Volunteer Requirement Change

Volunteer Requirement Change

SUGGESTION: I would like to voice my opinion on the removal of Volunteer Hours. This is a organization that requires a lot of different volunteers to run a successful show. As I attend the shows I always see the same volunteers at each and every show. When you continue to have the same volunteers at each show that is what leads to BURN OUT. There should be a requirement as well as an incentive for people to volunteer to belong to seda. As far as the juniors go, I think they should be required to have volunteer hours also. This not only teaches them how to help, but also teaches all aspects of what is needed for a show.

If the juniors are not taught how to volunteer now, how are they going to volunteer as adults.

A suggestion that was made to me, is that maybe if there were some classes held to teach people the different parts of volunteering they would learn and want to help. The biggest hurdle to over come is fear of the unknown. Maybe a scribing class, scoring class, etc.- Then people could learn how it is done and would feel more comfortable volunteering. This change of volunteer hours should have been polled to the general membership.

RESPONSE:  First, on behalf of the SEDA Board, thank you for your submission. This is a great example of what we had hoped could be achieved by offering the suggestion box – a venue for constructive criticism and grievances. We especially thank you for this particular submission because it affords us a perfect opportunity to introduce our initiative ideas for volunteering during the coming year. And we sincerely hope you get involved! One thing you mention in your submission is very true – horse shows and events struggle to get volunteers and ultimately wind up relying on the same group of, as you describe, BURNT OUT volunteers, over and over. Logic would then dictate, that our current volunteer requirement is simply not working. Instead of actually volunteering, members are paying the fee. This is not what we need.

Money is nice but we need people to put on these events!

Our focus over the coming year will be to implement a volunteer program that will promote volunteerism in a spirit of asking – rather than demanding. We hope to create a committee (maybe you will help??) that will focus on cultivating incentives for volunteerism. Over the past many months, the Board has interviewed numerous other clubs on a variety of topics, volunteering included. We learned that SEDA is in the same boat in our struggles to get help putting on shows and events. Many clubs have had success with focusing on simply asking people directly. Apparently, folks appreciate both being asked and then appreciated. These are the elements we hope to focus on in our coming year of experimenting with no volunteer requirement. Mentoring and instruction focusing on training volunteers is also part of the plan so again, we hope that you and other volunteer conscious members will help us implement the plan. We specifically hope to offer some mini-sessions of training for volunteers to help them understand things like scribing and bit checking, but these will be of no value if no one comes. Participation is important. We plan to offer programs but their continued success will depend on membership response and participation. We need everyone!!

As far as Juniors volunteering, many do. Juniors are an important component of our volunteer force. We agree that our youth need to learn the value of helping others, and also take advantage of the opportunity to learn new skills. We also realize that this is a commitment on the part of parents, many of whom are stretched very thin and simply cannot accommodate ‘one more thing’. Previously, Juniors were not required to volunteer, although many did. As we move forward, more of our young riders – and subsequently their parents – will be asked to volunteer at events. We are hopeful that direct contact and perhaps a little persuasion will increase the number of Juniors who choose to get involved. If you know any young riders who wish to volunteer but perhaps have no way of getting to events, we encourage you and all of our members to step in and offer them a ride, and even some mentoring! We hope to have many more Juniors involved in volunteering during the coming year as we try a more “kinder, gentler” approach!

And finally, in order to effectively lead, the Board must have the freedom to make informed decisions. It might surprise you to know how MANY important decisions are made at even one Board meeting. We would love to have more membership input and encourage everyone to get involved. Nothing can replace the value of live, one-on-one discussion on a topic. Perspective on both sides of an issue are presented and decisions then made accordingly. Regarding polls, historically the response to them has been minuscule so the results are not validly representative of the membership’s opinion. For the most part, the Board makes what we feel are good decisions at the time and then we see how it goes; if we find it does not work, then we will reconsider our options. None of this is written in stone; we grow and change by trying new things until we find what works best – for now – for our membership!

Your SEDA board has worked very hard this year implementing numerous changes that we hope will make the club more user friendly, make SEDA life generally easier, adopt ideas and programs that promote fairness, as well as create a greater sense of community and inclusiveness in our membership.

We hope to see you and many others SEDA members become involved in our upcoming volunteer program and perhaps also see you at future Board meetings. Again, thank you for you submission. It is much appreciated.

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