I’ve been volunteering as Beaver Scout Leader for my local Scout Group for nearly 10 years now, but I don’t see myself as a volunteer, I just see it as something I do. My hobby.
You should enjoy your volunteering role, after all if you don’t enjoy it you aren’t going to want to put your time and effort in to it and may start to resent that extra time without pay that it’s taking up.
There are 100s and 1,000s of volunteer roles out there so you’ll be able to find something suitable for you.
Here’s a number of benefits I’ve personally found from volunteering as a Scout Leader;
1. Make new friends
The friends I have met and made through Scouting are some of my best. We share the same passions in life for outdoor adventures and running activities for young people. Soppy story alert… Ash and I met through Scouting, and considering we’ve been together for over 8 years now I’m so grateful that our paths crossed through Scouting.
2. Learn new skills
A good charity won’t leave you in the dark and will provide a structured support and training network. You can develop communication, leadership, orienteering, gardening, dog training and management skills all through volunteering, plus so so much more. I’m lucky that I was able to join in with Cubs, Scouts and Explorers as a child before becoming a Leader. Through Scouting I have learnt to read a map, hike, canoe, kayak, climb, abseil, light a fire, cook on a fire, tie knots and lashings, manage and organise a group of volunteers, plus so much more. Scouting helped me to face my fear of water and gave me the confidence boost to take up swimming lessons at the age of 21.
3. Keep active
Scout evenings, activities and camps certainly keep you on your feet, lifting, carrying, walking. Plus Scouting itself has given me a love for outdoor activities such as walking, canoeing, climbing and camping, all which help to keep me relatively healthy and active. If you find an active volunteering role it can give you that push to get up and get out, enjoying the fresh air and countryside. Volunteering as a dog walker for a rescue centre or as a puppy trainer for an assistance dog charity will certainly get your daily step count up.
4. Looks good on your CV
Practical skills along with qualifications are really important for a lot of industries, but unfortunately practical skills can be the hardest thing to come by. As I mentioned above volunteering can give you the opportunity to learn a huge range of new skills and all of these skills are important when finding employment. For example if you would like to be a conversation ranger, an education and qualifications are not enough, you need experience hedge laying, tree felling, weed control etc etc. Volunteering in your local nature reserve or park, with the local council ranger or organisations such as the Wildlife Trust, not only gives you a foot in the door but help you to tick off some of these skills for your ideal CV. I genuinely believe that my experience as a Scout Leader played a huge part in me being given my current (and dream) job.
5. Help other people
I can’t imagine anyone not being able to find joy in helping other people, especially when the thing you are doing to help them is enjoyable for you too.
When you volunteer you are making a difference to someone’s life in some way. Whether you’re volunteering in a charity shop, enabling that shop to be open and raise money for it’s cause, or allowing a child to experience rock climbing or canoeing for the first time and overcome their fears, you can have a positive impact on someone’s life through volunteering.
6. A new hobby
I think it’s really healthy and important to have a hobby. If you work then a hobby gives you that release and escape from the job and if you don’t work then it can give you a purpose and fill your time. Although it can be tiring to finish work and then go out to volunteer, or get up early on a Saturday morning, it’s all worth it. Remember you should enjoy your volunteering role! You should look forward to doing it. It’s natural to have bad days or days when you just don’t want to, but hopefully you enjoy it more than you resent it.
Get out there and give it a go
I’ve talked a lot about Scouting as this is my experience of volunteering, and if you would like to find out more about volunteering at your local Scout group then follow this link here – http://scouts.org.uk/get-involved/
Of course there are SOOOO many volunteering roles out there and as a dog blog I must give a special shout out to the dog related volunteering roles, such as fostering a dog or dog walking for a rescue centre and helping as a trainer for assistance dogs charities, especially Hearing Dogs as I know they are looking for more and more puppy training volunteers at the moment.
Check out their website to find out if it is something available in your area – https://www.hearingdogs.org.uk/volunteer
Need ideas of what is available in your area? The Do-it For Good website can give you a list of local volunteering roles currently being advertised – https://do-it.org/opportunities/search
Do you volunteer?
What do you do?
Are there any other benefit that you would add to my list?