Members » Newsletter

May 2019

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In this edition:

Message from Laurie Harley, President, Shaw Guild

What a delightful Company Day!

That’s the way one member described her experience at the Shaw Company Day on May 15th.

Close to 100 Guild Members accepted the Shaw’s invitation to join Company Members for a celebration of milestone service anniversaries and updates on “what’s new” at the Shaw.  It was a special opportunity for us to interact with the Company and acknowledge 12 long service Guild Members who received awards at our Members’ Day last fall.  Four of these recipients (20 years: Jennifer Gardiner, Sally Harmer, Violi Whitmee and 25 years: Carol Reid) were present and made their debuts on the Brigadoon Festival stage as they were introduced to the audience. 

We were told to expect the unexpected – from the lively performance by Ensemble Members, to celebrating 85 Company members who achieved service milestones ranging from 10 to 40 years, to the hot dog lunch in the Green Room – it was a fun day to remember.

Our thanks to Tim Carroll (TC), Tim Jennings and the entire Company for including us and extending such a warm welcome. 

Your comments and questions are welcomed (

Introducing the Guild’s New Membership Chair

Susan joined the Guild in 2016 and has increased her involvement each year. In addition to her new duties, she is a docent, a facilitator for Continue the Conversation and a helper for The Horse and His Boy workshops.

Her background includes a career in public relations and a sideline as a pilates and yoga instructor. She hopes to use these strengths to share the passion of the Shaw Festival with others.

You can contact Susan at

Getting to Know You, Glenna Collins

When I moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake from Markham in December 2001, I knew we were coming to a home we built and a town that had been a part of our whole life and that of our family.  It had been part of our life through its history and our country’s history.  But there were things that I didn’t know.

I didn’t know how beautiful it was to live within it.

I didn’t know how interesting it was and how we would be consumed by it.

I didn’t know how culturally rich it was and how we would embrace it.

I also didn’t know how SHAW would become a focal point of our life.

It started when I was asked to become a Docent when I joined the Shaw Guild.  It seemed like an exciting venture and one that came with many opportunities to learn about the theatre.  I went to many workshops and seminars in order to learn about wigs, costumes, sets, design work, creative problem solving, innovative solutions, speaking, music, plays, writers, directors and so much more.  It was an extreme and thrilling journey but one that didn’t end there.

Relating my experiences with patrons is extra special.  It allows me to connect people with theatre and show them areas that they wouldn’t normally see.  More important, however, is the opportunity to connect students to the theatre and open a world where they can grow throughout their life.   I am still a Docent but from there…

Shaw decided to expand their Education Department in order to enhance their young and mature audiences’ experience and to become involved in the theatre in a more meaningful way.   I became a volunteer in the workshops that were (and currently are) conducted just before The Magician’s Nephew from last year and A Horse and His Boy this year.  I learned how much fun you can have with children and their parents, thereby moving forward to building an audience for the future.  I learned that just because you advertise a workshop for parents and their children to attend you will also have adults attend without children – both the young and the elderly.  What fun we all had.  The best fun was watching the workshop participants in the audience react with the actors on stage when given their cue.  They sang with the actors, made sound effects, donned their crowns at exactly the right moment and passed a precious apple at just the right time – all the while in their seats as the audience.  It was magic to watch and special for me to be an instrument to help make it happen.

I feel fortunate that I can be helpful to Shaw, but to be selfish, I feel energized by the patrons who come to the workshops with their children.  Everyone participates, everyone learns and everyone leaves with a broad smile.

For me, the joy of volunteering to do these two activities with and for Shaw and our patrons, allows me to help to ensure future audiences.  I want to preserve the wonderful aspects that brought us to this town and I feel that this is a way that I can “give back”, continue to learn and be productive.


My Volunteer Page Hints & Tips

The most common question I have been receiving from people has to do with viewing Opportunities for Greeting and Hosting. Because of the defaults built into MVP (Better Impact) some filters are checked off and this limits what is shown to you.

The way to see what you want to see is to uncheck the filters!

In the screenshot above which is the Opportunities List page, make sure that the filters are unchecked. You may want to check “Only include activities that have openings available” so you will see which ones still have space available. (Note: the Opportunities Calendar page will only show those with openings available.)

Then click the box next to Make these my default filters. Then click on the blue button Filter Activities. The page will refresh and show you everything that you want to see every time you check out Opportunities!

MVP TRAINING SESSIONS: There are sessions planned for hands-on training sessions once a month until September. For dates and details, please check the website and email Cheryl Morris at


President’s Corner

This month’s question:

Why is it important for the Guild to log volunteer hours?

You could say the time Guild Members donate to the Shaw Festival is almost “priceless”!

As a non-profit organization, the Shaw is often required to submit volunteer hours when completing grant applications.  Strong community focus and engagement are often vital considerations in successful applications and the Guild’s contributions can make a difference. 

Corporate Giving Programs may also be available to Guild Members.   Organizations like IBM, Honda and Royal Bank offer Community Grants to encourage retirees and employees to participate in their communities.  Tracking volunteer hours for individual Members is normally required for these applications.  With My Volunteer Page (MVP), it’s easier than ever to accurately track the time you donate.

