Write to the Point Let's celebrate our many local volunteers
By BECKY THOMAS
Last week I was up to my eyeballs in Cheney Rodeo and Cheney Jubilee. This being my “beat,” as we say in the biz, I was tasked with bringing together our annual Rodeo Weekend special section, and boy is it a big one.
It was pretty hectic for me and the rest of the staff to come up with stories, gather all the information, write and design all the pages on this weekend's activities. Hopefully our work will pay off and you, dear reader, will be informed and entertained beyond belief.
I was feeling sorry for myself after all that work, yet now I find myself writing about it again. It's because I've been thinking about the events themselves and what they mean.
The Cheney Rodeo, as you'll read in the special section, has a long history that has taken a lot of work to build, but it started with a simple motive.
“We did it for the community of Cheney,” long-time Rodeo volunteer Vonice Parker told me.
They started the rodeo because they enjoyed it and they wanted to start it here because Cheney was their home. The same could be said for the Cheney Jubilee. Heck, it's the same for Medical Lake Founder's Day, the Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival, Airway Heights Festival and every other summer event in a small community. It's simple: people have a passion, they want to help, they plan, they work and they pull off amazing things.
A study on volunteerism boiled down the essence these people, those who spend their free time working toward something that does them little personal benefit. The study revealed five key components that turn regular people into volunteers.
• Values. Volunteering to satisfy personal values or humanitarian concerns. For some people this can have a religious component.
• Community concern. Volunteering to help a particular community, such as a neighborhood or ethnic group, to which you feel attached.
• Esteem enhancement. Volunteering to feel better about yourself or escape other pressures.
• Understanding. Volunteering to gain a better understanding of other people, cultures or places.
• Personal development. Volunteering to challenge yourself, meet new people and make new friends, or further your career.
The same study showed that about one in three adults volunteer. I would guess that many of us share some of the above feelings, but two out of three aren't motivated enough to do anything about it.
There are plenty of valid excuses for not volunteering. Many people today are under economic pressures and spend all their time working just to make ends meet. Times continue to be tough, which makes low-cost community events that much more important and the volunteers who make them happen that much more heroic.
Hundreds of people in this community have made this weekend's upcoming fun possible. Hundreds of people will be working their tails off this weekend so that thousands can come from all over to experience a good old fashioned parade, community celebration and rodeo.
Most of those thousands will have a great time and go home, tell their families and friends about their fun weekend. But others will drive a mile into town and go to bed thinking, “This is why I live here.” Just remember to thank the volunteers.