Sue Hyslop has a simple explanation for what’s kept her volunteering for too many years to count.
“I’ve always believed that in order to be part of a community you have to get involved,” Hyslop said. “You get more back, meet people and develop new interests. I’ve volunteered all my life wherever I was, however I could.”
Hyslop started volunteering on the Island after moving from Saskatchewan, where she worked as a nurse in neonatal intensive care. Hyslop served as president of the Shirley Community Association after moving to French Creek in 1993, and has been active with numerous volunteer initiatives since settling in Sooke in 2003.
Hyslop’s involvement for many years with the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra includes serving as president, vice-president and as a board director.
“The annual strings workshop, which runs for a week in May, was a very busy time,” noted Hyslop, currently filling the role of acting vice-president. “The gardens tour is another. We start looking at gardens for next year right after the tour in June, so it’s a year-long process. It’s good because it brings a lot of tourists and shows off the community, and we’re proud of that.”
Hyslop also volunteers handling sales at the annual Sooke Fine Arts Show, where she has met a lot of artists involved in the Stinking Fish Tour. “I don’t do any art, but really appreciate their work.”
Her son, Chris Hyslop, was quick to interject that “Mom’s an artist in the kitchen.” Her hobbies include playing bridge and being part of a book club. “I love to bake and used to do a little catering here and there,” she added.
Chris is one of six children, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren who joined with friends recently to celebrate his mother’s 80th birthday.
“My family organized the party, and I had nothing to say, other than show up and provide contact info for friends,” she said with a smile. “It was very special.”
Margaret Lintern got to know Hyslop when they worked on the Sooke Philharmonic together, as well as through their association with the garden tour.
“She’s a good friend and a great volunteer,” Lintern said. “You see Sue at so many events taking tickets or signing people up. She’s full of energy … I don’t know where she gets it from. She’s quite an amazing lady.”
“Sooke is such a lovely community,” Hyslop said. “Saskatchewan was a great place to raise a family, but I’ve always loved the ocean. I love being here. It’s home, it’s where I feel best.”