Monday, March 10, 2014

In praise of volunteerism

I have heard it said that if it wasn't for the volunteers who willingly and generously give up so much of their own time and resources, this country would grind to a halt.

I can well believe it.  Just here in, in a village of barely a thousand people, I'd hazard that aside from one or two organisations that have (a couple of) paid staff, most of the hard work is completed by people passionate about their sport, interest or that of their child's.  School PTA, the  coaches and referees at the Rugby Club, Playcentre, Soccer, preschool activities, tourism, community events, the group who work on restoration of the Mountain, the ones who look after the Historic Centre, Guide and Scout leaders, Golf Club trustees, Kapa Haka leaders, Plunket leaders, parent helpers for camps, St John ambulance staff, fire fighters....the list goes on. And on. And on.

How lucky we are to have these people! And how especially fortunate I feel to have directly benefited from the hard work of so many of them.  And, to be fair, to have been - and continue to be - one of the people who gladly 'mucks in'' when I can.  Despite my occasional inward groans of ''another working bee/donation box/half an hour on a stall'' I am usually pretty happy to do my bit towards helping out - after all, these are the things that make the culture of the village what it is.

There are annual awards of course, that acknowledge and honour many of the volunteers in our communities, but by far and away, the majority simply get on with their work, largely unnoticed (until they resign from their posts!), but absolutely necessary to the smooth running of their organisation and the good work they all do in our towns.  Its not everyones cup of tea, to give up a weekend or evening for the ''love of the job'', I acknowledge that.  But there are many many unsung heroes in our communities, that do give up their spare time - and  allow us to get on with enjoying that cup of tea.

And as well as personal satisfaction, the reality is that ''volunteering'' is a great addition to a CV.  As an employer, I value the work done by a potential employee in their own time.  As well as learning all kinds of valuable and transferable skills, there is the added, unwritten,  dimension that tells me that this person cares about their community.

 As we head into our seventh year of publication, The Village Voice (my baby...)remains completely reliant on the goodwill of the team of people who contribute, compile and deliver each issue, and for this I am especially grateful.

So next time you are asked to give some time, or money, to one of these groups, do so with a generous heart. And if you are the beneficiary of such kindness, take a minute to thank the person giving up their own time to make your life a little better.

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