Dry Grad event could dry up without more volunteers

NANAIMO – Dry Grad 2014 could be cancelled and society fold if volunteers can't be found for committees.

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith Dry Grad could evaporate if volunteers can’t be found to fill positions on the organization’s executive board and subcommittee.

In an effort to buy time to find new blood, the dry grad society has postponed its annual general meeting until Nov. 21.

After that date the society could dissolve, bringing an end – at least temporarily – to a long tradition of providing a safe, alcohol and drug-free event for students to celebrate their graduations, warns Rebecca Leigh, society entertainment coordinator.

“What we need is enough people to fill our executive and committee positions,” Leigh said.

Over the last 10 years there has been a core group of people organizing the event who now want to pass the reins off to others in the community, but so far there have been few willing to climb in the saddle.

“So now a lot of people have stepped down, so there are a lot of new positions,” Leigh said. “I came on last year because they put a call out for help, saying sort of the same situation – that they were looking at having to cancel the event if they didn’t get any help.”

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Dry Grad is run by a non-profit society, which must have certain executive and board direct positions filled to maintain society status and receive operating money through donations and grants.

About 14 positions need to be filled in total.

“Quite a few of us who are on the committee now are brand new, but we’re still not able to fill our full committee,” Leigh said.

She said the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Dry Grad, held annually at Beban Park, includes all high schools, public and private, in the school district and is the largest event of its kind in B.C.

Planning for dry grad usually starts in October, so even if a delay in filling those positions doesn’t shut down the society permanently it means the committee  won’t be able to confirm vendors and entertainment for Dry Grad 2014, which could force the event to be cancelled.

People interested in stepping up to pitch in don’t have to be parents of students or even connected with schools or parent advisory committees.

“I’m 25. I just came in because it was a great opportunity to get involved in the community and it was an event that I attended when I was in high school,” Leigh said. “I’m nowhere near having kids in the education system. We’re looking for anybody who’s passionate and believes they have a skill set that they can contribute.”

Parents and interested community members are encouraged to attend and bring their friends to the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Dry Grad annual general meeting Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Woodlands Secondary School in Library.

For more information, please visit the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Dry Grad website at www.nanaimodrygrad.ca, e-mail info@nanaimodrygrad.ca or call Leigh at 250-816-0728.