Get involved in your community
Being part of something Greater than Yourself
Being part of something greater than ones self, what exactly does that mean? To me it means belonging to something that does good for others. Not so much like a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) though those are fantastic. More of an on going, life altering, keep me busy type of thing. What am I referring to? An Organization.
For years people have wanted to be part of something that does good for others. There are many different types of Organizations that one can join to be part of. Lately there has been a drastic decline in memberships of all Organizations. Why is that?
I think it has to do with the times, people are busy with their work schedules, family and their kids being involved with school sports. They want a little ‘me’ time, with nothing else left to give others. I certainly can empathize with that, being a parent of kids who were in volleyball. With the trek that I had to make to take them to practice and games then bring them back home and trying to get dinner ready, it was hectic at the best of times.
Being part of Something
I have been part of a large Organization since I was 11, my Dad first becoming a member, then my Mother, then my brother and finally I got involved. As with many youth groups they do a lot of things to keep the kids busy and out of trouble, this one was no different. There were a lot of girls whose parents just dropped them off for the meetings, never attending themselves. This was fine, as kids we had a good time anyway! There were of course adult’s chaperoning our activities and we loved them, fondly calling them Mom or Dad with the last name attached. Our meetings were held twice monthly, on a certain night, always the same night so we could keep our calendars open. The meetings were run just like that of a regular business meeting, someone being the ‘head’ of the Organization. Every 6 months a new ‘head’ - in charge person was elected. They would plan out the next 6 months of what we would be doing.
We always had fun things to do, ‘movie night’, slumber parties, mystery trips and various other fun things to do. We also had money making projects that we worked on, car washes, making and selling candy, making and selling donuts, whatever the person in charge wanted to do, we did it. Each idea was presented to our group of adults and if they approved it, it was planned. We all got involved. Each person who was the ‘in charge’ person selected a charity for which we would also earn money. After we earned the money the charity would be notified and someone would come from their Organization and we would present it to them during our meeting.
Children love being involved in a group! It makes them feel as though they are doing something good for their fellow man/person/child. Some want it so bad you will see on the news them doing something good all by themselves. Think of the child that earned money selling lemonade (the story hit the news because the city said they needed a permit) or the other child that makes sandwiches and takes them to the homeless.
As I grew up and started having kids, my time became limited to what I could do. My participation in my Organization began to wane. I visited when I could, which wasn’t often.
Back into things
When the time came for me to ‘get back’ into the swing of things, of course I chose the one Organization I was familiar with, even though I didn’t know these people. I had moved several times over the years and when I finally settled down to my current home, I wanted to get involved once again. I wanted to be part of something greater than myself.
I was lucky enough to find a local Chapter of my chosen Organization nearby. The Organization I was to discover had dwindled down a lot in the years that I had been gone. There weren’t many people my age, most were much older than I. That was Ok with me, I like older people, most are very nice and they all have great stories to tell of a life well lived.
I jumped right in with both feet, volunteering as much as I could. I am greedy in the sense that if I do something nice, I get a good feeling and I like that a lot! The more I do the better I feel. I watched and learned from my new found friends. I didn’t go in with the idea of trying to change what I seen wrong, I just accepted them for who they are, and did things the way they wanted them done.
Here is a short list of a few Organizations just waiting to welcome you! Check them out, they are just waiting to see what you have to offer!
Just to name a few!
- The United States Junior Chamber
The United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) gives young people between the ages of 18 and 41 the tools they need to build the bridges of success for themselves in the areas of business development, management skills, individual training, community ser
- The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks of the USA
- General Grand Chapter OES
- Michigan Masons
Michigan Masons, who are the masons, what is masonry, masons explained, what is freemasonry
- Volunteer Organizations: Lions Clubs International
Eventually as time wore on I was elected to begin my upward travels to the head of the Organization. This time, since it was the adult part, the terms were set for a year rather than 6 months. So I had a few years to plan my year of service. My Mother passed away before I was the leader so she never got to see my leadership skills, but I am sure she watched from above. That was the hardest part for me, I knew she would have been proud of me.
In planning my year I wanted to include money makers, fun things, and of course my charity. We put on a few dinners to make money, hey people like to eat! We invited others from around the State involved in the same Organization to come for a visit. We had a great Christmas party with skits. I planned and hosted a Mystery Dinner with 29 guests, having teenagers serve. Before Christmas time we’d get out our lists of various Charities within our community that we regularly donate to and send them checks. Food banks, women’s shelters, children’s special needs, youth organizations are just some of those included in the areas we donate to.
Another part of our Organization has a monthly dinner, that they put on to raise money for the upkeep of our building. During these dinners I volunteered and we had 50/50 raffles to earn money for my charity. My Dad was my partner in this venture and he had his own Charity for which we needed to raise money. So we divided the money appropriately and towards the end of my year we called our different Charities and had representatives come to accept our donations. They were very pleased and quite unaware that we were doing this.
It was a busy time for me, my year, but a time I will not soon forget. The name of my Organization? That’s not important. What is important is getting involved within your community, joining an Organization, being part of something greater than yourself. Make the time, it will benefit you in more ways than you can count! Make the time you have here on earth count for something.