(Published in the North Grenville Times, Nov., 2013)
As the Christmas season begins to gear up, why would you want to spend your quickly evaporating spare time working at something for free, to benefit people you barely know? It’s a very busy time of year and you’re busy already! You’re not a miserly person, you donate at home and at the office; you drop your spare change in the box – perhaps even at bit more this time of year. Well, there are some things money can’t buy and one of them is community. Community has to be built and built by participation; by getting involved.
As a relative “newbie” to North Grenville, I’m in awe at the level of civic participation in this community. It goes far beyond the typical degree of involvement in sports leagues, extra-curricular school activities, amateur theatre, church fundraisers etc. found in other places I’ve lived. People in North Grenville have figured out that when you give, you get so much more back and so, volunteering has become almost part of the culture as the “payback” is experienced time and time again by people living here.
I believe generousity is a defining feature of the community inKemptville and the surrounding area. It’s a feature that, I’m sure, is part of the attraction to people who are looking for a place to live, start a family and/or retire. I’m even more confident that it’s a feature that keeps people from leaving.
Volunteering is about other people – their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. I wrote in October about the volunteer opportunities in Old Town to create some wonderful memories for your kids, grand-kids, nieces and nephews. You have another chance on November 30th (Old Town Christmas). There are many ways to get involved, whether assisting the Kemptville Kinsmen Farmers’ Market folks at the Artisan Market in the Old Armoury, working with the Kemptville Fire Service at the fire barrels downtown, caroling with the 1st Grenville Militia on Prescott or Clothier streets or helping children shop for their siblings and parents at the Kid’s Emporium at the North Pole (in the former Advance Building).
Volunteering is never for you; it’s for others. It’s about community and the connections that get fostered through contributing. When you give of your time, you get a lot back. Help us to create a family friendly downtown this Christmas, one that is a dynamic and vibrant cultural centre in North Grenville; become a Friend of Downtown and give us a bit of your time.