Whether you live in a large city or a small town, there are a number of ways that you can get involved within your own community if you open yourself up to the experience! Whether you are a jock, loving on the opportunity to take part in, or coach, sports, or a quieter individual who would be happier curling up at the local library reading books to children, there is a ‘good fit’ for you!
The process begins by deciding what activities you enjoy, or strengths you are aware of that you would like to use in order to bless others. If you have a gift for organization I am sure that there is going to be a group that could use your assistance on the administrative side! Are you outgoing and love taking a leadership role? Many children’s organizations are looking for leaders, guides, teachers, and coaches.
Leading up to today’s blog, I found myself intrigued to see what other bloggers and organizations might have to say on the topic of why people should get involved and found some interesting information.
For starters, did you know that emotions like optimism, and joy have been found to strengthen your immune system? In other words, taking part in something you enjoy will actually help to make you healthier! Also, thinking about someone other than yourself it interrupts the tension-producing patterns in your brain, effectively reducing stress. Are you highly stressed in life? Volunteer!
Here’s a list of benefits that I put together, amalgamating a number of different lists and sites:
- You have the opportunity to give back – this is especially powerful for those who were blessed by others in their own life.
- Involvement within your community encourages civic responsibility.
- It provides you with an opportunity for personal growth and helps to foster higher self-esteem.
- Getting involved can provide you with the opportunity to gain professional experience, and try out a potential new career.
- It is good for your health, providing several physical and mental rewards.
- You will have the opportunity to learn a lot in many different areas – for example, if you are involved in a mentoring program, and take part in activities in which you are trying a new hobby or skill, you may find your next big passion!
- Getting involved will allow you to meet new people and cultivate lasting friendships.
- By providing your services within your community it allows the group/organization to save their resources so that they can apply them elsewhere in the community.
- Being active within your community strengthens the community itself.
- Most importantly – You can make a difference. Whether it is in the life of one person or a dozen people, every person counts!
One group that I have found myself heavily involved with is our local community marching band. The Kingsville Essex Associated Band is the longest run community marching band in Canada. Celebrating the 80th anniversary of the group this year, it is going stronger than ever!
This band has welcome performers of all ages and skill levels, providing classes from beginner through to the senior band, which is the group that performs in local parades and festivals. There are a number of ways that someone can be involved in the group including playing an instrument within the band itself, joining the drumline, or performing either with the Colour Guard or the Majorettes.
I started originally just playing with the group to fill in some parts that they were lacking, however as I spent more time among the super talented and beyond special kids that this group attracts, I was quickly drawn in. I now act as an instructor, teaching the Intermediate class, as well as photographing the band through their various performances and carrying out the social media marketing for the group.
The longer I stick around, the closer I have become to a lot of these kids. We have celebrated great accomplishments, and I have held them while they cried after facing the struggles of teen life and growing up. I’ve been able to provide a listening ear, some words of experience and a safe place for them to discuss their various struggles and concerns in life.
A number of the kids refer to me now as ‘Aunt Britt’, and one even calls me her Adopted Mother. At the end of the day, I can’t imagine not having them as part of my life!
Sure, sometimes things get a little crazy! We are in the heart of summer parade season right now, for example, with 6 different parades/performances in a 2-week window. That being said, as I sit here going through photographs of all of their smiling faces it’s unbelievably worth it!
I strongly encourage all of you – if you have not already looked around to see what opportunities await you within your own community, don’t wait any longer! You will not only impact the lives of others, but it will give back and impact your own life ten-fold!
Are you currently involved in any local community groups or organizations? If so, what is it that you do? If not, what kind of group could you see yourself getting involved in?