Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to start?

My brain hurts.   I've been to 5 meetings in 7 days.  Another one tonight, two next week and maybe another one to be scheduled.  The tower of laundry might collapse, not sure what Muff looks like anymore but thank GOD for the Tall Kid and meal planning.

That might cover it all for now but honestly, that’s the end result of being a volunteer in this day and age.

Volunteer you say....

From Wikipedia:

It is considered to be serving the society through one's own interests, personal skills or learning, which in return produces a feeling of self-worth and respect, instead of money. Volunteering is also famous for skill development, socialization and fun.

I volunteer with a couple different organizations. I limit myself as I can only stretch my time in so many different directions plus I can’t add 4 hours to the day. I am on the BOD of the local kennel club, treasurer and show chair for the annual 4 day cluster show. Over the years I’ve also volunteered for two national youth organizations-FFA and 4-H. Most of my last 11 years has been in 4-H and specifically with the dog and horse projects and now adding the poultry.

Why do I volunteer? Because I feel I have something to offer to those I work with in these organization. Do I do it for the money—NO! There is no monetary reward for my hours, gas, skills, etc. But it is a sense of giving to those that need it as well as being on the receiving end of what those people produce. They grow, they gain skills, they have fun, and they in turn, pass on their new skills to other.

I volunteer for the youth and I love volunteering because of the community of volunteers that I work with. I need to say this out in the public arena—you guys are awesome. I’ve done things I never in my life thought I would do—follow a judge around taking notes, sexing a duck and helping out with training on a future seeing eye dog. I’m learning how to help my children become the best they can be. And I love seeing those I have helped bring their knowledge back for the next generation.

What I think is frying my brain the most right now is that where I have been putting the most of my volunteer time, is being told “we” don’t work, “we” are broken and “our” dynamics have changed and so must “we”. The “we and our” statements are used by those that want change but don’t feel the need to be accountable to themselves first.

In order to facilitate change, any change, the most important part is to understand the current process or system, have all the facts, know who you are dealing with and in a volunteer organization, most importantly, have them help you in the growth and change process.

At issue for me, or the biggest part of it right from the beginning is that those most affected by the “restructuring”—the youth and the volunteers, were not made aware of the process. I totally get that sometimes you need to develop an outline to start with and that might require only using a few people, but when the original timeline is set out before you, that rolls this process along at a startling pace and has no line item showing where those affected will be involved, well, you get my exhausted brain!

Before change can be made, those proposing it need to know the who, what and why. The who is not known other than names on a paper. The what is a system that has been used for decades now and for some reason now is broke? The why-many of us figured that out right away-change is needed. BUT……would it not be better to allow for change within the current structure and allow those that are vested in this with their hearts and soul, help with the change and offer their skills to make that change for the better??

Get to know me first. Understand how my activities work, how my skills are used and what the youth glean from what I am able to provide them. Then talk to me about how to improve and make this better for everyone.

Don’t attempt to get rid of me so that your agenda can move forward. In that way you alienate your biggest supporters-the volunteers.

I’m sorry, but in the words of the immortal Franklin Roosevelt “We have only begun to fight”! We will fight for the future of our youth and more so, I will fight for my right to volunteer where I am needed, not where I am put. I will fight for my way of life. You think that you don’t need Ag, think again. What you eat, what you drive with and what you cloth your body with, even the computer you type on, are all dependent on what I have to offer you.

My favorite t-shirt is one that I got at an FFA convention. It says on the front “Naked and Hungry” On the back, it says “Where would we be without Agriculture?”

Just sayin'…..

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