Column: Giving thanks to the volunteers

ESCANABA — Our community has many reasons to celebrate, from great people, great outdoors, and great opportunities.

The week of April 18th gives us another reason to celebrate — it’s National Volunteer Week. National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

Many volunteer organizations throughout our area improve the quality of life for many. These groups thrive for two major reasons: they help others, and they have fun doing it.

I believe that in our waterfront community, it’s our nature to help others. Still, I know, the busyness of life gets in the way.

Strength through numbers is why these volunteer groups do so well. Look at it this way, there is only so much we can do as individuals. Sure, we can stop by an elderly neighbor’s home and offer to shovel snow or rake leaves. Or we can help donate some money to a young student, helping them with their college expenses. We can pick up some extra groceries and drop them off to someone who is down on their luck. Those are all positive endeavors and should be applauded.

Now, look what our local volunteer groups do by utilizing strength through numbers. By raising funds to benefit others and/or providing valuable services, the positive impact of these groups is profound. If you haven’t made the time to join one of these groups, now is a great time to reconsider.

As an individual, if you spend a couple hours a month reaching out to others, it’s a definite help. But join a group that has 30 or 40 members or more, and when each of those members pitches in just one or two hours a month, that impact grows at an incredible rate.

Many people who take part in volunteer activities say the reward they give others is nothing compared to the personal, positive reward they receive in helping others ~ it just plain feels good.

It’s easy to understand that many hands make light work. In joining a volunteer organization, your efforts are multiplied over and over again. The impact is real and it’s great. Everyone can help, and every person has individual strengths that dovetail well with others in the group. There’s no task too large that can’t be nibbled away at by a good group of caring local residents.

The most successful volunteer groups have a secret they’d like to share with prospective members: they have fun, and they’d like you to be a part of it. Along with rolling up their sleeves and getting to work, they also celebrate with good humor and good times. It’s all about good people with diversified abilities coming together to pitch in.

The Delta County Area Chamber of Commerce is supported by many volunteers. Perhaps the most visible is our Ambassadors of Delta County. The Ambassadors of Delta County are volunteers who like to help people feel welcome and acquainted in this community. They participate in ribbon-cuttings and open houses and serve as hosts and hostesses at community events such as the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass, “Lunch with the Governor,” Professional Fishing Tournaments, the U.P. State Fair, Business After Hours and other networking opportunities, and the annual Chamber Golf outing.

If your business is planning something special, such as a ribbon cutting or open house and you would like the help of the Ambassadors, let us know!

This active group of community representatives is always looking for new members. If you are interested or know of someone who would make a great Ambassador of our community, contact the Chamber at 786-2192.

Personally speaking, it’s a pleasure to serve. National Volunteer Week is a great time to celebrate all that dedicated volunteers do. If you’re already part of a volunteer group — or two or three — thank you! If you’ve always wanted to help, but just didn’t find the perfect time to take that first step, DO IT NOW! Your efforts will be compounded thanks to the efforts of other volunteers, you’ll feel great, and it really doesn’t take a ton of time. The pleasure will truly be all yours.

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Vickie Micheau is executive director of the Delta County Chamber of Commerce


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