The volunteering challenge

Editorial

Tuesday, April 25 2017

‘They’ outta do something about that.

So ‘they’ should. 

If only there were more of them.

National Volunteer Week is April 23-29 this year.

It’s fairly well recognized that without all the volunteer hours given by islanders, Gabriola would not be the island we call home. Building and keeping public buildings open like the Gabriola Island Community Hall, Rollo Centre, Agi Hall, and Gabriola Health Care Centre (to name but a few).

The Gabriola Lions Club. Nuff said.

The people (like PHC) who ensure social service gaps left by a mismanaged provincial government are filled with local solutions.

Those who work with the Parents Advisory Committee and Gabriola Recreation Society and other organizations (Scouts, Guides, 4H, et cetera) to ensure the next generation has the tools needed to make the world a better place.

Of course all the emergency responders and organizations.

Here’s the rub. As happens with many small communities, those who have been volunteering for a long time need to have someone to pass the baton (or gavel in some cases) to.

20yo to 50yo residents. Gabriola wants you to provide.

The arguments against volunteering are always there. 

The usual one is that one doesn’t have the time.

We’re always ‘too busy.’ We live in a world of busy-ness. 

We’ll always find something to fill the days and nights with. 

The key to volunteering, and doing it successfully, is finding something that we can enjoy as much as, or more than, those other things we do.

Volunteering brings rewards. Among them the networking. Typically, when one volunteers, one ends up working with people that are outside the normal circle of communications.

This kind of person to person contact can be good in widening our perspective of the community - but even better - it can be the kind of networking which helps our businesses.

Volunteering connects dots that are way outside of the usual communication channels.

And as others know, we never know the impact we make when we volunteer - but for those we help, the impact can be life-changing.

Here’s a challenge for this coming year. 

For those who are not volunteering, pick something that might take an hour a month. A whole hour. That’s just over one Netflix episode.

Then work up from there. Chance are, if someone joins a board for an hour a month, they’ll work their way into an executive position and committees. But don’t be scared, stick with it. 

Take on things that are joyful, even if laborious. Look at every experience as we tell our children to - as a chance to learn. 

Know when to stop though.  It is possible to take on too much, to say yes too often.

So to those who have said yes for so long: thank you.

To those who have said yes for the first time, just this year or even day: thank you.

You are ensuring that despite all the roadblocks and pressures of the world, Gabriola continues to be the amazing community it is.