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
Forget 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.
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.
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?