City Mayor Makes a Difference at World Championships

If there is one common theme in France Bisson’s life, it is her commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. Since 2013, France has served as the Mayor of Saint-Sébastien, Quebec, where she has worked diligently to build a better world for her community.  

Outside of city limits, France also invests her time in giving back to the sport of figure skating. As a long-time volunteer with Skate Canada and Patinage Québec, France recently held the position of Director of Volunteer Recruitment for the 2024 ISU World Figure Skating Championships (Worlds). 

Keep reading to learn more about France and her role at Worlds, which included overseeing the more than 400 volunteers who helped bring the event to life. 

What were you were responsible for as Director of Volunteer Recruitment?  

I ensured that all volunteer teams had the right number of volunteers, and the right candidate for the job required. We had many requests from volunteers, and the main objective was to place the volunteers in a team so that their experience was positive and so that the service provided would be above the requirements we had defined. 

How is your position as Mayor of Saint-Sébastien related to your volunteer work?  

The position of Director of Volunteer Recruitment and the position of Mayor have many similarities, the most important of which is to work to build a better world. In a role supporting volunteers like mine is with Skate Canada, it is important to put a lot of effort into welcoming the athletes, the teams, and visitors to create a memorable experience. Selling this idea to all the members of the Local Organizing Committee is really a challenge that I prioritize in my involvement. 

What do you like about volunteering for Skate Canada?  

I want to stay present in a sport that I’m passionate about. It’s the most beautiful sport in the world. Being a volunteer allows you to get to know people who often become friends afterwards. Over the past 20 years, I have seen volunteers grow up, and at each event, I admire the adults they’ve become and the generosity they demonstrate. 

What do you like about volunteering in general?  

I like making a difference in people’s lives and working in kindness to have beautiful relationships with people. 

Why do you think volunteering is important for young people?  

It allows you to gain experience and confidence. The involvement allows you to meet volunteers of all ages and to develop friendships. 

How many events have you participated in with Skate Canada?  

I actually don’t know. I have been a Team Leader for many Skate Canada national competitions for over 20 years with Patinage Québec. For event organizing committees, my first experience was in 2011 at the Grand Prix Final in Quebec City. Since then, I’ve held the position of Director of Volunteer Recruitment for each Skate Canada Challenge, Autumn Classic, and Skate Canada International event held in Quebec.  

Tell us about a favorite memory from an event you attended. 

At all the events I participate in, there are always magical moments. I love to have fun, laugh, and learn. In all events, these moments happen. I like to say that memories of happiness are still happiness. 

The most recent memory is when the first warm-up started at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal. We were a bunch of volunteers in the volunteers’ lounge. We looked at the television and saw the beginning of the event, looked at each other and just started cheering because it was finally happening – eight years of work later. The emotion was overwhelming. 

I’d like to share another memory too – it marked my ‘career’ as a volunteer with Patinage Québec. It was on a trip to the Canadian Championships in 2015. We were Team Leaders for a group of 50 people from Montreal to Halifax. The practices started the next day. Unfortunately, our flight got cancelled as well as another group of 50 people later that day. With all the qualities and creativity of the Team Leaders and volunteers of Patinage Québec, we found a charter flight, buses, hotel rooms, comforted the skaters and parents, and all our skaters arrived in time for the practices. When we landed in Halifax, I thought it was a miracle and I still think it was. 

Skate Canada is grateful to France for her years of dedication to the sport and to the thousands of like-minded volunteers across the country who not only help make our work possible, but who help uplift skaters of all ages so that they can realize their dreams.  

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with Skate Canada, please click here. 

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