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The Two Sides of Volunteerism

I am told that the bigger the city you live in the more likely you don’t see the exact scenario below and less likely you see these type gestures at all.  For full disclosure, our town of Buffalo Lake is 700 people strong, except for the past weekend where we swell to 3,000.

In years past, I could make you a schedule of events for a weekend celebration that would consist of five different jobs and close to 18+ hours of community service or volunteerism.  As a small town and most of its members being less engaged as they should be, we get spread pretty thin in order to make our commitments to a wide list of activities:  Bingo, kid tractor pulls, lunches, multiple street dances, various activities in the city park, kiddie parade, city parade, tractor pulls, bean bag games, 5k run, softball, volleyball, etc.

A volunteer is defined as someone who does something without being paid for the service, but in order to understand the person that I wish to call out, you need to understand what a good volunteer is.  And because I don’t know what the definition is, let’s call it the DESIRE to do something where all the BENEFIT is given to someone/something else and YOU are PROUD to be part of the whole.

An associate just forwarded me a blog posting in which it says:  Go first.  Before someone asks, before someone needs, before help is needed.  Offer.  Volunteer.  Imagine the other person’s needs, an exercise in empathy that just might become a habit.

This particular year, I got to watch this celebration and I saw two different things, one of which is more troubling.  First, I found that each of the clubs where very short of help which is very sad.  The troubling part is there are too many not doing anything.  In some cases, it is usually those without an excuse and that do not serve that are the quickest to squeak about something that isn’t quite right.  Second of all, I found that those who did serve appeared to be tired and wished they could find their way out.  This entitlement trend to our society is destroying the things that make our communities great.  Everyone wants something but wants to be no part of making it happen and then they have the gumption to have no interest in helping but are the first to tell you it is wrong.

Am I the only one that sees this?  It is terrible.

These people put their pants on the same as everyone else and we are trying to tell them how to do it, but they lack the backbone to get involved and fix it themselves.

On the other side of the coin, I tip my hat to the very special volunteers that put in loads of work to better our community.  In the past, I didn’t quite see the whole picture until I was in a position to watch… these special volunteers are nothing short of a blessing.  It is these special people, who have the desire to do something where the benefit is not gained by the actor and they are PROUD TO BE PART OF IT.

To those who aren’t special volunteers, I think Gatorade sums it up best: is it in you?

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