The Essence Of Life Is To Serve Others And Do Good – Aristotle
Last weekend I volunteered at an event that my daughter Melissa hosted in Victoria. It is called Fairfield Fall Festival and its focus is celebrating all things fall for the community of Fairfield. The event is free to the public and it is a day where families come together to celebrate the abundance of fall’s harvest.
I have volunteered for the past 3 years and the thing that I love about this festival is that it is all about simple fun. There is live music that features local talent as well as indigenous singers and dances. There is a bubble man who the kids love, they spend hours creating these massive bubbles that I hadn’t seen before. Plus, they made bubbles out of smoke – everyone kept saying that they looked like things out of Harry Potter. There’s a cardboard castle that kids build and tear down – who knew how much kids loved playing with cardboard! They have an area where people can create harvest crowns which are built from greenery and flowers all foraged. (Melissa has a flower crown in the photo for this blog). There are forest walks and garden demonstrations that educate the public on composting, creating better soil, and putting your garden to bed for the winter. As you can tell it’s a very relaxed yet playful day.
This year there was an ease in the air and the event felt more relaxed, perhaps because it had been the 3rd year that Melissa had run the festival. There was another thing that happened to me which was the number of people that kept coming up to me and sharing what an amazing young woman Melissa was. It was her involvement, dedication and connection with the people. As I watched Melissa, I saw a lot of my dad in her. Dad had an ease with people and talked in a way that brought out the best in them. I see how Melissa has this gift, which is lovely to see.
I believe that there were 38 volunteers for the festival which was a great turnout from the community. The volunteers ranged in age from teenagers to seniors and many were people that I had met from previous years. I go for two days. The day before to help set up, cook, run errands and pick up silent auction items. The day of the festival my job is keeping the volunteers and performers happy which means well fed! Plus, I float around and help out wherever they need me.
When I volunteer, I always feel grateful and get far more from the experience than I could have imagined. I began thinking about the benefits and skills that are gained by volunteering and started to do a little research. Here are some interesting facts.
1. Volunteering connects you with your community and helps to make it a better place to live. This builds stronger ties with your community.
2. Dedicating your time helps you make new friends and develop stronger social skills. Everyone has a common interest, and this brings people together.
3. Volunteering is about giving and helping others in the community. Working with goal motivated people to make a meaningful contribution to the community.
4. Gaining leadership skills. Often, you’ll be asked to show others how to do certain tasks which helps you to grow.
5. Volunteering helps you communicate because you are often talking to people of all ages such as explaining something to a child as well as a senior.
6. Teamwork. Being part of the team creates a bond with the people who you’re volunteering with. Teamwork makes the dream work and together you will all be lifted up.
7. Time management. You will need to prioritize and figure out the best way to finish your tasks in a timely manner.
8. Confidence. Being a volunteer puts you in situations that build your confidence – you get to try new jobs and take on new responsibilities.
9. Improves your mental health by giving you feelings of gratitude and appreciation for your own life. This can help inspire you to see things more clearly.
10. Volunteering is a beautiful way that you can share your knowledge and expertise with others and make new friends along the way.
Take this as an opportunity to look into volunteer options in your community and see if your skills can assist those around you. You may be surprised who you meet, or how you can learn a new skill that you love.