Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organizations, and the efforts of volunteers in the province’s real estate community were recognized during the 2012 OREA Annual Conference held at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre Hotel.
Special volunteers were honoured for their time and effort by the Ontario Real Estate Association. One individual award and three group awards were presented by Barb Sukkau, immediate past president, and Ron Abraham, president of OREA.
The recipient of the individual volunteerism award was Karen Cox from the REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound. She was praised for her role in the development of a regional wind turbines task force that involved 15 real estate boards or associations across the province. She was also cited for her efforts to engage with political representatives to ensure a strong relationship between the real estate community and the provincial government.
In addition, two real estate boards were recognized for their success in training and recruiting volunteers, while a third was honoured with a new award created by the association.
The Windsor-Essex County Real Estate Board won the OREA volunteerism award for a board with a membership of less than 900. It was lauded for its efforts in recruiting volunteers by various methods, including an e-news initiative, one-on-one efforts among board leaders, the organization of REALTOR® nights to network and promote participation, and through general membership meetings. The board was also praised for its recognition activities, including an annual appreciation luncheon, an education voucher for volunteers, a distinguished REALTOR® award, and other mentoring and training efforts.
The London & St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) won the OREA volunteerism award for a board with a membership greater than 900. It was recognized for its efforts to improve volunteer training and recruitment through various initiatives. One key approach was its decision to make OREA’s Leadership 100 course mandatory for all volunteers, including directors, prior to their first meeting. As well, LSTAR covered the cost for all participants to take OREA Leadership 200 and 300 courses so that it was free for those enrolled. Other efforts to enhance training and recruitment included a half-day orientation session for volunteers, an enhanced volunteer application form, a new educational voucher program and the establishment of a recruitment advisory group.
The Niagara Association of REALTORS® was the recipient of a new honour established by the association. The OREA Quality of Life Award honours outstanding civic participation, charitable work or advocacy by a real estate board in Ontario that falls under at least one of the five Quality of Life principles. They are: Building better communities; ensuring economic vitality; providing housing opportunities; preserving our environment; and protecting the rights of property owners. The Niagara association was recognized for a variety of initiatives, including its work in supporting local food banks, its environment-friendly initiatives in its board offices, and its advocacy of private property rights.