Volunteerism 101

by Yvonne Rideout

Snowmobiling poster
Are you ready to step up?

We all know that snowmobile trails don’t just appear throughout the province. It takes resources and many volunteer hours to maintain 12,000 kilometres of trails. Volunteers take care of maintaining the trails, signing, grooming, maintaining equipment and looking after shelters. Some club members also serve on their club’s board of directors as president, vice-president, treasurer or events co-ordinator.

Why volunteer? People volunteer for many different reasons. For some, it’s to help others and give back to the community and club. For others, it is to build self-confidence, gain personal growth and learn new skills. Giving of your time lends you a sense of well-being and connectedness to others and certainly fights boredom.

We know for some it’s important to get outside during the winter and enjoy what Manitoba has to offer. Volunteering allows people to share their talents, abilities and experiences while at the same time learning new skills from others. Don’t forget that volunteers can have fun and enjoy themselves by making new friends. We need to ensure that volunteers feel needed, useful and appreciated.

If you are a volunteer leader or club officer, realize a few things about your crew. Volunteers have stepped up for your club because they love snowmobiling, want to contribute, have a little spare time to give and have a desire to give back to the club.

If you ignore any of these reasons, you will not retain volunteers. Most volunteers need a good thank you and rewards for giving you a chunk of time out of their busy life.

In the process, be nice, be fuzzy and get them to come back season after season. Some of the reasons volunteers drop out of their roles are: lack of organization and leadership; lack of a feeling of contributing to the cause; lack of recognition; lack of feeling productive; and lack of partners sharing the workload with them.

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