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Back-To-School Pep Talk on Volunteering

August 14, 2014

hands on blackboard
by Becky Lunders, teamWorks

Today is the first day of school for my kids. We just moved to a new house in a new community where we know… each other! So last night at the dinner table, we talked about meeting new people and making new friends. My nine year old made a wise observation, “I can be anyone I want to be. No one knows me or what I can do. It’s very exciting!” Yes, it is.

I think back-to-school is second only to the start of a new year for reevaluating, regrouping and refocusing. It’s a chance to start fresh; to let your talents, passions and humor shine through. You migrate to people with whom you have something in common and the friendships start from there. Kids have the classroom and the playground. We have volunteer opportunities.

I think back to the first day of kindergarten for my oldest. His teacher let us know that we’d be going on lots (I mean LOTS!) of field trips and she’d need chaperones for every single one of them. While it was a big volunteer commitment, we did it… happily! You see, over the course of that school year, we got to know the kids and the parents. We bonded over outdoor hikes, agricultural fairs and painting classes. We became friends that could depend on each other and help each other out.

I’ve experienced the same thing with youth sports. My dearest friends are the people with whom I’ve worked the snack shack, weeded the baseball field and interacted with as Team Mom. I’ve found that hard work, laughter and working together for the greater good cements relationships.

Whether you lead a school, a youth sports program or a nonprofit, remember the social factor is a big reason for volunteering. Make sure you provide opportunities for your volunteers to get to know each other, to laugh together and even cry together. This is the glue that will hold your committees together when the going gets tough, and it’s the bond that creates dependable fun teams of volunteers who will move your mission forward.

So, like my kids on the first day of school, I will immerse myself in my new community. I’ll start with volunteering.

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