Central Okanagan Foundation Volunteer Organization of the Year Award

Award Criteria

  • Awarded to a volunteer organization that has provided outstanding community services, with direct benefits to the city of Kelowna.
  • Services may be related to the environment, health and social services; arts and culture; recreation; education; or neighbourhood/community improvements.
  • Selections are based on the organizations achievements and contributions for the year 2017.
  • Past information may be included, but should primarily be regarding the current award year.

2017 Central Okanagan Foundation, Volunteer Organization of the Year Recipient

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

It’s the mountain biker who crashed over his handlebars; the hiker who stumbled down a cliff; it’s the lost skier, lured by untracked powder or the fisherman who failed to return home. Since 1954, volunteers with Central Okanagan Search and Rescue have been there for them all.

Before being deployed on rescue or recovery missions, each volunteer must complete rigorous training and follow it up with weekly training sessions. Additional courses are needed to specialize in things like repelling, swift water rescue or becoming an Emergency Medical Responder. Volunteers must purchase their own equipment and be prepared to stop whatever their doing, day or night. at the beep of their pager.

The 45 COSAR members average 200 volunteer hours each and in 2017, clocked nearly 8000 hours. The RCMP and BC Ambulance regularly rely on COSAR volunteers to locate and transport the lost, injured or deceased out to a navigable roadway. In 2017, volunteers also assisted handing out evacuation notices to fire and flood victims and tracking down some dementia patients who had wandered away.

As more and more of us seek to lead active lives exploring the great outdoors, the more dependent and grateful we are for the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue volunteers.

Past Recipients of the Award
  • 2016 - Kelowna Gospel Mission
  • 2015 - Hands in Service
  • 2014 - United Way of the Central & South Okanagan Similkameen
  • 2013 - Freedom's Door
  • 2012 - Karis Support Society
  • 2011 - NOW Canada Society
  • 2010 - Canadian Mental Health Association
  • 2009 - Rotary Clubs of Kelowna 
  • 2008 - Kelowna Salvation Army
  • 2007 - Central Okanagan Hospice Association
  • 2006 - Rotary Club of Kelowna
  • 2005 - Central Okanagan Bursary & Scholarship Society
  • 2004 - C.O.R.N.S./Meals on Wheels
  • 2003 - Emergency Social Services
  • 2002 - Sunshine Dream for Kids
  • 2001 - Kelowna Community Resources Crisis Line
  • 2000 - Kelowna General Hospital Volunteers
  • 1999 - Kelowna Hostesses

Award sponsored by: