There are many reasons why one might choose to volunteer their time to do any number of activities. Some like to do something that looks good on their resume, others volunteer to fulfill a class requirement. Some like to teach. Some volunteer to interact with others that are like minded, and still others might volunteer to get that “feel good feeling”. However, my reason for volunteering with the FWC is not only because makes me feel good but it gives me the chance to give back to many of the lands that I love using and visiting.
Through volunteering I meet like-minded people, I am inspired by their dedication to the outdoors and natural environment, I am motivated to keep sharing the great outdoors, and most of all, I learn of more ways to inspire kids from all backgrounds, to reach higher and become what they want to be.
My most recent day volunteering was the day after Thanksgiving at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. They needed some help getting new entrance cleared of invasive plants prior to the opening of this new gate so they called out the Ridge Rangers and 6 of us signed up to work off some holiday dinner calories.
Upon arrival the task seemed daunting - Air potatoes were 20 feet up in the trees and all the ground area was just a tangled mess of grape vines, Caesar weed and other heavy cover and briers.
After a quick tour of the park and the springs we got to work. Everyone pulled their weight and in just a couple hours the area we were working in looked so very different. You could almost hear the trees giving a sigh of relief. We filled a commercial dumpster with all we pulled out of the area 2 full truck loads. We even got to see an area that was cleared the week before with orchids blooming that would never have been possible without the clearing of the invasive plants that had been taking over.
The volunteers I worked with spanned 40 years in age difference. We all were there for one purpose and with a little determination we made a big difference!
You should consider giving volunteering a try. You do not need to commit to a full day or a steady schedule. There are many organizations that could use your talents! You can volunteer in your school, at an assisted living facility, mowing lawns, filing cooking, visiting, no matter what you do there is a need for your skill. There are many places you can visit online to find opportunities. You may find that you make new friends, learn a new skill or meet a great new business contact. This is a great way to start the new year giving back!
As you can see, my reasons for becoming a volunteer is part belief, part passion. Being able to put these amazing experiences on my resume is just a little note, and doesn't justify the experiences or feelings that I have discovered while reaching out and giving back to those that give so much around me. I can only hope that I will be able to continue for years to come.