Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Volunteering? What?

Recently, I was asked to be a judge at a 4-H Show, and a Mistress of Ceremonies at 2 different 4-H shows. I was pleased to be asked about this opportunity. 4-H is a great program, and I would have been happy to help. Unfortunately, I had to work two of the three events. However, I did drive over an hour to go and MC the Lamont District Show and Sale.

When people asked me what I was doing with my day off work, I was excited to say, " I get to MC a 4-H show back at home." Many people asked, "How much they pay you for that?" I was stunned, and replied, "Nothing, 4-H is a volunteer youth organization, I am volunteering my time."

This got me thinking, how many people really only do something for others if they see a direct benefit for themselves? Let's evaluate this, what would happen if no one volunteered;

The local fair that you and your family attend every year is organized and run by a huge number of volunteers. Sure, there are sponsors, but that pays for the prize money in the rodeo, or to allow the public in for free. If no one volunteered to run it, there simply would be no events to attend.

Most schools have a Parent Advisory Council. This council does not strictly organize events for the school, they also over see how the school is spending the money. They also do fundraisers, such as working Casino nights, to help raise money for technology for the school. Are the parents gaining anything from the school getting new technology? No, not really, but their children are.

In the public school system, teachers do not get paid to stay late after school to coach the volleyball team. They do not get paid to spend their weekends 3 hours away from their family to attend a basketball tournament. Sure, they have their expenses paid for, but not their time. Are they directly gaining anything from the students gaining athletic ability? No, not really.

Volunteering for other people's benefit is the best gift you can give anyone. Next time you hear of any local club looking for helpers for their event, or the parent council is looking for people to attend meetings for input, try it out for a few months. The greatest reward is seeing the smiling faces on people who enjoyed what you spent so much time working to plan.

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