Passionate Volunteers - By Carl Blake

Passionate Volunteers

The summer is great, you get to spend time at the beach, spend time doing things outdoors later (and earlier), and the weather brings: Thunderstorms! From my earlier blogs, you should remember that I’m a bit of a geek…ahem, academic; my number one interest in the science realm is Earth Science, specifically Meteorology (weather), and I truly love to just watch the weather and be immersed in the outdoors.

A few years back, when I was in high school and during my early college days, I had the opportunity to do just that: I attended training to become a SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotter, and reported facts, figures and observations about storms and general weather to the National Weather Service. I also took the opportunity to become a Weather Watcher for a local news station, reported observations to them as well. It was my opportunity to give back to the community by volunteering and it revolved around my particular interest in the weather.

All around our community there are services being rendered by people outside of a paid employment position because of passion and interests. The Master Gardener that researches answers to a challenging landscape at the Co-Operative Extension Office; the Election Officer that helps oversee polling places to ensure for smooth, orderly and a secure voting process; the Volunteer Firefighter that works to protect community property and perform lifesaving efforts. Just like me, the people in those positions volunteer based on the thinking that they want to give back to their community and do it in an area that they are passionate about. Almost every place you can think of that serves the public in one way or another could use the support of volunteers and, in many cases, would not be able to operate at optimum level without the support of volunteers.

Volunteer work is also a good thing to keep in mind this summer. As thousands of graduates walk across the stage to get their diplomas, and begin a search for a career, volunteer work can serve as a good resume builder: giving you wealth of experience in a field you are looking to enter, and often give the volunteer lots of flexibility and opportunities to lead; plus, if the service you provide is superb, you might just be able to land a position with the organization or get a referral to someone in your supervisor’s network. In any case, you will often be able to look upon your service time with great admiration and that you were there to serve when your community needed you to; and your experiences volunteering are often life-changing. 

Here at the Community Center, we have many opportunities for people of all ages to volunteer and make a difference in their communities. We have a number of volunteers that help implement the athletic leagues by doing everything from scorekeeping to working directly with special needs baseball players, assist in cleaning and maintenance efforts with our Custodial and Park Maintenance staff, and help with admissions at Signal Bay Water Park. We also have advisory boards that focus on certain topics from our Skate Park and Community Health to Special Events and Membership Committees; each allows for citizens to give their ideas and opinions on the subject at hand. I, personally, have mostly a “staff” of volunteers and the success of a number of the athletic programs we organize, including our popular Biddy Ball program, are possible only through the support of volunteers that keep scorebooks, manage the time clock and coach teams.

And when you volunteer at the Community Center, we give something back: a Community Center Membership. Teens have the have the opportunity to earn a free or reduced cost Teen Passport by volunteering at our Community Center or elsewhere in the community. And, through our Membership Exchange program, you can experience the amenities of the Community Center at no charge, and give back to your community all at the same time. For more information on volunteering at the Community Center, please feel free to send me an e-mail.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day 


Carl Blake is the Recreation Specialist of the Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703.335.8872 or via email at c.blake@manassasparkva.gov

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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