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Craig Cote, Thanks for Doing Some Good!

What first inspired you to volunteer?

In grade 12, our school arranged to take any students who were willing to donate blood to the clinic. For some it was a chance to get out of school. I knew my dad had been a donor, so for me it was a chance to do something my dad had done.

Which cause are you most passionate about and why?

I often encourage people in the office to go out to donate blood. Malachi Nordine is the president of SKYTRAC Systems -- I got him out for his first donation by betting on the results of the Obama vs McCain election. I've managed to convince half-a-dozen other colleagues to go out to the Canadian Blood Services - Kelowna, and some have become regulars. Another passion of mine is working with youth through coaching. Watching a player have their best game and being able to share their enthusiasm afterwards is unbelievably rewarding.

Which organization do you most commonly volunteer for?

I volunteer with OMYSA: Okanagan Mission Youth Soccer Association. You can learn more about it here: http://okmissionsoccer.com

What does a typical volunteer shift look like for this organization?

Running soccer practices and games. Nothing fancy. The emphasis is always on having fun, continually improving, good sportsmanship and teamwork, and playing to the best of one's capacity, regardless of the setting.

What impact have you seen volunteers make in the community?

There are countless events occuring all the time in Kelowna, and without volunteers so many of them would never happen. Everyone would lose without volunteers.

What is the most memorable moment or experience you've had while volunteering?

2016 was a tough season for my U11 boys team, but the boys had handled the adversity pretty well. I got a call an hour before our last game of the season to tell me our opponents couldn't field a team and was asked if we'd be willing to play a U14 girls team from the Kelowna United program instead. I said yes. ;)

The boys (and their parents) were initially skeptical but willing. And the girls took no prisoners: they used all their skill and physicality against my boys. It didn't take long for the boys to forget they were playing against girls and they played their best, most complete game of the season -- and it was just a joy to watch. And I got to watch it from the best vantage point -- from the goal, as the girls' coach and I tended goal for our respective teams. It was a blast to join the boys for the game, and seeing how hard they worked, how much fun they had -- it was an amazing way to end the season. I suspect everybody involved will remember it for a while. :)

What support does your organization currently need, and how can people learn more or get involved?

Coaches are needed every year. Although many of them volunteer year-after-year, lives can get in the way. Every year I see e-mails being sent because of a shortage of coaches.

Is there anyone else you would like to recognize that has helped support you to make a difference?

Initially I waffled about coaching soccer -- I didn't feel particularly qualified, hadn't played in a decade -- but Malachi Nordine encouraged me to step forward. I'm very grateful he did.