Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Value of Volunteering

The value of Volunteering in life is directly relational to the project to which we volunteer. Volunteering for a mandated number of hours has its value, perhaps to alleviate some penalty. This volunteering is good but it’s not out of desire to do good works, it’s from the desire to avoid penalty.

Volunteering as a responsibility to our community or out of desire just to be of service creates the most value because the motivation is positive to positive. The positive, not avoiding penalty plus the positive of the action creates a greater good.

Particular to this thought is the need for mentors, whether the mentorship within a business situation or for youth in the community. Mentors or Masters are necessary so society moves forward. If the new or young people to a trade or craft are always reinventing the wheel, we as society fail to move forward from our current status.

4H was introduced a little over a hundred years ago via the University Extension Services to help boys with growing crops and girls with canning produce. Since that time 4H has expanded into all areas of farm and animal husbandry as well as technology, science, art, crafts, public speaking, theater arts, and more.

I am privileged to mentor several girls through the learning process of quilting. This uniquely American textile art which was once part of most women’s creative outlet has waned in the last 50 years.

Recently, there has been increased interest in the art. With few mentors in the craft, I’m pleased to share the joy of creating beautiful and useful items.

It came to my attention that many volunteer projects are creating a difficulty by taking what was a paid position and making it a volunteer job or internship. I’m not taking anyone’s job by volunteering in this way. In fact, much of what was considered women’s work, aka unpaid, is just not done. The field is wide open to volunteer in what past centuries labeled as women’s work. These venues of volunteerism are still available, still necessary. They are the fabric of our society.

The fact is many of the ways in which our foremothers related with one another, supported each other and the greater society are just what we find lacking in today’s world. It could be considered nostalgic by the uncreative, but I beg to differ. The remnants of a once great textile industry are ready for resurgence but we need society to value the creation of hand-made items as well as the value the volunteers who pass on such knowledge.

4H is an excellent program for youth. It provides learning experience for young people in a many different fields of knowledge. It also provides the opportunity to share sports, crafts, gardening, animal and technological knowledge with the next generation.

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