Volunteers make the Hamilton community work

Opinion Apr 16, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Dundas Star News

When I was young(er), I was involved in what seems now like a staggering amount of groups. Over the years I did theatre, music, Scouting and sports both inside and outside of school.

It was a lot of fun for me (if you except the year I tried playing soccer, but that’s a whole other column) and gave me a lifetime’s worth of excellent memories and great friends. I owe a huge debt to my parents for not only bankrolling my extracurricular adventures, but for putting thousands of kilometres on their cars just getting me from place to place. (I didn’t learn to drive until my early-20s.)

I also owe another debt to the many volunteers without whom none of the things I did would have been possible. Even the groups’ staff worked many hours more than they were paid for, essentially volunteering to do their jobs.

It would have been quite easy for me to take all these volunteers for granted. No, it’s not because I was some sort of oblivious, entitled little so-and-so who just assumed that the world revolved around him. It’s that they all seemed to legitimately enjoy what they were doing.

Seeing them so happy and engaged made it easy to forget that they had worked all day and given up an evening to come out to work with you; that they took time away from their families to take you camping on their weekend; that they took their precious vacation time to chaperone you on an exciting international trip.

I’m sure it wasn’t always sunshine and kittens for them, but their passion seemed to sustain them through the times when their volunteering became a slog.

And that’s what’s important to remember about volunteers: as fun as most of what they do may be, they take their commitments seriously and will do what needs to be done.

Since moving back to Ontario 10 years ago, I’ve tried to do my part to honour all those who enriched my young life with their volunteerism by becoming a volunteer myself. I can honestly say that it’s been a whole lot of fun, and that I’ve gotten at least as much out of as I’ve put into it.

This week marks National Volunteer Week, a time when we stop and say thanks to all those who help make our lives just that little bit better, for no other reason than because they think it’s important. Our communities are much richer thanks to their selfless efforts. Imagine for a moment what we’d lose without our volunteers. Think of all the teams that would never play for the want of a coach; the plays that would never get produced for the want of a director; the festivals that bring delight to thousands that would just become another random weekend for the want of the help to run it.

It’s not a happy thought, is it?

So take a little time this week to show your appreciation to one of the hundreds of local volunteers that you know.

We owe them at least that.

— Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

Volunteers make the Hamilton community work

Opinion Apr 16, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Dundas Star News

When I was young(er), I was involved in what seems now like a staggering amount of groups. Over the years I did theatre, music, Scouting and sports both inside and outside of school.

It was a lot of fun for me (if you except the year I tried playing soccer, but that’s a whole other column) and gave me a lifetime’s worth of excellent memories and great friends. I owe a huge debt to my parents for not only bankrolling my extracurricular adventures, but for putting thousands of kilometres on their cars just getting me from place to place. (I didn’t learn to drive until my early-20s.)

I also owe another debt to the many volunteers without whom none of the things I did would have been possible. Even the groups’ staff worked many hours more than they were paid for, essentially volunteering to do their jobs.

It would have been quite easy for me to take all these volunteers for granted. No, it’s not because I was some sort of oblivious, entitled little so-and-so who just assumed that the world revolved around him. It’s that they all seemed to legitimately enjoy what they were doing.

Seeing them so happy and engaged made it easy to forget that they had worked all day and given up an evening to come out to work with you; that they took time away from their families to take you camping on their weekend; that they took their precious vacation time to chaperone you on an exciting international trip.

I’m sure it wasn’t always sunshine and kittens for them, but their passion seemed to sustain them through the times when their volunteering became a slog.

And that’s what’s important to remember about volunteers: as fun as most of what they do may be, they take their commitments seriously and will do what needs to be done.

Since moving back to Ontario 10 years ago, I’ve tried to do my part to honour all those who enriched my young life with their volunteerism by becoming a volunteer myself. I can honestly say that it’s been a whole lot of fun, and that I’ve gotten at least as much out of as I’ve put into it.

This week marks National Volunteer Week, a time when we stop and say thanks to all those who help make our lives just that little bit better, for no other reason than because they think it’s important. Our communities are much richer thanks to their selfless efforts. Imagine for a moment what we’d lose without our volunteers. Think of all the teams that would never play for the want of a coach; the plays that would never get produced for the want of a director; the festivals that bring delight to thousands that would just become another random weekend for the want of the help to run it.

It’s not a happy thought, is it?

So take a little time this week to show your appreciation to one of the hundreds of local volunteers that you know.

We owe them at least that.

— Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

Volunteers make the Hamilton community work

Opinion Apr 16, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Dundas Star News

When I was young(er), I was involved in what seems now like a staggering amount of groups. Over the years I did theatre, music, Scouting and sports both inside and outside of school.

It was a lot of fun for me (if you except the year I tried playing soccer, but that’s a whole other column) and gave me a lifetime’s worth of excellent memories and great friends. I owe a huge debt to my parents for not only bankrolling my extracurricular adventures, but for putting thousands of kilometres on their cars just getting me from place to place. (I didn’t learn to drive until my early-20s.)

I also owe another debt to the many volunteers without whom none of the things I did would have been possible. Even the groups’ staff worked many hours more than they were paid for, essentially volunteering to do their jobs.

It would have been quite easy for me to take all these volunteers for granted. No, it’s not because I was some sort of oblivious, entitled little so-and-so who just assumed that the world revolved around him. It’s that they all seemed to legitimately enjoy what they were doing.

Seeing them so happy and engaged made it easy to forget that they had worked all day and given up an evening to come out to work with you; that they took time away from their families to take you camping on their weekend; that they took their precious vacation time to chaperone you on an exciting international trip.

I’m sure it wasn’t always sunshine and kittens for them, but their passion seemed to sustain them through the times when their volunteering became a slog.

And that’s what’s important to remember about volunteers: as fun as most of what they do may be, they take their commitments seriously and will do what needs to be done.

Since moving back to Ontario 10 years ago, I’ve tried to do my part to honour all those who enriched my young life with their volunteerism by becoming a volunteer myself. I can honestly say that it’s been a whole lot of fun, and that I’ve gotten at least as much out of as I’ve put into it.

This week marks National Volunteer Week, a time when we stop and say thanks to all those who help make our lives just that little bit better, for no other reason than because they think it’s important. Our communities are much richer thanks to their selfless efforts. Imagine for a moment what we’d lose without our volunteers. Think of all the teams that would never play for the want of a coach; the plays that would never get produced for the want of a director; the festivals that bring delight to thousands that would just become another random weekend for the want of the help to run it.

It’s not a happy thought, is it?

So take a little time this week to show your appreciation to one of the hundreds of local volunteers that you know.

We owe them at least that.

— Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.