Little did I know the moment I grasped the neatly curled Liberal Arts diploma from the Pennsylvania State University that the promise of the well-rounded education I’d earned was going to be defined much differently than the paper it was written on. I do, however, peer at the wall periodically to admire the font.
At the age of 43 hindsight paints a well-rounded picture as 22 years of service in the Chamber of Commerce 8 of which as President, 10 years of continued emergency medical services board ship and a crucial 2 years chairmanship of a consortium of not for profit volunteer groups who donated a $100,000.00 improvement project to the Borough in which I was raised. I must say…. Bruce Springsteen’s ‘My Hometown’ is a song that now bears a more special meaning. In our house – it’s required listening.
The references used to compile this snippet are the author’s point of view shaped by more than 150 individuals whose path were crossed; all contributing as they were willing and able listing results that have not really been advertised.
One quote that bears a place of prominence comes from a former coach who commented during a meeting, “In my years I’ve only had one favorite player…. he never looked at how many points he scored or cared to know how many infractions he incurred. He just checked each time he came off the court to ensure the score was better than it was when he got on.”
The coach does a great deal to define ‘the150’. Regardless of their walk in life each shares a common thread; putting their talents toward a greater good without expectation for compensation. In a room with a handful of the 150 amazingly, uncommonly, one simple idea mentioned in its raw form is passed around and refined until is transformed into a sparkling diamond of an idea. What’s more? The 150 actually figure out how, by who, when and what resources are necessary to put the idea in motion turning it into a reality. That’s the rarity. That’s the magic. That’s the core of volunteerism.
Having open, consistent access to a concentrate of creators and doers is equally as addicting as ice cream and movie popcorn. It should be required curriculum with the option to jumbo size the soft drink. Young or old, the sooner anyone can surround themselves with the activities of board meetings, exercise efforts in a committee, serve the food at the fundraiser and stock the shelves of the food pantry, the better. It is the platform of volunteerism, not the workplace that best mixes the hands-on responsibility of taking to task turning an idea into reality.
The byproduct? Schools that have additional funds to provide for children, fire departments and ambulance corps that are funded with the best equipment and training with which to save lives, family-owned businesses visited by customers outside the area, an improved life for future generations, municipalities that are rewarded for their efforts, a sharing of knowledge and experience academia simply cannot replicate, food delivered to those who cannot afford to eat, glasses for those who can’t afford to see, holiday gifts for those in need, children who learn sports at a young age, high school plays that place our youth under the lights and… and… wait for it…a community. Nicely woven and tight-knit.
It’s a well-known fact that when gathered together we can accomplish more than on an individual basis. Something very different occurs when we gather without expectation for compensation…we give back, we learn new talents while sharpening our own and things are left better than they were before we got there.
If you’re reading this by some definition, you’ve reached success. Look around. How’s the scoreboard? Take the time to walk on the court, share your talents, pass along your successes and Volunteer.
Many a score will improve.