Mennonite Heritage Village

The Value of Volunteering – Interview with Leon

by Gary Dyck

We at the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) are so happy to be safely open to the pubic again!

Now is a good time to introduce you to some of our volunteers, their unique perspective on life at MHV and how volunteering benefits us all. Being such a strong community-based museum that attracts visitors from all over the world I can truly say that it would never have happened without 50 plus years of active volunteers. It took volunteers to build The Village and it takes volunteers to maintain and operate it. From zooming across our lawns on the rider mower that Keystone Agri-motive donates year after year to greeting our guests at reception our volunteers do so much.

This week I’ve interviewed one of our younger volunteers who moved to Steinbach with his parents a few years ago from Germany. He eagerly anticipated our reopening this month so he could help feed our barn animals again. His enthusiasm is contagious and he even gets his family help out sometimes too.

Hello Leon, what was your first real connection to MHV?

During my first year in Canada, I attended an MHV Immigration Celebration that they had every year. I fell in love with the place, the windmill, the animal barn. I went to the barn to see the animals, I saw John and I asked if I could help with anything and he told me I could. I helped people get in the wagon, I closed the door after them. In the end, I helped him take the horse gear off and went home.

Was this where you first became interested in Mennonites or history?

In Germany (where I’m from) we also had a museum like MHV. I was interested in the history and the old buildings, but never studied it, but I wanted to learn more about MHV’s history and Mennonites.

What made volunteering at MHV a good fit for you?

I think it’s a good fit because I am interested in the history of the Mennonites and the old buildings. I also love animals. I like to work with the older staff and learn from them.

What’s one of your favourite memories volunteering?

Just coming there in the morning after it rained and walking through the Main street, It was just the most beautiful thing ever. Also walking to the barn and seeing the cute faces of the hungry animals calling for me to feed them.

What would you tell others who are considering volunteering?

MHV is just so welcoming and beautiful, and it’s such an honor to work with the staff and the other volunteers that are super amazing and kind. It’s just great to be a part of it, and just a side note the food at the restaurant is 50% free for volunteers on the day they volunteer!

Thanks Leon! Now that you said that I think we will get many requests to volunteer at MHV.