Hats Off to You!

This is an event that I coordinated for the South Okanagan Women In Need Society (SOWINS) in celebration of the National Volunteers Week and in recognition of the organization’s many valued volunteers.

 The National Volunteer Week was slated on April 23rd to May 3rd this year.  It is Canada’s largest annual event that celebrates and recognizes the work of thousands of volunteers.  This year’s campaign theme, “VOLUNTEERS.  From Compassion to Action”  encompasses the inspiration that drives volunteers as they donate their time, energy and skills to better their communities and their country.


Each year Penticton hosts several major events and festivals, where volunteers are proven to be the most indispensable component of success.  At South Okanagan Women In Need Society (SOWINS), the volunteers, including its many supporters and sponsors, are the cornerstone that embody the organization’s commitment to continue to enhance the quality of life of the many abused women and underprivileged children.  Through their nurturing actions, these women and children are inspired and reminded that there is something larger than life. It almost sounds like a cliché, yet it is true, these volunteers in their own little way refresh the idea that in every cloud … there is a silver lining.

SOWINS gave me the privilege to plan and coordinate a small event to honor their volunteers.  (Anything for the plight of women and children – I’d gladly do them for they’re the closest to my heart.)  In the past, they celebrated their National Volunteer Week by hosting a simple lunch or dinner.  This year, they were ready to do something different in order to acknowledge about 40 – 50 amazing and selfless people of Penticton who support the society.  In cooperation of the Many Hats Theatre Production, we have decided that SOWINS will host a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner Theatre. 

The Budget:  $1,500 – 2,000 (Includes 3 course dinner, Venue Rental and Theatre pass for 44 people ++)

Stakeholder:  South Okanagan Women In Need Society (SOWINS)

Name of the Event:  “HATS OFF TO THE VOLUNTEERS!”  (It is a themed event where attendees are encouraged to wear and tip their most favorite, colorful, and totally unique hat to each and every SOWINS volunteer celebrating the occasion.  The highlight of the occasion is the recognition of volunteers who serve in each department – the longest year of volunteer service, newest volunteer and the Star of the Night (which goes to the person who wears the most appealing hat))

Date of the Event:  April 30th, Wednesday

Venue:  The Can Coffee Co. (Dinner was held at 5pm prior to the theatre show.  The venue was decorated to suit the theme.)

Theater Show:  “Don’t Dress for Dinner” (The play was absolutely perfect for the occasion!)  Presented by the newly formed actor’s co-op, Many Hats Theatre Company, this play by a French playwright, Marc Camoletti, is a boulevard comedy that was a smash hit in Paris and London.  The story is a popular farce and comedic concoction involving a married couple, an old friend, a voluptuous mistress and an outlandish cook who’s enlisted to take on different identities in a succession of lies, deceptions and misunderstandings. 

Come relive the occasion with me … 

 The welcome sign …


 The table centerpiece … gotta keep up with the theme …

  The menu card …

The play was hilarious … the actors were excellent! .. Suzy (or Suzette) as the cook was definitely the best part of the play! 


A photo-op with the kind-hearted actors of “Don’t Dress for Dinner”.  A toast after the production!

Over all, the event turned out to be a well deserved break for volunteers to unwind, relax and get entertained!  The laughter that echoed around the walls of the theater was enough measure that guests truly enjoyed the play, the performance of the multi-talented actors,  and the event as a whole. 

I believe we achieved our goal … the day evolved around the main purpose of the whole exercise – GIVING FORWARD and making RIPPLES.  

(Malou  Mabalay – Event Coordinator)

Thanks to the entire cast of the Many Hats Theatre Production, especially to Mr. Eric Hanston, for accommodating us despite the short notice.  My heartfelt gratitude goes to Eleanor Summer, the Executive Director of SOWINS for the trust and support.  


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