My retirement volunteer experiences

by Mary Anne
(Steamboat Springs, CO )

I have done quite a bit of volunteering in Steamboat since retiring. In general most experiences were positive and I'm going to go into some detail with them.

Member of Board of a Performing Arts Camp. When first joining the Board, I was responsible for updating a long range 5 year plan.

This was an extremely positive experience which drew on my skills and knowledge and gave me an excellent idea of the whole depth of the organization.

However being a regular Board member got to be boring at times when it was simply attending monthly meetings. At these meetings it was mainly a matter of just listening to reports.

To summarize this experience was the best when I was actively involved but less rewarding when just a body on the Board.

I enjoyed learning the software and updating the website on a regular basis. Sometimes this was weekly and sometimes monthly. I did not attend executive meetings although I could have but since I wasn't required to I was happier doing the work.

My husband and I both were also regular volunteers with the same organization and enjoyed a wide range of volunteering activities.

Some of these were marching in parades, passing out flyers, hosting booths, making phone calls, and doing mailings. All of these were very positive experiences particularly from a social point of view.

We enjoyed the interactions with other like minded people.

To summarize what I think works:

When given meaningful responsibilities based on our prior careers and skills the experiences have been very positive for me.

When interacting with a like minded group of people even in the tasks were that interesting the social interactions made up for it and it was a very pleasant experience.

The negative experiences were when expected to show up at a board meeting for the sake of having a body present and when asked to do meaningless tasks with people who were not very inviting or welcoming.

We went to volunteer in one or two situations and were asked to do manual tasks and no appreciation or warmth were shown. We did not last long and did not continue volunteering for such organizations.

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