The Guild benefits as well from recording volunteer hours.  Often, we don’t see the connection between the time we donate and the Shaw’s mandate.  Showing our 2018 contribution of 13,000 hours brings that impact to light.  And if we translate that time commitment into dollars it adds even more impact.   The Independent Sector Organization in the US reported that each volunteer hour in 2017 was worth $24.69.  Using that calculation, the Guild donated over $320,000 to support the Shaw Festival in 2018!

You can check your volunteer hours in MVP by simply clicking on the “Hours” tab on the Home Page and filtering by specific activity and date, or going to the “Report” tab to view a summary of your hours this year.  While we’re all still learning the features of the new tool, we’ve asked the Chairs and Conveners to record volunteer hours.  Nothing for you to do except view your hours and then take a bow for everything you do to support the Shaw.

If you would like to submit a question to be included in future Newsletters, send an email to or drop us a note at The Shaw Guild, P.O. Box 83, NOTL L0S 1J0 and mark “President’s Corner” on the envelope.


Save the Date: Summer Celebration is coming July 15!

An enjoyable gathering is in the planning stages and we will give you all the details soon. For now, just mark July 15 on your calendars!

A note from the Shaw Guild Treasurer, Joe Allevato

Interac e-transfers are a very convenient way to pay bills and many Guild members have paid their membership fees and luncheon fees with e-transfers. 

When you select a security question, consider using a question that is unique and that cannot be easily guessed.  For example, these questions, “What is my favourite season of the year?” or “Who is my favourite Beatle?” are weak questions because others can easily guess the answers. 

The fine print in bank security policies requires that customers protect their e-mail passwords and that customers use strong questions and passwords when using Interac e-transfers.  If your account is hacked, your bank may not cover lost funds if it feels that your security measures were weak.

Play safe and pay safe.


Hosting Update

Two joint Host and Greeter Kick-Off Sessions were held at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre on May 1 and May 6.  A total of 153 members attended our Kick-Off sessions this year.  Thanks to all the Volunteers and Guest Speakers who made them so engaging and successful.  

A special thanks to Mona Babin for organizing our Kick-Off Sessions again this year and for doing such an outstanding job for the Guild.

MVP: Our first two periods for Hosting are running smoothly.  It seems most of our Volunteers are successfully using MVP.   The trend so far is that we have three or four volunteers available for each open opportunity.  Thank you Hosts for your great enthusiasm in indicating your availability through the new tool.

Just a reminder that Host Opportunities assigned to you will show up on your MVP home page as Upcoming Shifts but you should also check the Schedule Tab on the top of your Home Page to see all of your assigned shifts.  If shifts do not appear in these locations, then you have not been assigned to a Host Opportunity.

Because Shaw Volunteers know everything – right?

In our Kick-Off sessions we heard some pretty entertaining stories of challenging questions Shaw Patrons have asked us at the door.  This one had many of us stumped – so we had to find out for ourselves.   The question was, “Where can I charge my electric car?”  The answer: in the public parking lot behind the Court House on the outside wall of the public washroom.  Now you know.

Have fun at the Shaw.

Greg Fedoryn, Hosting Chair


News from the Driveway!

“April Showers bring May Flowers”………


“May Showers bring June ?????”

Thank You!  Thank You!  In All Kinds of Weather, You are there!…….and your time is invaluable!

Why We Log Hours

Laurie has explained the importance of logging Volunteer Hours for Grant Applications and Corporate Giving Programs. In addition, it helps us balance out the Assignments during the Season.

How Greeting will Log Your Hours

We will post your hours at the end of each month for shifts “worked” and Greeting-specific meetings. When you go to your home page in MVP you will see the number of your Volunteer Hours contributed. Exciting to see that number rise!

So, enjoy Greeting and definitely take a bow – well done! 

And surely to goodness, we’ll see some warmth and sunshine…..sometime!


John and Marg Mather,





COMING VERY SOON: 14th Annual Garden Tour, Saturday, June 8, 2019!

Remind your friends, family and visiting guests that the Shaw Guild Garden Tour is a great way to spend the day. Wandering through seven fabulous gardens in town is a rare and exclusive opportunity given to Tour participants.

Tickets are $25 in advance and on-site at each garden.

Go to to see the tour map.






Spotlight on Volunteers

If you know a remarkable Guild member who has gone above the call of duty, please contact a Guild Chair, Convener or Hosting Captain to submit their names and a few details about their special contributions. 

All nominations will be considered by the Chairs and exceptional volunteers will be showcased in the newsletter. 

You can also send nominations by email to



Notice about Parking from the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake


Just received from the Town: “We understand that many of the valuable volunteers for the Shaw Guild do not reside in Niagara-on-the-Lake and we respectfully request that anyone coming into the Town in their own vehicle be reminded that almost all parking in the Heritage district requires payment and that parking enforcement is in place until 8pm.

This will hopefully prevent future volunteers from the frustration of being ticketed. In the future, if a ticket is issued to a Shaw Guild volunteer, they will be required to follow the Town’s parking violation dispute process.”

Volunteers can usually find free parking on Veteran’s Lane close to the swimming pool on the far side of the field behind Upper Canada Lodge.  From there, it’s a walk of a couple of blocks to the Shaw, but that’s better than a ticket.

In Memoriam: John Fryer

With sadness we report the passing of former Guild member John Stephen Fryer on Friday May 3, 2019.  We send our condolences to his wife Pat and family.

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