I have volunteered for Coginchaug Little League for the past three years and am currently the director of information. It has always been a struggle to find volunteers for our organization, whether it is helping with field clean-up day, coaching or volunteering in our concessions stand. In the end, it is always a handful of amazing volunteers who step up to get things done.
Currently, CLL has approximately 400 registered players from ages 5 to16. Should the same small group of people continue to volunteer for everything when the larger majority of people do not? I know that many other volunteer organizations involved with our local schools, churches, and other community groups are also experiencing this same dilemma.
The term “volunteering” is defined on Wikipedia.org as “an altruistic activity intended to promote goodness or improve human quality of life.” In return, people who volunteer gain feelings of self-worth and respect for giving back to something they feel is valuable and worthwhile. The website goes on to say that volunteering is renowned for increasing skill development, socialization and fun. Volunteering in your community allows you and your child to connect to your neighbors, friends and teammates and to make your community a better place.
Children learn from their parents and model what they do. By volunteering your time, you show them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference. It is a valuable way to teach the importance of giving back and showing your child that the organization they are involved in means something to you. Believe it or not, many people say they enjoy their experience and actually have fun volunteering. In addition, goals get achieved quicker and easier. As the English writer John Heywood said: “Many hands make light work.”
It is true that we all lead busy lives. Between family, work, school and community, many people feel overwhelmed by the amount of things they need to get done in a day. Between homework, practices, and games; schedules become crazy. For those of you who do not know, CLL, like most organizations in our towns of Durham and Middlefield, are run by a board of all volunteers who are also struggling with the same issues and schedules. Without our volunteers, CLL would not exist.
I volunteer for CLL to help make the league better for my kids and for the rest of the kids in our community. I want to help CLL become stronger so that it will continue to improve far beyond when my boys are too old to play little league. Do I expect something in return like a volunteer plaque to hang on my wall? No. What I do expect is for people whose children participate in Little League to help with the tremendous task of running a volunteer organization by doing their part. To show their little league player that they value what CLL is doing for their child and for the community at large. Is that too much to ask? I sincerely hope not.
—Michele Garron-Wenchell is director of information for Coginchaug Little League.