Journey from Volunteer to Entrepreneur

Embracing Key Life Skills through #Volunteering

Not on our News List? Subscribe here. 

With the advances with the Internet and accessibility to more social channels, including smartphones with high-tech cameras, and applications that can help anyone do almost anything. A monumental shift is changing the outlook of the next wave of entrepreneurs, the Generation Z or iGen (those born between 1995 and 2010), are evaluating and making choices on how they wish to create their style of living.  They are following their passion, whether it be a hobby they’ve developed or a way they fuel their bodies. Or perhaps, they are carving out a new business through the techniques they’ve learned in sports, or cultures they experience or even the artistic talent they have honed along the way.

They understand how they want to live their lives. Our next generation of careers will be more focused on making a difference, being authentic and determining how you can make an impact on society. 

Look at Yervana, “an app and web-based platform connecting adventure-seekers with locals who live for the outdoors–so you can spend less time researching what to do, and more time outside doing what you love.” They help potential entrepreneurs take that next step into their adventure careers by providing them services needed to set up their business.  They are removing the barriers that may hold back new business owners from jumping into that ‘small business’ pool. More and more companies, like Yervana, are being built to help entrepreneurs so they can share their passions and help others.

“YouTube. Podcasts. Blogs. Instagram. Facebook. Everyone is positioning themselves to communicate their personal brand, ensuring their voice is heard. Making a difference in their skilled discipline, whether it’s entertainment, news, self help, business, or DIY (Do it Yourself) Videos.

A Career Developed through Passion


Crankworx | Photo Cred: Whistler Tourism & Justa Jeskova

In today’s society, you either join someone who is already making that shift, a small business with a purpose, or you start a business yourself. Determining how you, with your specific skill set, will make a difference in your community, society or the world as a whole.

Following the old paradigm, you would search for a job, one that would provide you skills that you could use as a stepping stone for the next step on the path to your desired career position.  Students would finish High School and head off to University or College, then either continue to post-graduate work or apply for a job. Most employers would say, ‘great you have a degree’, your hired! Now learn the job, the first step of many.

The youth of today, Generation Z, are following their passions even before they finish high school. They choose the career education that complements their passion. By dovetailing their passion and desire to make a different, the result is a business that offers true value.

In British Columbia (B.C.), everyday a new business is born! Statistics Canada reported that in 2017 there were 182,670 business in British Columbia. With 179,517 of those designated as Small Businesses (1-99 employees). That’s 98% of all businesses in B.C. at that time were Small Businesses.

These statistics indicate that more and more people are deciding to follow their passions and start that business that will help fulfil their dream. 

Volunteer: A Career Saviour

Today, volunteering is part of learning the real world knowledge needed to flush out the details of developing a passion business. Those that work on their craft while they are young, will reap the benefits as they build out their careers. 

Many teenagers, tweens and even children are starting to volunteer and are encouraged to follow their passions. Parents are seeing this shift and start to introduce them to volunteering opportunities in their community as a way to give back and learn how the world works. By the time they are an adult at 18 years old, many already have a solid knowledge of what they want to do. Now they just have to figure out the how.

When you volunteer at an event, festival or society not only are your giving back and helping others follow their passion, you are learning how to interact with others and understanding the importance of working together for a common goal.

Top 4 Skills Learned Through Volunteering


Whistler Film Festival
Whistler Film Festival | Photo Cred: Tourism Whistler & Mike Crane

1. Learn Business Social Behaviour through Volunteering 

In today’s digital age you need to make more of a conscious effort to reach out and learn to cultivate your social skills. Learn how to interact on a professional level and utilize your strengths to help others. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, it strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network. Making new friends with similar interests may help you find your next business partner? Or perhaps spiral your career by making a connection with that key contact?

2. Build your Business Network

You start to build your network of business contacts. You are brought together by your interests and how you life you lifestyle. This gives you the opportunity to meet many different types of people from various disciplines who are volunteering because they have the same passion or interests. They are key connections to make for future job opportunities, partnerships, contract work or friends! 

Tip: Connect on LinkedIn. As you move through your life, and meet key people you can start to grow your connections. 

3. Cultivate your Skills

Many volunteering opportunities provide extensive training to teach your skills for the job. Using these opportunities can build upon the skills you already have to benefit the greater community.  When you volunteer, and have a specific aptitude for a component that they need. For example, if you are skilled in videography or photography, you are able to use your talents and continue to hone your skills. In the process of learning new techniques you are also helping your volunteer agency.

4. Your Resume

Volunteering offers you the chance to try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. It’s a great opportunity to gain experience in a new field or a complementary field. Additionally, your volunteer work may expose you to professional organizations or internships that could benefit your career. 

Interested in Volunteering?

Where do you even start to look for opportunities? They are everywhere. If you are not sure where to start, look in your local newspaper or do a Google Search “Local Volunteer Opportunities” or use a more local term “Whistler Volunteer Opportunities”.

Ask your Whistler Adventure School advisor about the opportunities available to volunteer in Whistler. Email us at