"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Take Note(s)

The project:
Attend my final meeting as secretary of our homeowners association board of directors, take notes, type up minutes, research rules and restrictions and report back to board members.

120 minutes

Why bother?
We live in a nice neighborhood. Unfortunately, homeowners are apathetic about the association which maintains the 14-acre greenbelt we all enjoy. I got roped into serving on the board three years ago. I've served as V.P., acting president and secretary during my three consecutive terms. I continued to serve on the board because others wouldn't step in and, well, someone had to do it.

It's not that tough in our neighborhood, but the apathy was mind-boggling, even depressing at times.

Worth it?
Yes, I suppose. It allows us to maintain the "park" we all enjoy (along with countless "trespassers" who don't pay to maintain the park, but certainly take advantage of its existence). But the lack of interest on the part of other homeowners is truly pathetic.

I got to thinking about this, and other volunteer leadership roles during a discussion with my sister-in-law. She serves as a member of the Little League Board in her community where hundreds of kids are organized into teams, field use is coordinated, uniforms make their way to the appropriate players, volunteer coaches are organized. Still, people call to gripe, complain, moan, yes, even...well...let's just stick with those.

Too often, those who complain don't seem to get that these organizations are volunteer driven, that they are WELCOME to volunteer to do the job "correctly" as THEY see fit; to contribute their own time and energy to meet their own needs AND the community's needs.

Sometimes volunteering for a leadership role feels like painting a target on yourself.

Kick me...here.

No...a little to the right.


That's the spot!


  1. Oh, I so hear you! And the thing about volunteers is that we tend to be the ones always volunteering. I hate volunteer recruitment time in our homeschool organization because no one new ever wants to step up. Volunteer burn-out can be high, and we try to get our volunteers to pace themselves so we can tap into their energy long into the future. I personally have a hard time pacing myself and tend to throw myself into too many jobs at one time - there are so many worthwhile organizations we are involved in, and I really feel like it's our duty to help out. And always, the icing on the cake is when some person (who has likely never volunteered) whines about the way things are being run.

  2. I remember when my children were in school, it was always the same handful of parents that chaired every committee and volunteered in the classroom on a weekly basis, myself included. I was also room mom for 12 consecutive years because no one else would do it! High school parental participation was even worse!

  3. I just had this same conversation yesterday! It's always the "busy ones" who seem to get busier. I just turned down 2 new volunteer opportunities yesterday...feeling a bit guilty, BUT I can't always tbe the one doing it all!


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