Crisis - by definition - refers to a time of intense difficulty or danger. It is used commonly with varying degrees to describe moments for governments, businesses, leadership, sporting groups and careers.
But it seems the term is destined to reference volunteerism.
Every community festival, sporting club, school committee and worthy cause relies on volunteers. Those loyal, hard-working, shy-away-from-the-limelight people are the life-blood of communities.
This week one of the state's oldest football netball clubs, Port Fairy, made a public plea for volunteers. It needs a president, reserves and under 16 football coaches and a raft of helpers, a bar co-ordinator, canteen co-ordinator, umpire co-ordinators, team managers and trainers. "We are in a bit of strife," long-time volunteer Gerard Sheehan said.
Port Fairy is not alone. Other football netball clubs are struggling too. But it's not just limited to these sports. Warrnambool's only community festival, Wunta, has struggled for years to attract volunteers, so too the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic and now, reportedly, Premier Speedway, which runs arguably the world's biggest sprintcar event each January. Finding a person to take on a board role is akin to locating the needle in the haystack, let alone multiple people.
Have we taken too many for granted for too long?
Undoubtedly the pandemic has deterred volunteering, age, health, length of service might have prompted some to re-assess their priorities. But this crisis has been coming for years. In a time-poor world we live in, too much is often left to too few, which in turn burns out good people.
The Sydney Olympics was described as the best games. Remember the role volunteers played? They were incredible. Imagine being part of something like that?
Too often we hear 'what's in it for me?' Not everything can be about money.
Volunteerism gives you immense satisfaction, pride and exposes you to new people, friends, social activities. Helping others is a richly rewarding experience. It's a bit like the 'pay it forward' movement. The giver doesn't get anything back materially, just the knowledge and inner feeling only an act of generosity can generate. It's easy to think 'they've got plenty of helpers' or 'what could I bring to the table?'. Have you ever heard a community-based group turning away a volunteer? That's because they always need extras and you'd be surprised how you could assist. Go on, give it a go.
Many hands do indeed make light work.
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