Have you ever thought of donating your time to improve your local equestrian scene? As someone who jumped at the chance to be on the board of my local USDF Group Member Organization, let me enlighten you about the things that make it truly special:

Group Text Messages
grouptextForget emailing, calling, or having frequent meetings. Group texting is where it’s at! From topics ranging from where to hold the schooling show to who needs to buy the staple gun, all business that can be conducted by group text will be conducted by group text. Your phone will never stop blinking/vibrating/beeping. You will also never figure out whose number has the weird area code.

Two hour meetings
If it can’t be addressed via group text, the next step is meeting in person, preferably at a fast-casual restaurant that is local to no one. (It’s only fair that everyone has to drive!) The meeting will have only the most basic of agendas and will be conducted by a person who has never heard of Robert’s Rules of Order. Many topics will be addressed, but nothing will actually be decided. No one will take notes, so at the next meeting, no one remembers what was previously discussed.

Ungrateful membership

Despite your best efforts to spend the organization’s money on its members via low-cost riding clinics, junior rider camps, schooling show venues that offer level arenas and parking that doesn’t require four-wheel drive, the membership will not be pleased. They will complain that the warm-up arena is outdoors. They will complain that $35 is way too much to pay for semi-private lesson in clinic. They will ask why there isn’t an adult camp; you will plan one, but no one will sign up and you’ll have to pay the clinician anyway. Occasionally, a nice person will send you a nice note thanking you for your excellent management of a schooling show. This person is the only reason you continue to punish yourself.

Never competing
Your competent and efficient management of one schooling show now means you are forever entangled in the schooling show management process. You will advise on spreadsheets for ride times. You will post on the group’s website and social media accounts. At the show itself, you will show people how to type scores into an Excel file. You find the missing stapler and are the only person who knows how to put a new roll of paper on the adding machine. You will be so involved in managing the show that you warm up your horse for approximately 45 seconds before your ride time; subsequently, you will score terribly and decide to stop competing for the season because you just don’t have time when you’re co-managing all the shows. (Ironically, the whole reason you joined the club is so you could win sweet year-end awards.)

Anyone else have experience with the benefits of volunteering?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

8 thoughts on “Volunteering”

  1. haha i’m trying to participate and volunteer more for my local organizations – but within reason. having gone down the path you outlined with other non-horsey professional organizations i’m pretty firm about setting limits now (or at least, that’s what i tell myself!)

    1. I try to set limits, but I always end up volunteering to do things because I’m afraid they won’t get done unless I do them. The struggle is real!!

  2. Yes, I feel you! Any kind of volunteering commitment can become overwhelming but I agree with Emma about setting limits. I recently stepped down from a volunteer organization I’ve been involved with for many years. Its hard but its the right thing for me right now.

  3. This is *exactly* why I don’t volunteer anymore. Just last weekend I heard a complaint about children running the clock for jumper classes. I said its because they have run all the adult volunteers away!!!

    1. It’s so true! It’s hard to find people to volunteer because it seems to daunting to people! I’m not sure it would be easier with more people anyway, because then you have to coordinate them!

    1. I don’t mind when people email, unless they start freaking out when I haven’t replied within an hour, especially when it’s 10 AM on a Tuesday and I AM AT WORK.

      I really hate calling. I HATE CALLING.

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