Summer is under way and there is a whole new set of activities awaiting us. There are summer sports, 4-H meetings, summer camp, jackpot shows, Bible school, holiday parades and activities, county fairs, etc.
Most of these activities would not be possible if it wasn't for the unsung hero...
The all-important volunteer.
The person who gives up their time, their vacation days, and many times, money from their own pocket, just so we can show up and have fun.
Believe it or not, these shows and activities just don't materialize the day of the event. There are days, weeks and months of planning and preparation.
Each activity has so many little details that most of us don't even begin to think about. It is these little details that when handled well, go completely unnoticed, but with a little glitch can become a major issue.
Think about the scheduling, bathroom cleaning, ordering of awards, food, programs, announcers, ring help, security, parking, referees and many other details. These details don't just happen. They take planning and organizing by someone.
We have probably all been guilty of showing up to an event or activity and finding something to complain about. Something that we think should have been done differently or being discontent about something that has gone wrong.
Before you open your mouth, stop and think for a moment.
Could I do better? Maybe, but am I the one out there volunteering my time?
Before you complain, remember there is usually more to the story. I remember showing up to one cattle show and being surprised and a little perturbed that the stalling wasn't ready and the show ring wasn't available for practice. For this show, it was all very unusual. That weekend, the president of their cattlemen's association had been killed in a car accident. Just knowing the rest of the story completely changed our attitudes. Instead of wanting to complain, we just wanted to help them.
For every person that likes the way something is done, there is probably someone else who doesn't like it. You can never please everyone, so if you are the one that isn't happy with a situation, remember that maybe there is someone else that is happy. Also, remember that sometimes bad things just happen. Volunteers and organizers can't control everything, so sometimes we just have to change our own attitude and try to make the best out of a bad situation.
Sometimes decisions are made based on finances. Not everyone has the funds to have the nicest facilities, awards or payouts. Most organizations are stretched thin and are always trying to do more with less. Did you bid on an item at the silent auction? Have you sponsored an award? Do you know an organization that would love to support your cause financially and be a sponsor?
I am going to go out on a limb and assume that volunteers don't wake up in the morning trying to make as many people mad as possible. But, add a little bit of summer heat to already tepid attitudes and someone usually ends up growly.
When you can't control the things you can't control, the only thing you can control is your attitude.
Is your attitude part of the problem?
A smile, a helping hand and a thank you goes a long way.
Think of a solution. Don't just be a part of the problem...be a part of the solution.
Volunteer to help the volunteer. Help them pick out their stall or water their animals while they are off fulfilling their volunteer duties. Help the coach load all the gear into the trunk of his car. Make sure they have taken a lunch break and hand them a cold bottle of water.
Most of all...thank them. Let them know their hard work and dedication is appreciated.
Volunteer activities fit into the extra spaces. The spaces between paying jobs, family, kid's activities, mowing grass, farm chores and grocery shopping. Most people don't have a lot of spare time, but they have chosen to use those precious spare moments to benefit you.
At the end of the weekend, the volunteer goes home exhausted, facing a new week of work. They may question why they are doing this. It is not always a fun job, but we all need the volunteer. Always say thank you, even if things didn't go the way you wanted them to.
You were given the opportunity to participate because of what the volunteer has done. Let them know you appreciate what they have given you...
Memories and opportunities.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.