At school I was always told that if I couldn’t get a job I should look at filling my time with volunteering because it looks good on your CV. This was great advice although at the time it left me thinking “Erm, why do you think I won’t get a job?”
Ignoring those negative thoughts I took on board the idea of volunteering and since then have had some amazing experiences through it.
One event I never saw myself attending was the “Bulldog Bash” This is biker event started by the Hells Angels in 1987 and taking place at the disused airfield that used to be RAF Long Marston. Approximately 50’000 people would turn up during the August bank holiday weekend and all sorts of activities would take place. My role there was to cover the first aid post for the Red Cross. Many people have a very wrong impression of the Hells Angels and other bikers, often thanks to their image and portrayal in the media but they have to be one of the nicest group of people I’ve ever met. They knew why we were there and they appreciated our attendance and respected us as we walked around the venue.
Today I was at a very different type of event. Today I gave up three hours of my time to help out Maree Athletics Club with their 8km Road Race. Again, the people were lovely and the participants appreciated all the volunteers being there to help this event go ahead.
Volunteering isn’t something that people should do because they want to be seen to be doing something in community, volunteering is doing it because you want to and because you can. It certainly is not something to done just because you want a bit of recognition! A thank you goes a long way and I can’t think of many groups I’ve volunteered for where I haven’t had a least a thank you but that’s not why I’m there. I’m there because I can be, because I have the time, and because it helps a community. Communities come in all shapes and sizes. From a village to a group of people with similar interests.
People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.
No matter what the role, no matter what the place, no matter what your motivation, volunteering helps someone somewhere, and more importantly it helps you! I get a lot of personal enjoyment from volunteering and knowing I’ve done something positive. It makes me smile inwardly and outwardly and that can only be a good thing.
- Give something back to your community or society
- Gain valuable training and experience which may lead to paid employment
- Make use of special interests and talents
- Learn new skills and/or develop new interests
- Meet new people with similar interests
- Find out more about an area of work you are considering as a career
- Have a chance to take some responsibility and make decisions
- Be an active citizen
- Make a difference