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Thread: Men: your volunteer services / interests when in 40s & 50s?

  1. #1
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    Men: your volunteer services / interests when in 40s & 50s?

    Good day, gentlemen


    I'm writing a book about volunteerism. Most of my personal experience has been with women's groups.


    Would you please tell me what kind of volunteer services you did and / or special interest groups you participated in when you were in your 40s and 50s?


    And what attracted you to contribute your services or join special interest groups?


    Examples of special interest groups in this context:
    Current events lectures with discussions
    Softball teams
    Photography club


    Many thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Umm, I'm still in my 50s, so I'll try to reach back.

    My primary volunteer work now is with the Second Harvest Heartland food bank. I also volunteer for fundraising events at a listener-supported radio station that I support. I also help coach new folk dancers as they learn.

    Earlier, I was a member of the Board of Directors for a non-profit news organization, have participated in digital-rights awareness events, have tutored people in how to use computers, and served as a mentor in corporate-business settings.

    I see "special interest groups" as different from volunteerism. I can join a group out of (self-)interest; to me it does not become volunteerism until I take on responsibility beyond that of an average member -- and, even then, I'm not sure I call it volunteerism because you have to have leaders as well as followers or it just doesn't work for long.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  3. #3
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    Kudos to you, Steve, for your contributions to your community!

    And thank you for helping me with research for my book on volunteerism.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I started volunteering at one of a network of sites that count and identify migrating raptors (hawks, eagles, and falcons) in my 50's. I am now in my early 60's but continue with the program. Sites are organized across North American along historical migration routes, and the basic protocol, data storage, and organizational structure is supported by Hawkwatch International, https://hawkwatch.org/. Our site and some others are active in the late winter and spring migration. Other sites may monitor the fall migration. I spend a couple of days a week with this and act as a "day leader" to help newer folks and log in official daily counts. We have a local non-profit sponsor and are staffed primarily with volunteers. Other sites across the U.S. also depend on a large number of volunteers. The data is used to help assess population changes, migration timing, or possibly geographic route changes.

    I have a science background and an interest in helping with environmental issues. Most of the other volunteers have similar interests which has made for some rewarding new friendships and information exchanges. I've learned a lot about raptors and birds in general on top of seeing (and photographing) some wonderful birds heading north along their migration route. It is mostly outdoor work, which is nice in spite of some often adverse weather.

  5. #5
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    Profnot,

    I hope your book goes well. I suffered a hemorrhagic stroke in 2012 and my volunteerism has been limited to giving blood on a fairly regular basis. The reasons for these donations are two fold - 1.) In 1991 I suffered an industrial accident and went through 25 units of donated blood in 24 hours & 2.) My hematocrit levels usually read pretty high and a doctor once told me I can either donate or have my blood withdrawn and washed down the drain. Before my stroke, I volunteered at my local library teaching computer skills (I was a computer geek for a living) to anyone who wanted to know more, and I have grilled hamburgers at a senior center, as well as bartending for one of their fund raisers. I also helped my wife serve lunch on Fridays to the homeless in our area on Fridays. Unfortunately the city, in a misguided attempt to deal with their homeless problem, removed the tables and benches in that park. As to why I have done these things, I figure that in the grand scheme of things I have been blessed and it's only right I give back when, and where, ever I can.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I'm 54. I "retired" from corporate life when I was 36, to devote my life to public service.

    My desire to pursue this path was based on Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations", Andrew Carnegie's "The Gospel of Wealth", my University's encouragement that we use our skills in the service of Man, and my own natural inclinations, in no particular order.

    I am a volunteer structural & wildland firefighter/medical responder/technical rescue/search & rescue/marine rescue/hazardous materials/infectious disease control responder. This is about a 1/2->2/3-time job for me with the training and drill requirements.

    I have served/am still serving on the County Planning Commission for 10+ years, on my village's planning commission for 5 years, on the County Housing Bank Commission, on the Board of the local Community Land Trust building affordable housing, on the Boards of several infant-care/preschool/elementary schools in the community, as the Commissioner of our Port District, as a Board Member of our Firefighter/EMT association (our union, essentially), as a member of our county's amateur-radio Auxiliary Communication Services emergency response organization, as a 4H volunteer, as a Coast Guard Auxiliary member, as a Board member of a local group which pursues challenges to overreaching land-use regulations through the court system, as a delegate for a political party, as a firearms safety/skills instructor, and some other odds-and-ends that escape me at the moment.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    I'm 54. I "retired" from corporate life when I was 36, to devote my life to public service.

    My desire to pursue this path was based on Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations", Andrew Carnegie's "The Gospel of Wealth", my University's encouragement that we use our skills in the service of Man, and my own natural inclinations, in no particular order.

    I am a volunteer structural & wildland firefighter/medical responder/technical rescue/search & rescue/marine rescue/hazardous materials/infectious disease control responder. This is about a 1/2->2/3-time job for me with the training and drill requirements.

    I have served/am still serving on the County Planning Commission for 10+ years, on my village's planning commission for 5 years, on the County Housing Bank Commission, on the Board of the local Community Land Trust building affordable housing, on the Boards of several infant-care/preschool/elementary schools in the community, as the Commissioner of our Port District, as a Board Member of our Firefighter/EMT association (our union, essentially), as a member of our county's amateur-radio Auxiliary Communication Services emergency response organization, as a 4H volunteer, as a Coast Guard Auxiliary member, as a Board member of a local group which pursues challenges to overreaching land-use regulations through the court system, as a delegate for a political party, as a firearms safety/skills instructor, and some other odds-and-ends that escape me at the moment.
    I volunteer for zip, zero, nada. In the past I have been a volunteer caretaker, a volunteer gardener, a volunteer security consultant, a volunteer baseball coach, a volunteer soccer coach, a volunteer scout leader, a volunteer deacon, a volunteer grief counselor, a volunteer visitation servant, a volunteer Park Rangers assistant, a volunteer tax preparer, a volunteer firearms instructor, and a participant in Habitat for Humanity. I did this while working a full time job in law enforcement and some of it took me away from my wife and kids. Which I now regret. After a lifetime of saying,”Yes.” I now say, “No.”

    Thanks to people like bae for making it possible for me to say ,”No.”. I have a little ways to go before I hit 60.

  8. #8
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    At 56, my husband was retired, really laid off, and had to find something to do. In the last 10 years, he has become a permanent volunteer for Habitat for Humanity (we have a large group here that build 25-30 homes a year), delivers food to a small food pantry once a week and on "off time" builds ramps with a local group for people who cannot afford them.

    I on the other hand dont volunteer outside the home but make quilts for a variety of organizations from Quilts of Valor to a camp for sick kids. I dont like the often required regimentation of group work. So we balance each other.

  9. #9
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    Kudos to you for your contributions to society! These stories are fantastic.

    Thank you so much for your education of me about the world of men and volunteerism!

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