Jeremy Legere had only been in Whistler for a few months when he volunteered for the inaugural Great Outdoors Festival (GO Fest) last May.
"It was a really great way to become immersed in the community and be a part of the action," Legere recalled. "It was really cool to get out there and just experience all of it firsthand, to get to be stationed at some really cool spots along the courses and meet some great people."
Legere's experience with GO Fest led to lasting friendships and other opportunities to get involved.
With the second installment of GO Fest scheduled for May 15 to 18, organizers have once again put out the call for volunteers.
"They are absolutely really what makes the event happen, and particularly for our anchor event the Great Snow Earth Water Race," said Nicole Freeman, manager of project logistics for the festival.
"The ground that we have to cover for that event — as well as just the breadth of GO Fest and where all of our events take place — requires a lot of hands to be out and about around Whistler and the valley."
Freeman estimates the festival needs about 150 volunteers in total.
But if the enthusiasm from last year's festival carries over, reaching that mark shouldn't be hard.
"I was surprised how many people were excited to get on board with this new festival that's also a part of the whole RMOW initiative over the May long weekend," Freeman said. "People seemed to click with that and want to sort of change the nature of that weekend... it was a really good vibe.'
Freeman said the festival offers a nice representation of what Whistler is all about.
"I think the fact that this festival is continuing to almost broaden itself and encompass more events, more sports, more culture activities just goes to show how much there is to do in Whistler," she said. "That's kind of the whole idea. We want to showcase everything."
GO Fest is also seeking athletes, businesses, musicians and film submissions. Deadline dates for all applications vary. More information on all can be found at greatoutdoorsfest.com.
Anyone interested in volunteering can find an online application form at www.greatoutdoorsfest.com/get-involved — Legere has already submitted his.
"The community in Whistler, it's really built on that Whistler experience — bringing that to the visitors who come into the community week after week — and this community is really built on the people who put these events on," he said.
"The people in the community who volunteer their time are really the ones who put on the best face of Whistler for people."
And GO Fest is a great representation of the outdoor marvels that make Whistler what it is.
"We're all here, for the most part, because we enjoy the outdoors," Legere said. "Those two mountains Whistler and Blackcomb are really what draws everybody, so GO Fest really gets you to enjoy everything that comes along with that Whistler experience."