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Volunteerism: What’s in it for me?

(By Tere Mayne, Past President, Texas Ski Council,
From the TSC Newsletter)

In the words of Jim Gibbons, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, “ I will bet you get back more than you feel you ever gave. Volunteerism is as much for the volunteer as it is for the recipient of the volunteer service.”

As you know, Councils and Clubs could not exist without the work done by volunteers. By getting involved, volunteers can experience measurable health and social benefits as well as provide a greater sense of self-worth, trust, and lots of fun. This type of fulfillment and reward is not often taken into consideration when thinking about volunteering.

One benefit of volunteering is that it will connect you to other people. Volunteering allows you to connect to your club and make it better for you and for others. Dedicating our time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills. One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, because you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have a momentum, it’s easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.

Another advantage to volunteering is it provides many benefits to both mental and physical health; it’s good for your mind and body:

Getting involved in your Ski Club or Council can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Your role can give you a sense of pride in the work you accomplish. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.

Volunteering for the Club or Council is good for your health at any age, but especially as we age. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lesson symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.

Ever thought about advancing your career?  Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management and organization. You might feel more comfortable stretching your wings at work once you’ve honed these skills in a volunteer position first.

Just because volunteer work is unpaid does not mean the skills you learn are basic. Volunteering can also help you build upon skills you already have and use them to benefit your Club or Council.

In my opinion, I feel the best reason of all to get involved within your Club or Council is because it’s fun! Yes, there is work that goes along with that fun, but I wouldn’t trade my time I have spent working on the Council Board for any amount of money. I personally have learned new skills, made friends all over the state, traveled the world checking out ski resorts and other destinations and had so much fun doing it all that I’m surprised someone didn’t make me pay for it. Oh, I guess I did pay for it with my time, but I got so much more back than what I put in — and so will you.

So the next time someone asks you to serve on the Board of your Club or Council, say yes! I know it can be hard to find the time with our busy lives, but the benefits of volunteering are enormous for both you and those you serve. I guarantee you will get more out of the job than you ever put into it and have fun at the same time. Try it; you’re going to like it.

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