Philosphical Friday_Volunteerism_Giving a little…Getting a little more.

I’ve been told by folks who know me best that I have a strange way of thinking about things.  Well, they might be right.  I’ll let you be the judge.  Every Friday (or most Fridays, you know how life can be) I’m going to share some of my thoughts with the blogosphere.  You decide:  Innovative Thinker…The Thinker…or, Girlfriend, you need a little help!

I know when you volunteer you’re supposed to do it as a selfless act of giving.  Well, would it be so bad to get a little something out of the deal? 

I recently volunteered to pull weeds in the garden of the person who helped my mother-in-law set up a really large garden many years ago.  I got so much pleasure from that garden, which was a whole city lot, that I jumped at the chance to work in the garden.  But would I have done it if I didn’t get something out of the deal?  I don’t honestly know.  This was a volunteer day to earn your “badge” for the Building Urban Gardens (BUGs) class I took earlier.  I was on the fence about working on the badge, but when the volunteer opportunity came up for Rowan Tree Society’s community garden I figured I’d give it a shot.   I was a little surprised to see how many other people were there.  The Excelon Group had quite a few of their employees out doing volunteer work.   (I wonder if they got something out of the deal.)

The next week I volunteered at the Great perennial Divide sponsored by Open Lands.  The call for volunteers included “free plants.”  I’m such a sucker for free plants.    The Great perennial Divide is a program that supplies free plants to community gardens (even backyard gardeners if they donate plants). 

It was an extremely well organized event.  You must pre-register in order to participate.  I was going to participate as a backyard gardener, but if I volunteered I could kill two birds with one volunteer day (free plants and one more day of volunteering for the BUGS program). 

On the morning of the event, the gardeners check in, are given a number, and promptly at 10 a.m. start driving their cars into the parking lot where the plants have been separated into individual  allotments.    My job as a volunteer was to load plants into vehicles.  Approximately 45 cars and trucks were literally stuffed with free plants.  So, what did I get out of this volunteer experience?  Free plants, of course, but I got the chance to look and handle literally hundreds of plants.  (Hmmm.  Do I hear a future post?  When does a hobby become an obsession?)

While I was loading the plants I ran into Sandra Patterson, a friend of one of the ladies from the BUGs class who also has a large area for community gardening and a club house.  She told me that their next project is installing a rain garden in the club house’s back yard and that they need volunteers.  What can I get out of the deal?  Free education on how to install a rain garden.  Yep, I’m more than happy to “volunteer.”


Is it selflessly giving of yourself ….

….or selfishly satisfying an internal desire?

Either way, everybody wins.

Happy Gardening!!!



  1. engineeredgarden said,

    October 2, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Cheryl – Sometimes I get gifts and such for volunteering my time, but it’s never expected, of course. I do it because of how it makes me feel inside to make a difference in someone’s life by my actions.

    • gardengoodies said,

      October 4, 2009 at 6:37 am

      Gifts and freebies are nice as tokens of appreciation for volunteering (you know me and my love of freebies), but I think most volunteers feel like you do. What they’re “getting” out of the deal is exactly what you’re talking about, that good feeling you get when you’re helping somebody.

  2. Kate said,

    October 13, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Cheryl – I have so much respect for people who volunteer their time. It’s wonderful when someone can find the time to give back to their community in some way. Sure sometimes it pays off and you get something in return, but the organization is still getting your time, which is what counts in the end. Sounds like you’ve found some really cool opportunities!!!!

    • gardengoodies said,

      October 15, 2009 at 4:22 am

      I’m actually liking it…plus you get to hang out with people that share your passion and you usually learn a little something.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: