has lent her talents and support to the Petronella social group and especially to the RSCDS Toronto Association. 

~ Nancy Duffy (with thanks to C. Skinner & T. Clark)

Valerie Fisher

Valerie Fisher had done some Scottish country dancing as a child growing up in Edinburgh and returned to dancing about a dozen years ago by taking classes at Eastminster and at the same time joining the Hillcrest social group.  She is now essential to the group because she brings with her both the teacher and often the juice! 

Valerie also regularly dances at Trinity and Glenview along with attending Toronto Association events.  She has served as Membership officer at  the Glenview social group. 

In 2005 Valerie joined the demo team and has devoted a great deal of time to that as she dances at almost all the demonstrations.  She currently heads the Demo Dress subcommittee, showing her creative side in the development of designs and contributing much time and effort to the sewing of the women’s demo outfits.  Valerie’s reliability and attention to detail help immensely.

Valerie was the convenor of the Toronto Association workshop for several years – probably a few more than she would have chosen, but she agreed to stay and fill our need.  Valerie acquired a good roster of teachers to ask to come to the Toronto Association workshop due to her attendance at a good number of dance events, workshops and summer schools.  Valerie is amazingly organized. 

She interacted well with her committee members and with other convenors and board members such that the committee members could focus on their own tasks and she diligently followed up on tasks delegated to others, so as to ensure nothing fell through the cracks.  Under Valerie’s cheerful management, this event was most ably and efficiently run – even the year the water main broke on the Friday night requiring her to find a new venue for Saturday morning.

Valerie is a keen and contributing member of the RSCDS Toronto Association and is a most worthy person to receive a Volunteer Award.

~ Nancy Duffy (with thanks to J. Lindsay, J. Noble, J. Robinson & T. Szeto)