This month’s volunteer spotlight shines on Folkmoot’s board president, Bill Cole who is responsible for general oversight of the Folkmoot organization!
Bill resides in Waynesville with his wife, Jane of nearly 50 years. Bill and Jane are actively involved with all aspects of Folkmoot and with several other community organizations in Haywood County. Bill enjoys the outdoors, is a hiker and is musically and artistically inclined as both a mandolin player and a painter. Bill first heard about Folkmoot through a fellow bandmate and former Board Member, David Stallings, who asked him to get involved. Bill began working on the facility committee and was quickly recruited to join Folkmoot’s board of directors. For almost five years, Bill has been to every Folkmoot event and over the last three years, that’s an event or two a month, plus the dozens of events associated with the festival! Bill has been invaluable as the chair of the building committee taking on major rehabilitation of the Friendship Center; he’s been very active in working with the staff to build year-round programming efforts and for two years, Bill has served as the chair of the board of directors.
As the Executive Director, you want a president to be as invested in the organization as your staff. There’s so much to do and as a nonprofit, key volunteers become the glue that help make ends meet. Bill does a little bit of everything and with the transition we’ve been working through over the last four years, he’s put in a ton of energy into Folkmoot. He deserves a lot of thanks for investing so much of himself.
If you have driven by our facility on Saturday morning, you will find Bill working with our Saturday Volunteer Crew helping to maintain our two buildings. Bill said, “I wanted to stay involved because of the challenge of the building restoration project.” It is no secret that our facility used to be the old Hazelwood School. And since Folkmoot took ownership of the property that equal more than 40,000 sq. ft., there have been many challenges along the way. We have made some great progress in restoring these buildings for the functionality of our organization. When asked what he appreciates most about his work on the board of directors, Bill replied, “Having the satisfaction of helping cultures come together.”
When it comes to the festival, Bill has a favorite event, “The Friends of Folkmoot Gala is by far my favorite. You get to see old friends and it’s the kickoff of the festival.” There have been many groups throughout the years that Bill has gotten to know, “Last year’s group from India, their energy and friendliness was very welcoming and heartwarming. It is impressive to me how hard the groups work to travel and to perform at Folkmoot. I’m impressed that some groups raise the money to make the trip to Western North Carolina.” Most do not know, but the groups travel on their own dime, fundraising in their communities, while others receive help from their local governments and universities on missions as cultural ambassadors.
There are so many ways to get involved as a volunteer with Folkmoot, and Bill would like to personally invite you to get more involved. For those that have never experienced Folkmoot from the inside, “Folk dancing is surprisingly entertaining and uplifting” Bill stated.
Folkmoot is many things to many people and we are grateful to the volunteers who find purpose and meaning in volunteering with us. The entire staff appreciates Bill Cole for his time and commitment to the organization. He makes the community a better place with this work.
For more information about volunteer opportunities, contact Catherine MacCallum, Operations & Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-452-2997, x105.