Old Diary

Needed a Fix

After talking about confined spaces yesterday I guess I needed a wide open spaces fix!


Our Packed Earth Dam



Across to the beach


Opposite the dam

It was grocery day — a day off — so we got out for a little drive through the country side and while we were at the other side of the lake I decided to give you a little idea of the lake.


I’m told there are Bass, crappies and a variety of other pan fish in the lake.  There are a  lot of fishermen that come to fish in NON-motorized boats.  The lake is posted for no motors.  Also, on the Rush River (nearby) I’m told there’s pretty decent trout fishing.  You won’t find as many boats here as a some of the CORPS campgrounds but fishing is still a big thing.


I wanted to talk a little about moderation as a function of volunteering.  Please bear in mind that I’m a guy who was self-employeed for much of my life — so I look at things like “work” differently than someone who worked-for-wages their entire life.

Whenever we volunteer it’s a real balancing act for us to find that happy balance between working and not working.  For one thing I think the lack of balance was one reason I was so quick to accept this gig.  Wandering around the country without purpose wasn’t entirely fulfilling even though we were having fun.

But the more important aspect of finding balance relates to what you do when you’re in place, on your volunteer gig.  And we have witnessed this from both sides of the coin — having been volunteers, and having been volunteer coordinators who hired other volunteers.

While at The Dunes, we had volunteers who had been on the job for years — and it was easy to see how they had become overly posssessive.  The property was no longer the Forest Service’s — in their mind it was THEIRs. They treated everything as if they owned it and could become no little bit miffed at campers and staff when something was done that they didn’t like.  That’s no way to be a volunteer.  You have to remember that no matter how long you’re on the job, you’re still just a volunteer.  I witnessed a couple folks who got so possessive that the staff ended up removing them from their post — abruptly.

There are also those who are laggards,  the ones who don’t want to do whatever the gig requires — all they want is aplace to hang out.  They are quickly discovered.  If the ogranization can find a replacement they don’t last long, and if replacements cannot be found they are… tolerated…. but no one has a good time because of their presence.

In between is a wide range of styles — flavored by our individual personalities.

  • Organizations may want more of less from a volunteer.
  • Volunteers may want more or less from the organization.

For Peg and I, we have seen volunteers at campgrounds who are being asked to do a ridiculous amount in exchange for their free camping site.  And there have been a couple who did virtually nothing — but the organization was actually happy with the little being done.  And there are others like us who are asked less than we are willing to do, and sometimes go looking for extra projects that we can do to help out.


You’ve heard the expression, putting the cart before the horse… think about how that migh apply to volunteering.

But the key to volunteering — I think — is that the volunteer always need to be in harmony with the organization’s goals.  I don’t think a lot of volunteers think about that.  I know I’ve heard other volunteers who bring along with them  their experience from a very different gig in a very different place and try to enforce a new way of doing things on a system that’s been in place for years — and has worked quite well.  They can’t understand why everyone doesn’t fall in love with their way of doing things.  Or they get upset when their way of doing things is rejected and they are forced to use the system in place.


The reality of this situation isn’t only true of RV volunteers.  It’s true of people wanting to bring their life’s experience to other situations — volunteer or otherwise.  You can see it in hospital volunteers and humane society volunteers;  in museum docents and in reading tutors — people want to be valued for who they are, but they don’t always consider that others don’t do things their way for very good reasons.

I don’t know about you, but I find that the older I get the more challenging it can be to appreciate different ways of being. This is part of the reason that I travel, and part of the reason I love traveling.  Being around people of other backgrounds, people with other objectives,  people with other circumstances reminds me there are many ways to do the same thing.  There are many ways of being.  There are many cultures.  We have one, but others are equally functional — just different from ours.

Goodness knows this nation is having a crisis.  Too many people don’t want to accept that alternative ways of doing things can be just as good as their way.  We see it in politics, we see it in the societal issues of gender and race and income equality.  It’s hard to look anywhere but that we won’t see people arguing about why their way is better than someone else’s way — of anything!

Personally, I’m happy with the gig we have right here.  We’re appreciated. (I don’t say that as if it’s unusual — everywhere we’ve been, even when we aren’t volunteers, I have always heard paid staff speak highly of the help they get from volunteers even when the volunteers don’t think they are appreciated)  The duties we’re asked to perform are doable within the time expected.  We’re off by ourselves and not bothered about things that are responsibliity.  And, we don’t have to live in a volunteer village — we just aren’t  that  sociable!  For us, this is a good fit.  It might not be for others, but it works for us.

I hope we never get to the place where we think just because we have been here we know everything. It’s like what happened last evening.  Acouple of campers asked us about the Bald Eagle nest. We knew there was one here, but we hadn’t had time to hike the trail and find it.  Because the other couple commented on not being able to find it, that was a good excuse for us to stop what we were doing, take the time, and scout it out. Now we can tell 0thers how to find it when they ask.  We learned something — and we try to learn something every day.

I want to remember this saying:

“You aren’t required to set yourself on fire
in order to make people warm.”

It’s a good reminder to me as someone that likes to do things for others.  There are limits and it’s good to remember them.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here to chat again in the morning.  Cheers!


2 thoughts on “Needed a Fix

  1. Mrs. P says:

    Your quote is a good reminder of the limits you must set for yourself. Like you, I tend to want to do more than what is originally asked for. I like to keep busy but too often wanting to do extra one time suddenly becomes an expectation every time. So when I choose to do more I make sure to preface it with having some extra time or something along that line so they see this is extra, not necessarily now in addition to the regular work.


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