On volunteering

I spent about six hours today — most of the day — putting together a draft of a Web site for South Coast Sustainability Network, a local environmental group. At the end of the day, I realized that I don’t enjoy volunteering which requires me to hunch over a computer screen all day.

My job as a minister is mostly sedentary — I sit in meetings, I respond to email, I write sermons, I sit and talk with people. Yet before I became a minister my jobs were far more active — I worked in a warehouse, I sold building materials, I worked for a carpenter. In my core, I need to be physically active. With a sedentary job, I am not enthusiastic about spending my non-working hours at sedentary tasks. In fact, after spending six hours today working on that new Web site, I was so antsy and so desperate to do something active that I actually lifted weights — and I hate to lift weights.

The problem is that most of the skills I bring to community volunteer work — knowledge of the Web; moderately good committee member; not bad at publicity and marketing — these are all sedentary skills. Maybe what I need are volunteer opportunities that allow me to be outdoors and active.

I think my goal for this new year is to come up with active, outdoors volunteer responsibilities to replace the sedentary, indoors volunteer responsibilities I now have.

4 thoughts on “On volunteering

  1. will shetterly

    We need protest walks in place of marches! Three times a week, groups could walk for a cause at an aerobic pace; on Saturdays, maybe a protest run; on Sundays, a protest bike ride– I like the idea of people constantly circling the White House, peacefully demanding an end to the war while improving their health.

    And I would love to start something like Huts for Humanity that built very small homes for the homeless, but building codes rule that out. (Yes, some people are doing it illegally, but UUs tend to be uncomfortable with property-based illegality.)

  2. Shelby Meyerhoff

    One of the volunteer jobs I’ve most enjoyed is coaching a youth sports team. Given your interest in doing something physical and outdoors, you might really enjoy it too.

  3. h sofia

    I hear ya! And that’s all I can say right now because I need to leave in three minutes for a young adult service project at a park in Portland – yay, outdoor work, in the rain!

  4. Dan

    Will — I’m actually thinking, long-distance protest pilgrimages….

    Shelby — Alas, I’m sports challenged. I used to be a Boy Scout leader, which was right up my alley, but the religious conservatives now have such control over the Scouts that I don’t feel comfortable in that role, not at all.

    h sofia — Envy. Envy. Envy.

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