I wanted to get this posted for those of you who may be traveling to Estrella War in a couple of weeks. For those of you not going, please keep it in mind for each and every event you may attend in the future.

That’s right, volunteering is not working! Well, it technically is doing a job for any length of time (even 2 minutes), but it’s just not the work we have from 9-5 in the real world. Most volunteer positions in the SCA kick real work’s butt! You get to help out (awesome!), you get to spend time with new or old friends (awesome!), and you get to be someone’s hero for a little while (super-awesome!)

It doesn’t take a special person to volunteer, it just takes A person to volunteer! Hey! You’re a person, you can volunteer! Yippee!

When I say “volunteer”, it can mean anything from checking to see if the Event Coordinator (Autocrat) or any member of their staff needs anything, even if it take one minute to accomplish, all the way up to and including being the Event Coordinator, Baronial or Principality or Kingdom Deputy or Officer.

At several large SCA Wars, I have heard for years, “I’m not going to volunteer, I’m on vacation!” said very indignantly. Well, heck! I’m on vacation, too, and I’m having more fun than you are, guaranteed! That’s right, volunteering is way fun!

It doesn’t matter if you are on vacation or not, if someone has taken the time to actually ASK you for help, it means they need help. If they could do the job on their own, believe me, they would. It’s just a fact of life that if someone actually asks you for something it’s more than likely because they can not do it all themselves. If someone asks you for help, please at least consider pitching in. If you must decline, please do it kindly. We are all in this together, and one snippy comment can rally ruin someone’s day.

If you see a volunteer, thank them for their time or thank them for volunteering.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone at an event thanked the people who ran the event, at the event?

For just over a year, I have been thanking the volunteers at each event I go to. I sometimes have little chookies I have made that I give to them, and sometimes, I just tell them thank you and let them know I appreciate their effort. I must say, I have the same reaction with and without the chookies.

You never Know when You Might Inspire Someone to Volunteer or The Good Kind of Making a Volunteer Cry:

At the 2010 Estrella War, I went around on Friday and gave earrings, bracelets, and necklaces I had hand strung to all the volunteers I could find.

A couple of days before, I was working for Special Needs driving one of the carts. There were two gentlemen who where always happy to see me (most people are when you’re driving a golf cart for Special Needs).

On the second day of my driving, one of them asked me why I was always happy when I picked them up. They knew why they were happy to see me, but didn’t know why I was happy to see them. My answer was a simple one. “Volunteering Rocks!” I then went on to say that I have tried almost every volunteer job at Estrella since Estrella War 7, and I had to admit driving for Special Needs was the best! Everyone is always happy to see you, and are usually really nice to you. You get to help people that really need it. Best of all, you get to drive a golf cart and figure out where everything is on site.

The two gentlemen said, “Oh!” Then began quietly talking amongst themselves, and soon after I dropped them at their camp site. Their camp was one of the party camps, so I figured they would never in a million years volunteer for anything.

I was happily proven wrong! (Insert happy dance here!)

The next day was that Friday when I was thanking any volunteer I could find. I flagged down one Special Needs cart, and it was one of the gentlemen who had been getting rides all week. I said, “Thank you for volunteering!” and put a chookie in his had. He welled up with tears and said, “You were right, this is fun!” We thanked each other and I went on my way.

A few hundred feet later, I flagged down another Special Needs cart, and it was the other gentleman who I had been giving rides to. I said, “Thank you for volunteering!” and put a chookie in his had. With tears actively flowing down his cheek and said, “You were right, this is the best job ever!” He also told me that he never would have thought volunteering would have been fun if I hadn’t been so excited about it. We thanked each other and I wen on my way.

A few feet later, I realized that because I had been excited about it, someone had been inspired. That was the greatest thank you gift of the entire War!

Please, share your enthusiasm and inspire someone to volunteer.

Hopefully Helpful,