The photograph above was taken at the 113th Running of the Millarville races. This is me and the jockeys who compete at our event. I have Chaired the committee of over 75 volunteers to organize this event fo the past 4 years. We entertain approximately 5,000 people each year and have a wonderful day of horse racing, spectating, fun events for kids and a great celebration of Canada day with our community.
I have been volunteering for a number of years, with a variety of organizations, and I can honestly say that chairing the Millarville Races is the most fun and rewarding volunteer role I have had. I mentor a number of young graduates and business owners and I am asked frequently to review resumes and give feedback. One thing I look at is volunteerism, what has this person done to give back to their community? It is not just about giving back it is the personal and professional development opportunity that you get from volunteering.
- want to learn more about accounting? Become a volunteer treasurer.
- want to learn to lead a team? Chair a volunteer board or committee.
- need to understand governance? There are free courses on board governance in the not for profit sector
- want to grow your network or meet new people in your community? You know the answer by now
I have had the opportunity to attend many professional development courses, seminars and programs in my career but volunteering gives you something more. It gives you experience and a chance to try new skills, to meet new people and to achieve new goals.
If I can give one tip on professional development it is to volunteer widely. If you are not enjoying it, try a different role or organization, because when you find you “dream volunteer job” it will give you rewards that are far, far greater than the time and effort you put in.