Fair volunteers get back more than they give

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The 153rd Rockton World's Fair went into the history books on Thanksgiving weekend, but the volunteers are already gearing up for next year. In the tradition of volunteers everywhere, the 500 associates of Rockton Agricultural Society don't stop when the gates close behind the last patron. More than 60 returned to the Fairgrounds for "cleanup" day on Tuesday and many more are already meeting with committees to plan for 2006.

It's easy to sing the praises of Fair volunteers. This fall season has been especially filled with their spirit of giving. If you enjoy rural events in the west end, you will see many of the same faces over and over again.

For instance, some Rockton Fair people are key volunteers at "The Friends of St. Alban's" - a group dedicated to maintaining the historic Anglican church in Rockton. And if you took a Sunday afternoon stroll one October weekend to the little church at Westfield Heritage Village, you saw more Rockton volunteers - this time in full costume - taking part in a moving memorial service to three of their beloved volunteers.

No wonder we were not surprised to see Rockton Fair volunteers taking part in a special service in Burford to raise funds to build a church where fire had destroyed that community's 170-year- old edifice. Many of us worry over stories of the decline in church attendance and the difficulty of getting youth involved in community activities. "They're too busy!" "They're not interested!"

These statements may be true, some of the time...but not in the rural area around Rockton. The "hospitality" room is organization central for Fair volunteers and the walls are lined with "sign-up" posters for everything from kitchen duty, to ticket sales to garbage cleanup. That's right - garbage cleanup. And the signatures that fill that sheet are entirely those of the Junior Directors of Rockton Fair. You don't want to imagine the sticky details of keeping the fairgrounds clean throughout the weekend, but long before the gates of the fair swing open a large team of young people make sure that Rockton Fair really does mean "good clean fun!" It's easy to spot the volunteers - some wear Rockton ribbons, some wear Rockton vests and some wear Rockton hats but - they are ALL smiling! Volunteering brings out the best in people and working with the best in people inspires optimism even in the face of pessimism.

As a lifelong rural volunteer, it isn't difficult to figure out why so many people - of all ages - give back so much of their time, talent and energy to the community. Most volunteers will tell you that they get more than they give. Ask any one of this small army why they work year-round for multiple causes and give up a large part of their Thanksgiving weekend and you will hear "It's a growth experience. A learning experience. And just plain fun!"

There is a message here for all those who face uncertainty about the future of many non-profit organizations and government services. We must appreciate the value and power of volunteer action.

Volunteers are a vital, valuable, sustainable resource!

Fair volunteers get back more than they give

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The 153rd Rockton World's Fair went into the history books on Thanksgiving weekend, but the volunteers are already gearing up for next year. In the tradition of volunteers everywhere, the 500 associates of Rockton Agricultural Society don't stop when the gates close behind the last patron. More than 60 returned to the Fairgrounds for "cleanup" day on Tuesday and many more are already meeting with committees to plan for 2006.

It's easy to sing the praises of Fair volunteers. This fall season has been especially filled with their spirit of giving. If you enjoy rural events in the west end, you will see many of the same faces over and over again.

For instance, some Rockton Fair people are key volunteers at "The Friends of St. Alban's" - a group dedicated to maintaining the historic Anglican church in Rockton. And if you took a Sunday afternoon stroll one October weekend to the little church at Westfield Heritage Village, you saw more Rockton volunteers - this time in full costume - taking part in a moving memorial service to three of their beloved volunteers.

No wonder we were not surprised to see Rockton Fair volunteers taking part in a special service in Burford to raise funds to build a church where fire had destroyed that community's 170-year- old edifice. Many of us worry over stories of the decline in church attendance and the difficulty of getting youth involved in community activities. "They're too busy!" "They're not interested!"

These statements may be true, some of the time...but not in the rural area around Rockton. The "hospitality" room is organization central for Fair volunteers and the walls are lined with "sign-up" posters for everything from kitchen duty, to ticket sales to garbage cleanup. That's right - garbage cleanup. And the signatures that fill that sheet are entirely those of the Junior Directors of Rockton Fair. You don't want to imagine the sticky details of keeping the fairgrounds clean throughout the weekend, but long before the gates of the fair swing open a large team of young people make sure that Rockton Fair really does mean "good clean fun!" It's easy to spot the volunteers - some wear Rockton ribbons, some wear Rockton vests and some wear Rockton hats but - they are ALL smiling! Volunteering brings out the best in people and working with the best in people inspires optimism even in the face of pessimism.

As a lifelong rural volunteer, it isn't difficult to figure out why so many people - of all ages - give back so much of their time, talent and energy to the community. Most volunteers will tell you that they get more than they give. Ask any one of this small army why they work year-round for multiple causes and give up a large part of their Thanksgiving weekend and you will hear "It's a growth experience. A learning experience. And just plain fun!"

There is a message here for all those who face uncertainty about the future of many non-profit organizations and government services. We must appreciate the value and power of volunteer action.

Volunteers are a vital, valuable, sustainable resource!

Fair volunteers get back more than they give

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The 153rd Rockton World's Fair went into the history books on Thanksgiving weekend, but the volunteers are already gearing up for next year. In the tradition of volunteers everywhere, the 500 associates of Rockton Agricultural Society don't stop when the gates close behind the last patron. More than 60 returned to the Fairgrounds for "cleanup" day on Tuesday and many more are already meeting with committees to plan for 2006.

It's easy to sing the praises of Fair volunteers. This fall season has been especially filled with their spirit of giving. If you enjoy rural events in the west end, you will see many of the same faces over and over again.

For instance, some Rockton Fair people are key volunteers at "The Friends of St. Alban's" - a group dedicated to maintaining the historic Anglican church in Rockton. And if you took a Sunday afternoon stroll one October weekend to the little church at Westfield Heritage Village, you saw more Rockton volunteers - this time in full costume - taking part in a moving memorial service to three of their beloved volunteers.

No wonder we were not surprised to see Rockton Fair volunteers taking part in a special service in Burford to raise funds to build a church where fire had destroyed that community's 170-year- old edifice. Many of us worry over stories of the decline in church attendance and the difficulty of getting youth involved in community activities. "They're too busy!" "They're not interested!"

These statements may be true, some of the time...but not in the rural area around Rockton. The "hospitality" room is organization central for Fair volunteers and the walls are lined with "sign-up" posters for everything from kitchen duty, to ticket sales to garbage cleanup. That's right - garbage cleanup. And the signatures that fill that sheet are entirely those of the Junior Directors of Rockton Fair. You don't want to imagine the sticky details of keeping the fairgrounds clean throughout the weekend, but long before the gates of the fair swing open a large team of young people make sure that Rockton Fair really does mean "good clean fun!" It's easy to spot the volunteers - some wear Rockton ribbons, some wear Rockton vests and some wear Rockton hats but - they are ALL smiling! Volunteering brings out the best in people and working with the best in people inspires optimism even in the face of pessimism.

As a lifelong rural volunteer, it isn't difficult to figure out why so many people - of all ages - give back so much of their time, talent and energy to the community. Most volunteers will tell you that they get more than they give. Ask any one of this small army why they work year-round for multiple causes and give up a large part of their Thanksgiving weekend and you will hear "It's a growth experience. A learning experience. And just plain fun!"

There is a message here for all those who face uncertainty about the future of many non-profit organizations and government services. We must appreciate the value and power of volunteer action.

Volunteers are a vital, valuable, sustainable resource!