It’s Fun to Volunteer …

With community clubs on the hunt for summer volunteers, here are a few reasons to sign up

Community organizations both big and small throughout our nation are built and run on the backs of people who volunteer.

Rather than simply send money, these amazing individuals give life’s most valuable (and fleeting) commodity: time. They also often put a lot of sweat – and sometimes blood and tears – into the work.

Currently, the Huntsville Soccer Club and Bracebridge Soccer Club are looking for volunteer house league coaches/facilitators to help run their summer youth programs. Both these entities plus the joint organization, Muskoka United FC, are always looking for helping hands in a variety of commitment levels (a few hours, one event, or more).

As a volunteer coach (both house league and rep) and soccer club board member, I have spent well over two decades giving my time to the youth and adults in my community.

But, I’ve also volunteered my media skills to community events like the Paddle for Fairvern Nursing Home fundraising event, the Ontario 55-plus Winter Games, and as a board member on the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce.

In each situation and organization I learned so much about what it takes to make a strong community. In turn, I’m passing those values down to my children that giving back is a big part of life.

There are many other ways to volunteer, including helping at a local soup kitchen, signing up to help with a community event, joining a board, or even starting your own special interest club. Those wanting to help the environment can become citizen scientist with the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed.

On that note, let’s get into my Top 10 reasons to volunteer your time in your neighbourhood, community, city, province or county …

A Friends of the Muskoka Watershed volunteer spreads residential wood ash in a forest to improve calcium and other nutrient levels among maple trees.

It feels good. Whether you get thanks or not, helping others without expecting reciprocation gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling that can’t be matched.

Giving back. Whether you’re an athlete, artist, musician, or someone who has benefitted from others’ volunteerism, donating your time to coach, teach or mentor someone else is a wonderful way to pay it forward.

Better community. The best places to live are often the case due to an abundance of selfless individuals who are usually behind the scenes giving hours and hours and hours to community organizations and events.

Socializing. It’s a lot easier to meet new people or get to know someone better if you’re part of the same group or organization. Especially when it’s volunteer time because that is immediately a common ground between people.

Overall wellbeing. Aside from the social aspect, many volunteer opportunities include physically and mentally stimulating tasks and projects. These factors can contribute to your own overall healthy lifestyle.

It takes a village. Let’s face it, the most productive members of our society have been raised not just by awesome parents, but by their teachers, principals, coaches and other mentors. Volunteering your time either on the administrative/organization side of things or on the field, court, ice, etc. helps produce a brighter future.

Coach Kate Kerr (back far left) and Coach Chris (the writer) with their U10 team in 2021.

Career advancement. Almost every employer/hiring manager wants to see some volunteer work on your resume/CV. It shows strength of character and can provide personal growth.

Life skills. Volunteering can help build character and teach you a thing or two about life (take it from this guy – I’m still learning everyday). Whether it’s better time management, new ways to communicate, or even learning patience, volunteers can glean a ton of new skills to improve their personal and work lives.

Build confidence. Helping others and giving back is a way to boost your own confidence and self-worth. This can help those who may need a bit of an emotional boost from time to time. I know I can get down on myself sometimes, but then I go coach my team and their positive energy gets me back into a great mood.

Just because you can. If you’re not too busy with important tasks like parenting or your career – playing games on your phone is not considered important – then get your butt moving and sign up to volunteer at a community organization near you!

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