The Difference Volunteering Makes!

by | Sep 14, 2014 | Uncategorized

I had a typical Steve day this weekend.  Went to bed Friday night knowing what I was going to accomplish on Saturday and Saturday morning.  And of course life happens again!

I went to get a snack at the concession stand at my local soccer fields and take in a hot early fall soccer match. The sound of laughing kids, yelling coaches, whistles, birds, and airplanes approaching the airport are all an interesting background symphony I have been enjoying for years.  I never minded the early morning dew, rain, chill or screaming kids, I figured that this is supposed to be the good part of life, right?  Usually as a parent, you have to volunteer for at least one shift, or coach, or do something in a recreational league.  Not everybody gets that, or cares about it and it always leaves a gaping hole in the need vs. resources department at soccer, baseball, or whatever your town’s recreational leagues are.

I went to the snack shack to find Paul, an awesome guy I had never met before, slaving away trying to do three things at once- prep cook, cook, and serve to anyone who wanted a world class breakfast sandwich for $1.50, a cup of coffee, donut, hash brown, or even his own home made fruit cup or chicken fingers which he marinates in buttermilk for two days before breading in cracker crumbs.  Unfortunately nobody showed up to help out, and it was a little busy.  I asked him if he needed help and figured that I had about 30-40 minutes before I had to leave and accomplish all I set out to do with the day.  The lines kept coming and I fell into a groove.  It felt great!  I was having fun with the customers, trying to do fast math in my head as I took money and doled out change, made more fruit cups, stocked more beverages, and kept serving waters as it was both hot and humid and creeping hotter.  I figured if Paul could volunteer, stand next to the grill on a day like that, and never complain, then I had to have fun.  All of the parents, grandparents, coaches, referees, etc. kept coming and coming and coming. I told my girlfriend that I had to stay and for her to come and pick me up later.  Which turned out to be a few hours later as the time easily flew by.

I went home and realized I only had time to do one dump run, and couldn’t do the shopping, or other things I had on my list to accomplish.  At night I always find a moment or two to think about my day and think about the next day so I usually wake up with focus.  I realized as I was taking in my day that I really hadn’t accomplished what I set out to do with my day off.  I also realized that my volunteering “Gig” ended up being the best part of my day.  I started to feel selfish about it, like I should had been working more at home and not been having so much fun at the field, but if that’s selfish I need to sign up  for more.

I have volunteered in many forms, in many places over the years- food shelters, soccer coach, baseball coach, working on the sports fields, cub scouts, robot coach, whatever I thought I could make a difference with what little time I have.  The problem is, I haven’t done enough of this in the past few years.  Work and life have gotten in the way, and although I try to do as much as possible for my family and step in here and there, I haven’t done enough.  My schedule is hard!  But check out this article on WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20130823/volunteering-may-make-people-happier-study-finds

Volunteers are not only happier, they are healthier? 

So my message to you is to try and volunteer whenever and wherever you can.  It is a healthy activity that makes a very positive difference in someone’s life including your own.  Go ahead…Volunteer….BE SELFISH!

Steve