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Thread: My volunteer credo

  1. #1
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    My volunteer credo

    I am asked to do many things in my various volunteer groups. My credo is

    Iris does what interests Iris!

    * If it doesnt interest Iris, she wont take it on.

    * If it is a stupid and unnecessary goal, it is therefore uninteresting to Iris, and she will not take on a role that is responsible for achieving the goal.

    Badgering and guilting and fawning ego strokes are not tools that work on Iris. Save your breath.

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    So, yeah.

    A plant society that shall remain unnamed has a Big Giant project of inventorying, digging, labeling, and selling 2,000 plants each year. The plants come out of beds at the Missouri Botanical Garden. In the past I have been involved on the fringes. I work a shift or two at the actual sale because I enjoy it (see #1 above) and I am good at it because I grow a lot of these plants.

    But everyone in the society is getting old. The chief project head has resigned from the inventory/dig/etc group and there are very few to takes this on. Someone has volunteered to head the “committee” and that is fine, but of course now
    I am being asked to contribute hands on. To make this difficult, only a few select people are allowed to inventory and dig at Mo Bot Gardens. This is not enoigh of an ego stroke to get me on board.

    I guess I will contribute a couple of mornings to inventorying, but I am cranky about it and am deeply skeptical that this project will succeed in subsequent years. The assembly line for this project is extremely complex.

    meanwhile, today I walked into a meeting of another group and walked out as the new treasurer. It is A tiny group with a small treasury and only ten checks a year go out. Easy-peasy and a little bit fun.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 6-18-18 at 4:37pm.

  3. #3
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's tough holding the line on volunteering! You are so right to do it on the basis of, "Am I going to still enjoy doing this once I'm in the thick of it?"

    There are tons of opportunities, though. And plenty of people of people willing to entice you with those ego strokes.

    The Master Gardener is a great example of that. It's a wonderful opportunity, don't get me wrong. But they tease you with this highfalutin' title of Master Gardener--one of my fellow interns said they should call it the "Know-Nothing gardeners" or "Amateur-Hour Gardeners". But, hey, after 75 hours of classroom work and 60 volunteer hours, you get to call yourself a Master Gardener. I bought it, hook line and sinker. You just better hope you don't get me when you call the help line.
    Last edited by catherine; 6-18-18 at 8:34pm.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I tried my hand at seducing a Master Gardener in the Missouri
    botanical Gardens recently, tried to lure her away to our Park
    conservancy work.

    we are always trying to poach the good volunteers! “We” meaning whichever organization
    I am representing at the time!

    Random:
    Recently DH and I ponied up big bucks, $175 each, for a cocktail party fundraiser for my favorite park that is not my neighborhood park. Anyway, the board members were circulating thru the attendees, and I saw their eyes light up when we talked about DH’S horticulture education and my iris and lily obsession.

    But I was onto them! I cut them off at the pass saying that we enjoy the park and this party but we are full up on volunteer opportunities.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    My volunteer credo is “Just Say No.” Not too original but it works.

  6. #6
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    I tried my hand at seducing a Master Gardener in the Missouri
    botanical Gardens recently


    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    tried to lure her away to our Park
    conservancy work.
    Oh. Never mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    But I was onto them! I cut them off at the pass saying that we enjoy the park and this party but we are full up on volunteer opportunities.
    It's the way you've got to do it -- especially now that you're retired and most people seem to think you have nothing but time on your hands.

    DW and I have had to grow some calluses in the realm of donation. There are too many worthy places to spend money and energy; you have to draw the line someplace and supporting work you enjoy and find worthwhile seems like a valid place to put it. I've said 'no' to very worthwhile opportunities because they came with a dose of drama that I didn't need to add to my life. I've said 'yes' to other opportunities with the stated proviso going in that I will not get sucked into the "our-organization-is-dying-and-someone-has-to-do-<fill in the blank job>" vortex. I will leave the organization before I let my joy in it get killed that way.

    Stick to your credo, IL! People will try to chip away at it. But you have to control the access.
    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

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    yep, the “our organization is dying” vortex is pretty steong.

    lots of dying organizations, lots of activites ending due to lack of leadership.

    So be it. Humans will find or invent other activites to take ip their time.

  8. #8
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    I would think one would be hard-pressed to find many younger folk who would be interested in growing and showing irises. Lots of things like that though that seem to be disappearing. My belief since I retired is that I'm not going to do anything voluntary that I don't remotely enjoy doing.

  9. #9
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    I love this. I do a ton of quilting and teaching, and organize a lot of charity/theaching/fun days. That does not make me a good candidate for President, Treasurer, quilt show organizer and so on. But I will be a supporter and good worker bee.

    I love to teach, I love to sew and quilt and the things people ask me to do would not be enjoyable or productive for me or anyone.

  10. #10
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I did the Master Gardener route and discovered that it was a "I know nothing" discovery process. Love that, Cath. I enjoyed the course and visiting with other gardeners at plant sales because I focused on 'native plants'. After three years, I realized that it was more a social than a service group and bowed out
    I belonged to a hort society that was really struggling so agreed to be a director for one year. The meetings were somewhat chaotic but one meeting, i heard one person describing her holidays, another her uncles's operation, another his visit to a garden centre, another complaining about something else, all as the chair was talking. Meetings that should have taken one hour took 2.5-3 hours. I reviewed the structure of the society, the director's role in the handbook I had received and brought a proposal based on the role of the director with prior notice to secretary to include time on the agenda. The chair announced that the society was a social group and the meeting did not need to follow the director's handbook model. I advised that I was not a good fit for the society and left. Never been back. It is still floundering very sadly.

    I now only volunteer with a clear role and expectations of both the volunteer and the organization outlined and followed.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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