If you had asked me a couple of years ago why I would volunteer, I would have said curiosity. If you were to ask me now, I would say because it is fun.
My adventure with volunteering started in my second year of university, when I found out about Girlguiding volunteers. Girlguiding Scotland is an organisation that enables girls to learn more about the world and themselves through interactive meetings run by us, the volunteers. I wanted to join because I enjoy having fun with children as well as coming up with games for them.
Currently, I am a Rainbow Leader and I run a unit with another Rainbow leader and a Unit Helper. My role is to come up with activities or events for to 5-7 year old girls. I make crafts, play games and sing songs with the girls. I supervise the girls and I mediate conflicts as best as I can. I also attend meetings with other Girlguiding Leaders and events which remind me that, as a volunteer, I am part of a bigger team.
Volunteering is fun and rewarding. It gives you a chance to do something that you like doing or would like to try.
Volunteering is also a learning experience. You learn more about yourself, others’ needs, you test your limits, take risks, go past your comfort -zone. I do not mean becoming a different person, but giving yourself the chance to be that part of you you never thought or gave a chance to let out. When I had my first activity to lead, I felt overwhelmed. I was suddenly surrounded by ten girls with different attention spans that needed individual explanations and support rather than me explaining and showing what to do to everybody. It was so hard! In time, however, with commitment, dedication and (especially) a lot of patience, I learnt better how to interact with the girls and how to understand what they need. We still have issues now and then, but I know now that children will be children.
Should you volunteer? That is a question for you, not me, but if you want my advice, keep in mind:
- Everybody does not always have time to spare. However, if you like something, you should make time for it because it might make a bad day brighter.
- You do not have to be an expert. It is the volunteering experience itself that will teach you how to be better.
- The feeling of belonging. You are part of small and big teams that appreciate your effort and maybe could not have done that job without you.
- It is a two way experience. Besides your individual development, your team and the people you interact with, help or supervise will develop too and constantly grow because of your impact on them.
- Volunteering is for all. As long as you want to help, make a change or at its simplest, make a good deed, you should give volunteering a try…for you, for others or just for that part of you that never got a chance to grow and become another great part of yourself.
Interested in becoming a volunteer? Volunteers’ Week Scotland runs from 1-7 June 2018 – find out more about why volunteering is for all!