Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Monday, May 16, 2011

To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer

Yesterday I spent about four hours standing in a windy park monitoring children using two bouncy castles.  There were a few injuries and some tears (I hate to see the tears) but everyone was able to walk away from the castles, including me, without medical attention.  Woo-hoo!

I am not mentioning this lengthy shift to make myself look good.  Oh no.  Rather, this was an example of me not asking strongly enough for volunteers and people not responding to the requests that they received.  We should have had way more people to help.

I know that I am not the only volunteer organizer who has had trouble recently getting enough people to help.  Events like fundraising casinos and baseball celebrations cannot run well without enough people sharing the load.  The question arises, should these events continue to run or not?

There are people who volunteer a lot.  Some of them do so because they can afford the time and want to help, others help even if they can't afford the time.  There are others who come to events and, while I don't know their life circumstances, don't seem to consider that they could be helping out too, just like me.  It doesn't take advanced study to stand outside a tent, repeatedly make sure it's not overloaded (no more than six at a time) and occasionally yell at kids over the generator noise and general screaming.  Volunteers are not a separate species - we are just people who are helping.  And many hands make light work - or so the saying goes, and we could use many hands.

I think people should be given a choice that events run if people help and if there are not enough people, there won't be as many events and as much fundraising.  Otherwise, the same people who volunteer at event after event will continue to do so, unless they get tired of it all, because they believe that by helping we do our part to make the world a little better.

I am not sure what I will do should my son play baseball next year and I see the volunteer sign up sheet again.  Oh, maybe I will just plan on more bouncer monitoring.  I'm pretty sure there won't be any competition for the position and I'm really good at counting to six now.  And, as the day wore on, I got a lot more assertive telling the kids what to do.  Maybe by next year, I will be able to stand up to their parents as well and demand they work for a shift or two.


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