For those interested in being a Tall Ships volunteer, it would appear being a proud Nova Scotian is a pre-requisite.
“We’ve got a wonderful city,” said volunteer Beverly Hiscock. “We’ve got a wonderful province. We’re so blessed and I think it’s a joy to share it with other people.
“I get a great deal of satisfaction out of hearing people say how much they enjoyed their stay, how helpful people were and how much they loved coming here to Halifax and Nova Scotia in general.”
Hiscock has volunteered for the Tall Ships since 2004 and says it’s allowed her to meet a lot of great people. Her family has even grown because of it.
“I have an adopted son in Mexico. I call him my adopted son,” said the 61-year-old with a chuckle. (Hiscock already has two children and two grandchildren, with a third on the way.)
Her “adopted son” was a crew member aboard a ship during the 2004 Tall Ships. The two keep in regular contact.
For Gord Hamlin, volunteering is a big part of his life. He’s been a Tall Ships volunteer since 2000. He’s also volunteered at other events such as the World Junior Hockey Championship and the World Hockey Championship.
Hamlin says helping out provides a feeling of self-satisfaction.
“I enjoy it because it gives me a chance to get out and do things and help out my community,” adds the retired 72-year-old.
Part of the joy also comes from the responsibility involved, he says. As chairman of the transportation committee, he is responsible for the transportation needs of the crews and is responsible for a fleet of 30 vehicles.
“They entrust that to me. That makes me feel pretty good that people have that much faith,” he said.
Waterfront Development Corporation president Colin MacLean has nothing but praise for the volunteers.
“They bring such inspiration. They come in, they’re so happy to be there.
“It’s highly motivational,” he adds.
This year’s Tall Ships festival will bring together 1,200 volunteers. Becoming a volunteer involves an application process as well as background checks.
Sadly, all of the positions are filled for this year. But there’s always the 2012 festival.