Give Happy, Live Happy… it’s Volunteer Week

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So, it’s National Volunteer Week and I have been asked to share my two cents about volunteering. Being an obsessed and at times an over-committed volunteer this requests sits well with me. Yeah, that’s fine… I’ll write a blog in my sleep.

But I am inspired and for a million and one reasons! It’s National Volunteer Week! It can’t get any better than this, right?

Well it can. But before I share how it can get better – than right now – I must take a trip down memory lane to share my volunteer experiences.

My parents have always been giving people so it’s in my DNA to be give back too. I am finding it hard to remember the very first time I volunteered, but I imagine it would have been doing fundraising drives at school or church. This soon evolved to run refugee kids clubs at Zonta get togethers when I was a teenager. I had actually forgotten about this until a Zonta member recently reminded me on how she met me… as that was so long ago. Then while cruising through high school we all did the Salvo’s Red Shield Appeal and the 40hr famine – yay for Barley Sugars!

Then boom. There I was standing on a bare sand dune helping a small group, well two other people aged 60+ caring for the dunes at Federation Walk Coastal Reserve on the Gold Coast. I was in my first year of university studying environmental science and was shocked to find out that there was only three people (including me) caring for 93ha of coastal dunes – that day (there is an ongoing group but still). I remember thinking to myself, geez, if no body else volunteers out here we’ll be here forever.

And so, that was my pivotal volunteer moment. I shared my inspiring possibility of encouraging other students to come along and help the oldies do their thing, which in fact turned into my first volunteer project – as I somehow became the coordinator (and didn’t even know it).

Fast forward almost a decade and today I still volunteer. Thinking on top of my head I reckon I volunteer in part or full capacity for 8 organisations… and sit on about 6 Boards / Committees. And in between currently driving four new initiatives – can’t wait to share the new and shiny Gold Coast Intrepid Landcare initiative with you, next week!

I do work in between to cash up my bank account for a while and to pay my bills, but volunteering is more important and it has in many cases opened employment and now consultancy opportunities.

The best part about volunteering is being able to be creative, imagine endless possibilities and have passion and purpose for a cause that is close to your heart. Without getting to soapy, volunteering has connected me to a world filled with amazing people, inspiration and dreams.

So, can it really get better than this, right now? It can and it starts with you …. find a local cause that sits well with your values and volunteer as you never know where it might lead you. And if you already volunteer pick up another volunteer opportunity and go crazy!

If you are looking for an eco-volunteer adventure I’ll give Landcare Australia a plug since I’ve somehow become a Young National Ambassador for Landcare!