What will happen when there are no volunteers left? Will we expect the governments, on municipal, provincial and federal levels, to offer the same services or provide the monies needed to support our cultural and sporting or medical programs? Can you image how much are taxes would be if that happened?
Today we have two types of volunteers; those who actually do the work and those who don’t.
Every service club, church group, club leader, sports team, theatre group, hospital volunteer, knows what I am talking about. The group may have 30 people in it, but there are probably less than 10 who do all the organizing and work. The rest like to sit on the board to give ideas or instruction, or like to show up the day of the event and look busy, but amazingly do virtually nothing.
Too often the hard-working volunteers are the seniors, who are getting too old and exhausted to carry the load much longer. When they are gone so too is the group. Don’t believe me? I was recently in touch with the majority of service clubs in town and was told they could not assist as they had so few people in the group they could just handle their mandated responsibilities and could not add anything extra. It scared me. It should scare you.
I was amazed by a young man recently, who on his own, volunteered to assist me in a project, with enthusiasm. It was so fantastic to have a healthy young person help us work. What was more amazing was that he would see something that needed doing and he did it without being told.
Also recently, I was with a friend who has volunteers helping her with wildlife rehabilitation. They wanted to come, said they were willing to do all the chores, even the icky clean out the cages. Sounds good, but they could not be left alone to do the work for two reasons. First, most of the time they did nothing but text on their cell phones (unless they were constantly nagged), and secondly, what they did do was so shoddy it had to be re-done. I should mention one of these ‘kids’ was done high school and training to be a veterinarian technician. I can’t imagine how long she will last at a real job.
Do we call the kids lazy? Do we blame them? No, for the majority of kids today do little to no chores in a home. They may go to work for money, but when that incentive is removed, they can’t be bothered, and they are not afraid to show you that attitude. They perfected it at home with parents who did not force them to do anything in the house, as it wasn’t worth the hassle. What will happen when these kids hit the work force? Are they going to understand why they get fired from a job, that they think they have done well, but it doesn’t even come close to being good? No. They will be devastated.
Schools can’t fail a child any more. So it doesn’t matter what quality of work they do, they will pass. But they will fail in the real world. They should fail in the younger years so they learn how to handle, especially emotionally, that they have failed and not met standards that are in the work force.
Now their parents, those in their 30s and 40s; how many of them are volunteering? I certainly don’t see many of them around or should I say enough of them. Parents set the example for their children and if the parents never volunteer, their kids won’t ever understand the concept.
I have been told many times, by many people over the years, that there is no way they would do the amount of work I do, without being paid. Interestingly that attitude usually comes from people who have or should retire. They don’t know what to do with themselves, so they go back to the workplace and get part-time or fill in work. One, they should be letting younger people have those jobs and two, they should be volunteers. But if they don’t get paid, they won’t do the work.
They don’t seem to realize there is a much better reward when you actively volunteer than being paid. It is something that starts in the mind and heads for the heart and soul, and has to be felt to understand. It is not knowing you have done something wonderful – you can do that writing cheque. It is the accomplishment of doing something you enjoy, perhaps sharing a part of you, that has brought a smile to a face of an old man or a young child. That is worth more than gold.