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The Challenges and Rewards of Volunteering

Do you volunteer?

There are numerous benefits from volunteering, but in a nutshell they boil down to two underlying motivations:

  1. Volunteer so you can learn a new skill that will help build your resume and/or so you can try new things
  2. Volunteer because you have knowledge and experiences to share and you want to give back

Of course other benefits include:

  • Having fun
  • Making a positive difference
  • Learning about different cultures
  • Meeting new people
  • Feeling needed
  • Having a sense of achievement

Many people volunteer through their companies.    Examples of volunteer activities that SYKES employees can be found as follows:

Others volunteer individually with organizations such as the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts and various animal rescue organizations.

Are the experiences always rewarding … ?    They will be if you let them be.

And yet they can be frustrating too.   Frustrations include:

  • Not getting a response when you offer to volunteer for something
  • Being offered a position which does not challenge you or provide you the benefit you are looking for
  • Volunteering in an organization that is poorly run – bureaucratic, unhelpful, demeaning

Yes this happens, but look beyond it.   Believe in the cause.  Get beyond the frustrations.

In my case, I have been a Girl Scout leader for 12 years.   Funny that I never became a Girl Scout until I became a leader.   But hey.

It is amazing how many girls do not have basic experiences that I used to take for granted.   My kids know how to cook.  My kids are experienced campers – including real wilderness camping.  My kids have been on most every kind of boat imaginable.   They are even scuba certified.  My kids have traveled the world.   There are girls in the troop who had never slept in a tent, who had never used a can opener or read a recipe, who had never sat around a campfire and made smores, who had never gone snorkeling, and who had never been in a boat of any kind.    And now they have – and there is more to come!

I encourage everyone to try volunteering and to reap the rewards both for yourself and others.