I got lucky. This month’s meeting was held at the home of committee member Shirley Kingsley-Berg, a comfortable, welcoming home. Graciously welcomed in, introduced around, sat at a family-sized table.
Lance ran the meeting and we got through the agenda – I’m not going to go into the details as that’s not my place. I can talk about my thoughts and experiences. I learned more about Oronoco’s parks and trails and the committee’s wishlist. I did not know where River Park is and now I do, and I know that citizens are working cooperatively with the city to lock and watch over use of the park after it became a place for undesirables to hang out. We talked about the donation from the Gold Rush committee to Park and Trails, proposed green space and other uses of parks and other city lands.
After the meeting, I learned more about the city’s community – Lance is recruiting volunteers for the food shelf as he does not want to see any of his volunteers get burnt out. I did not know that we had a dance hall by the lake in the early days of the last century, nor did I know we had a bar called the Sunken Heaven. And that I can get pancakes, sausage, coffee and juice for $5 at the VFW on certain Sundays. And I had a good time talking to the committee members; two hours passed so quickly.
So here was another meeting where the need for more volunteers is discussed. I think the question isn’t how to get more volunteers, though, I think it is more how to convince more people that it is fun to participate in their physical neighborhood and their city’s projects. How to build anticipation of getting together again with those people that do that really neat stuff and can’t wait to do some more of it cause it’s fun! And look! This thing, it’s cool and going to last awhile and people are going to use it and be glad. These trees, they are going to grow and provide shade and shelter. The feeling that comes with “this stuff I’m doing, it’s good for where I live and I’m glad to be part of it” – that’s what we need to provide. And public recognition so people feel obligated to say ‘yes’ when you ask them again, and you will cause there is always another project but it’s not a reluctant ‘yes’ but a warm one.
We need the volunteer version of a ‘staycation,’ where people decide to get involved in their local city rather than taking their volunteer hours elsewhere. We also need to find those people who don’t think they have any value to the community and convince them else-wise.
Oh, and we need actual identified planned projects for people to volunteer to help with and we need to have a way for them to know about those opportunities in a timely, nagging, enthusiastic sort of a way. There may be all sorts of ways I could be of more use to my community of which I am unaware. I bet I’m not alone in that.
Listen to me and my “We Needs!” like I know best. Ha! But I do have some thoughts, I think they are good ones, and I want to keep participating and being involved, being useful. Oh, and I need to stop watching the local announcement channel – those pancakes on the VFW ad look really yummy. Tempting but also poison for me, I know. Bed time. Night!