Thursday, June 14, 2007

Volunteering



an article written for Harleysville Soccer Clubs newsletter, by club president Chris Ryan. Quite articulate and well put!

I understand why people don’t volunteer. It’s easy to do, there’s no sign-up required and you don’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself doing something wrong. Not that long ago, I felt the same way you probably do now (heck, I still find it hard to volunteer for some things, like painting one of the rooms in our house.) I remember being at soccer signups five years ago when the man behind the table asked me if I’d like to coach my son’s team. I thought, “What, are you kidding, me coach? I haven’t played since high school. I wasn’t even that good.” But it only took the plaintive plea from my then six year old son, “Please Dad, you’d be great” to get me to even consider the idea. Hesitantly, I printed my name on the volunteer portion of the registration form. My last thought was, “Great, now how do I get out of this?” Nothing fills one’s heart with dread like being in a bad situation of one’s own creation. I felt like William Tell’s son at the time, only imagining the apple was the size of an acorn and that William had jittery hands. I kept on thinking, “How do I get out of this?” Fast forward to today. Now, I’m not that brightest bulb in the chandelier (definitely not just my own opinion), but somehow I
survived the experience. Actually, I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ll admit that I’m no Vince Lombardi when it comes to coaching (see, I couldn’t even think of a soccer coach to use here), but with the help and training I’ve received from many of the men and women in this Club, I’ve learned a lot and feel very comfortable being a coach. I really enjoy it and think I make a difference with the
kids I teach. What I’ve ultimately found is that the only qualifications I really needed to get started in this were enthusiasm, a receptive mind and patience – qualities that have helped us all become great parents! My story aside, I’m hoping you can make that “leap of faith” and volunteer to help us. There are so many different ways each of us moms and dads can help, from coaching, setting up fields or helping with Soccer Day and more. And it doesn’t mean giving up
your summer plans or embarrassing yourself in front of kids and neighbors (though you’re welcome to do that if you really want to!) Because we don’t strong-arm our parents for service to the Club, this obviously leaves our program with personnel gaps each year. We never liked the idea of making service mandatory because we find that the people who truly volunteer feel better about themselves for their contributions and that they’re the ones we can ultimately rely on to make our Club better and our kids’ experiences brighter. We think you can and should be one of them. Take that leap of faith and help us and the kids have a great season!
Chris Ryan
Director, Intramural/Rec Program

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