Have you ever thought about how important volunteers are to keeping our society running? I daresay that if volunteers were removed from the work that keeps our communities humming, then our communities wouldn't run at all!
Who among us hasn't volunteered in some capacity when our children were young? Mrs. F.G. was the 'Hotdog Lady' at our son's public school, organizing hotdog lunches once a week. We both volunteered for Beavers and Brownies, and I was a Scoutmaster for several years. As our children grew and life became busier volunteering was less possible, but still our boys participated in every sport going, all of them totally dependent on volunteer coaches.
I skipped over Earth Day two days ago, but what I remember about the year leading up to the first Earth Day in 1970 was being intensely involved in raising awareness. I organized a group of students at university when there were no courses on envirnmental issues and we ran 'Charlie Brown University', teaching our own 6 week courses to anyone interested. Volunteers have been the backbone of the environmental movement ever since.
Once our careers were established Mrs. F.G. took up quilting and for years she organized monthly workshops for the guilds in Guelph and Markdale. After we retired she organized a large quilt show in Markdale. She also fit in horticultural courses and ended up forming the Guelph Master Gardeners with another friend. All totally volunteer efforts.
As I approached retirement I pro-actively sought out the local Bruce Trail Club and volunteered to help with stewardship work. This was work done mainly in the field, inspecting properties, finding corner stakes and recommending management work. I knew I'd be asked to serve on this or that committee and would far rather be outside volunteering. I loved that work.
And when I look around our community I know that all kinds of things depend on volunteers - fundraising for the hospital, delivering meals on wheels, supporting local churches, running local events. Friends of ours run a community drop-in centre, another friend volunteers at the hospital, one volunteers at the local museum. Our communities are much richer for the amazing contribution made by volunteers.
So, during National Volunteer Week pause a moment and give thanks for the volunteers who make your community a better place to live!