“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it because nobody else will.”
When I was little, I spent much of my time outside traipsing through mud and crud discovering new delights. There were many an evening where I came home so dirty that my mom told me to strip at the door because she didn’t want it in the house or spent hours peeling wet, dirty socks and pants off. I lost boots, socks, jackets, and a myriad of other paraphernalia. And though I came home with bruises and scrapes, I always came home with a sense of adventure. Later this escalated to Girl Scout service projects and OMSI summer camps. I loved helping and loved being outside.
As one gets older, it’s easy to let other priorities and obligations overshadow these loves. Family, friends, work, etc etc. You hear of great projects other people do or come across a program and think to yourself how great that sounds and that you should look into it but never do. I don’t want to be one of those people anymore. After awhile, working day in and day out to “get ahead” can suck at your soul and without being able to contribute goodness somewhere else in the world, it’s pointless.
I made it a goal this year to volunteer more. Volunteer for projects at work, volunteer in a community garden and if I could find another volunteer nitch then great. The other day I came across this lovely little link at the bottom of the REI page labeled “Volunteer”. Upon clicking and putting in my information, I came across an amazing amount of volunteer opportunities in my area. Astounding!
Today I met the moomoo for a delicious breakfast and caught up on life. Afterwards, I volunteered with SOLV and spent my morning planting trees & shrubs in a local wetlands area. Oh what an adventure that was! Of course, I didn’t even make it halfway through the wetlands to the work site without not quite making the grass step over and ending up with one leg up to my crotch in a giant water hole. Oh yeah, that felt awesome. At that point though, you’re dirty and wet, it can’t get much worse and you have nothing to lose. Dig in! In total we planted 250 plants in three hours. How great is that?! Of course, spending the morning working with the fire dept isn’t half bad either. And, just as I had faith in, it didn’t rain the whole time. In fact, I might have gotten a little extra unexpected color. And of course, just like always, I stripped right at my car because I was just that dirty.
Thus far I’ve also put in an application to volunteer at the VA hospital and tonight I put in one to work at the Oregon Food Bank community garden. I can’t afford to continue to do troop packages right now, though I might take up baking, but being able to do VA support might be another nice way fill the spot. I wrote down working in a community garden as a goal this year and ended up finding out through various clicks that the Oregon Food Bank has two community gardens around town to try to promote sustainable food resources. What a wonderful idea! I couldn’t help but volunteer for this because it’s like two goodness’ in one: I get to support the local food bank and garden. I’m really excited for these (and more) opportunities!
If it’s been awhile for you or you’ve never done so but wanted to, I highly recommend getting involved in volunteering in your area. There are lots of different avenues and options so there’s bound to be one that’s right up your alley. Check out REI’s volunteer search page to find spots in your area that would love your helping hand!
“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” ~ James Allen