Volunteering with Friends

volunteer-stockIndividual reasons for volunteering are almost endless. The best reason of all -- and it's likely why most people volunteer -- is to help others by making a difference.
One of the best reasons to volunteer is that it is tied to something you're passionate about. Maybe you love the outdoors and want to help others enjoy your passion. Maybe you like walking on a particular trail and want to clean it up for others. Or, just maybe you and your friend enjoy helping others clean up the environment.
One of the best places to be with others who enjoy the outdoors is a local friends group of a state park, forest, trail or recreation area.  Friends group members, and people from nearby communities for a day of getting their hands dirty helping repair and improve park and trail facilities.
Activities include planting trees and shrubs, installing benches, removing invasive plants, staining and painting picnic tables and other structures, raking and clearing up leaves and pine needles, and picking up litter.
Every year friends groups provide thousands of volunteer hours to help support the mission and activities of more than 70 Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails, and recreation areas. Friends members:

  • serve as campground hosts, visitor center hosts, naturalists and nature center hosts, adopt a trail volunteers, and assist with other special projects at the property;
  • raise money to purchase playground equipment, interpretive displays, signs, shelters, kiosks, educational materials, and more;
  • organize annual park cleanups and regular trail work days;
  • plan and help with special events including Candlelight nights, Community campfires, festivals/concerts, educational programs and other special events;
  • provide and assist with concessions; and
  • assist with the construction of trails, shelters and accessible cabins, birdhouses, and more.
Volunteerism can benefit a professional resume. Many employers and schools look favorably upon volunteer experience.  While you're volunteering, you can learn new skills and sharpen old ones, honing your communication, leadership, teamwork and time management talents.  You'll also have the chance to network with others.
Meeting people and having fun are also good reasons to volunteer. Perhaps you're retired with plenty of free time on your hands, maybe you have the summer off, or you just have some extra time in the afternoons or on weekends. No matter what your circumstance, volunteering can keep you busy. You'll be able to meet new people and have exciting experiences, instead of sitting around being bored with little or nothing to do.
Whether you want to do your part or make your mark, there are many great reasons to volunteer. And those that benefit from your help will just be happy you did, no matter the reason.