Giving time to community

I've had a few occasions lately to admire volunteers at work. 

A few weeks ago, I facilitated a strategic planning session for our library board.  It was a beautiful Saturday, and several attendees arrived on their bikes, dressed (rather wistfully, I think) for the day and the outdoor activity that they were sacrificing to be there.  They energetically examined the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats of their organization and creatively generated strategies to respond.  They laid out timeframes and responsibilities for the near-term work.  After working hard for hours, they looked like kids let out of school when they finally escaped into what was left of the glorious day.

A couple of weeks later, I attended part of a meeting of our Development Appeal Board.  "Part", because this particular meeting dealt with a very complex hotel development issue, with several appellants and intervenors.  After two full days of public meetings, the DAB spent a further 20 hours or so crafting their decision.  Whether I agree with every word of that decision or not, I am full of admiration for the volunteer Board members, who took on work way beyond the level and time consumption normally expected.  One of the volunteers was actually at his first DAB meeting - what an introduction!

And just after that, I was thrilled when the Lake O'Hara Trails Club celebrated (along with partners Parks Canada and the Alpine Club of Canada) the opening of a new welcome kiosk at the entrance to the Lake O'Hara access road, complete with informative panels on the heritage of the area and on staying safe while hiking there.  Volunteer donors, photographers, text editors, installers all contributed to making this new park facility a reality.

In all three cases, these volunteers were not obvious to their general communities.  They weren't out there in public, wearing volunteer Tshirts - much of their work was done in meetings or in front of their computers.  But what contributions all these people are making, and what a precious gift they give when they give their time!  Our communities are richer for these people who don't say "Someone should ..." but rather say "I will ..."!