I have been thinking a lot about volunteering lately. Last week’s Deerfield Valley News had an article about how Farmers’ Day is hoping to get greater participation. The Wilmington Selectboard had a discussion recently about new ways to get the word out about town committees and boards that have vacancies. So volunteerism is on other people’s minds too.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where volunteering was encouraged ... well, actually, expected. I say “lucky” because that’s how I see it. By volunteering I have met wonderful people, stretched my mind and abilities, and helped people and organizations I value. Sure, it can be frustrating or exhausting but, looking back, I have gained much more than I put in.
There are so many opportunities to give some time and the need is great. People’s lives are busy but virtually everyone can (and I believe, should) make some time for giving. Even a couple hours every once in awhile can be a great service. If you have a young family get them involved too. We need to show young people that they don’t need to get a free T-shirt to be rewarded. Years ago a 10-year-old worked with me for hours getting ready for Farmers’ Day. I pointed out to her that she had played an important part in giving hundreds of people a great time. Her exhaustion disappeared and she grinned with happiness.
Some seem to love to stand on the sidelines and take potshots at those who are giving their time. Over the years I’ve noticed that those who seem to criticize the most are the least likely to give their own time. But taking pot-shots very rarely gets things done or creates change or makes our community a better place.
Please take a little time and think about the places you’d like to help or the skills you might have that could be invaluable to a board or committee. Don’t wait to be asked. Call people and ask some questions - where could you fit in? I guarantee that when you find the right opportunity you will be welcomed and you, too, will find that you will make a difference for others and for yourself.
We all need you, please step up.
PS - The Wilmington Development Review Board has three vacancies for alternates. Interested? Give me a call.