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Magazine

Magazine » President's Report September/October 2013

President's Report September/October 2013

Author:
Lydia T. Scardina, President, USA Dance

THE VALUE OF LONG TIME VOLUNTEERS TO USA DANCE

Have you ever wondered why some members go on year after year serving as volunteers in USA Dance, while others come in for a brief period of time, and then fade away? I believe that more than anything else, what differentiates these two types of volunteers is their knowledge of USA Dance and their expectations when offering to lend a hand.

USA Dance is a volunteer organization from top to bottom, and relies on volunteers at every level to keep its programs going. We would not have the social dances, workshops, special events and competitions we do today without volunteers who give freely of their time to make such activities happen.

I have heard that being a volunteer is its own reward, and I believe this to be true. People volunteer in an organization because they enjoy the volunteer assignment and the sense of fulfillment it gives them, and also because they believe in what the organization is doing. Those who volunteer only because they think it will enhance their resume usually fall by the wayside before long, because they are thinking more about what they can get from, rather than what they can give to an organization.

USA Dance appreciates all of its volunteers, whether they have just started volunteering or have been volunteers for many years. The value to our organization of our long-time volunteers is particularly great, and it is frequently the case that those who have agreed to serve in elected or appointed positions at the Chapter, District or National level are, in fact, the very people our organization can rely on not only to do the job they were elected or appointed to do, but also volunteer for other assignments when no one else steps forward. And when such volunteers leave office, they take years of experience and institutional knowledge with them that the organization cannot easily replace.

That is why many chapters as well as the National Governing Council try to keep long-time volunteers in their positions as long as they are willing to serve, at the same time that they bring in new volunteers who have already proven their abilities and commitment through past service to USA Dance and have shown themselves ready to assume higher office as vacancies occur through retirement or resignation. In this way, chapter boards and the Governing Council can benefit from both the institutional knowledge and experience of the long-time volunteers while grooming newer ones for available positions.

On the Governing Council, we have a healthy mix of members, some of whom have served on the GC only a few months, balanced by others who have served our organization for a decade and in some cases longer, and can provide the necessary long term historical perspective that an organization needs as it develops and matures. Many of these outstanding individuals also serve on or assist their local chapter boards at the same time, and all are worthy of our admiration and thanks for their efforts on behalf of USA Dance, because where would we be without their deep knowledge of our organization as well as their dedication and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, year in and year out.

USA Dance is indeed fortunate to be able to rely on experienced volunteers at every level. So all of you long-time volunteers out there, at the Chapter, District and National levels, give yourselves a big hand – you've earned it and our organization would be the poorer without you.