Thursday, January 13, 2011

A recovering non-volunteer volunteers

The barn where Harv and Riley live is a hotbed of volunteer activity -- several officials from the local dressage GMO board there, and a bunch of other folks there volunteer a lot. Last year I saw firsthand how much these folks do to make events and shows happen, plus they do everything that the average competitor does. That's one reason  I resolved to volunteer more this year.

So... This year for my local dressage association, I'm putting in some time...
  • Doing some publications work. I'm nearly done with this year's banquet program, and I have started assisting with editing of the newsletter. 
  • Attending monthly meetings.
  • Volunteering at shows -- I'm on the books to be show secretary for my first time ever!

So Why Volunteer?
Take it from a recovering non-volunteer, the first step is to admit you have a problem. The second step is knowing the benefits of volunteering...
  • Volunteering is knowledge. Interact with people who know the sport from all perspectives -- judges, technical delegates, other volunteers.
  • Volunteering is social. You'll be amazed at how many people you meet and how friendly they are.
  • Volunteering is skill-building. Scoring sounds boring but it isn't! You learn how scores are calculated, you get a better understanding of how co-efficients affect the bottom line score, you see how one bad score doesn't wreck an otherwise good test, and you see how ties are handled -- other stuff too.
  • Volunteering is giving back. When you show, don't you feel gratitude for the folks that go to all the trouble to make it happen? What a great opportunity to give back.
Photo: National Capital Dressage volunteers


  1. I make a point of it so say "Thank you" to the gate holders. Just at my last show last weekend, I smiled and said Thanks to the gal running the in/out gate. He solemn face went from that to a bright smile. Just one kind compliment or greeting of thanks can be huge for making a voluteer's time worthwhile.

  2. I started volunteering last summer and WOW - I had no idea how much volunteer work went into a dressage show. I'm so glad you posted this because you have a lot of readers and it will help people understand what volunteers do and also help people see all the benefits of volunteering. For riders one of the greatest learning experiences is being a scribe, but all jobs are a good learning experience and a chance to meet other dressage people.

  3. I started volunteering last summer, and I love it. It's amazing how much I've learned and how many great people I've met. (And even lined up cool places to stay for shows this year, I think!) Definitely a must-do.

  4. Good for you! I was show secretary for a local dressage show last summer and will be again this year. I love to show but I also like to give back! :)


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