Currently I have a volunteer job as an information officer at the visitor centre in Wynyard. I go there once a week and my main job is to greet visitors and give them information about local attractions, give directions and answer any other questions they may have. I really enjoy the job and it has been a great way to learn more about northwest Tasmania myself.
However, over the years I’ve been involved in many other community organisations. I’ve written many times about the Op Shop in Geeveston where I used to volunteer. I did that for three years and I really enjoyed it. The local people were in and out every day and many were regulars so I felt very much part of the community working there. Before that I did a short stint volunteering at a local church. It was not my church, I’m not religious but I knew the pastor who was there at the time and I enjoyed the work. As I mentioned in my previous post it was really that job that set me on the road to blogging.
Another volunteer job I had for a couple of years was at the local community radio station in Geeveston. I did all sorts of stuff there. My main job was receptionist. I answered the phone, checked the emails, kept the community notices that the presenters read up to date, cleaned, ran errands and generally helped out. I met lots of interesting people there and made some good friends. It was a lot of fun, until it wasn’t. There was a personality clash and I and several others decided to leave.
All of those jobs were partly to satisfy a mutual obligation. If you are receiving social security benefits and you are over 55 you can do that by volunteering at a registered non profit organisation a certain number of hours a week. Despite that I loved all of those jobs.
When David and I lived in South Australia and were both working full time we still tried to participate in our local community by becoming involved in Neighbourhood Watch and the Progress Association in our suburb. We did that because we wanted to. We both felt that it was important to be involved in local affairs.
I think that as a volunteer you get back as much as you give, that’s certainly been the case for me anyway. I’ve met interesting people, learned new skills and done things that I’d never have done otherwise. I get concerned these days that younger people don’t seem to volunteer or take an interest in their community as much. When I go to meetings or to events like car shows, doll shows etc all the volunteers seem to be elderly. Yes, we have more time, everyone is busy. I get that but who is going to do it when we get too old I wonder? A lot of events and organisations may just die because there is nobody to run them. That would be very sad.
Garry and I started out trying to get involved — except they kept trying to make us take charge, which we did NOT want to do — and contribute money — which we didn’t have. They made Garry head of Rotary. Ridiculous. That’s a position for a person with money! We just wanted to be involved, not try to run anything. The wanted to make Garry treasurer. Treasurer? Of the town? Garry doesn’t even know how to use the on-line banking app. I think — hope — that this town is finally trying to get out of its own way. It just needs real leadership, not from retired people but from people who have the strength to do the job. We’ve got a special election this month and a town meeting tonight. We’ll vote, but I’m not ready for the town meeting. All they ever do is yell at each other.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The town meeting format is interesting. I like it in some ways but I can see how it could be hijacked by influential individuals or groups. David was treasurer of numerous community organisations over the years but he had a head for figures and loved doing it. I was always happy just being a foot soldier. Happy to do the dishes or sell tickets or whatever. I don’t think that people who volunteer should feel pressured or that it is a chore. Once you start to feel that way it is time to go.
I think the problem was too FEW volunteers. The people who had been doing it were desperate for others to take over — but we were not those people. Many of these folks had never traveled as far as Boston (70 miles by road) and few had never gotten as far as Worcester (25 miles by road). Many had never met a person of color much less one they’d seen on TV — and most of them had never met a Jew. It was a trifle uncomfortable.
There’s a movie starring Chevy Chase called “Funny Farm.” It reminds me of home.
LikeLiked by 1 person
There are always too few volunteers I think but I think you and Garry would have been fish out of water in that situation.
Kind of what we thought, too.