Have you ever wondered why people volunteer to help out at AAPO? Have you ever considered doing so but are just not sure of the benefit to you? Have you ever wanted to volunteer but don't feel you have the confidence/skills/years of experience required? Well, by the end of this article I hope you'll feel encouraged to jump in and do your bit to shape the industry in our neck of the woods.
At our recent conference, I had the great pleasure of catching up with people I rarely meet face to face but with whom I've shared many phone calls, skype calls and meetings. Working closely with these people, learning from them, facing challenges and problem-solving together, achieving results as a team, creates a close bond. It was great to see them in person and celebrate our year's achievements. And it reminded me of all the things I get from volunteering my time for AAPO.
While at the conference I was very pleased to have people approach me, and others in leadership, with offers of help. Sometimes these were for a specific task, and sometimes just "I'd like to volunteer, please tell me how I can help." Woo hoo! AAPO really needs people like that who are willing to get stuck in and take on a task, no matter how small... or large!
During conference, as a way to get people mixing, we played a networking game. You had to meet various people and ask questions of them. One such question was, "What's one benefit of being an AAPO volunteer?" We've collected the responses and here is a brief summary -
- You get to know a lot about a lot!
- Being part of the decision-making team
- Learnt a lot
- Increased learning opportunities and networking
- Building rapport
- Strengthening professional relationships
- Feeling and being important in the industry
- Giving back
- Working with organisers
- Help to improve AAPO
- Stretching comfort zones
- Being able to influence the direction of the industry
- Helping build our industry
Convinced yet? Perhaps you'd like to do something but you feel "too new", not confident, not experienced enough? When AAPO started 6 years ago, I was "new". I was new to the career as well as in business, and joining the AAPO committee as a committee member was one of the best things I ever did. I'm still learning to this day, and that's one of the biggest take-aways for me.
These days there are so many positions available for anyone willing to lend a hand, and you'll be working in partnership with others who can offer guidance and assistance. All it takes is to ask "How can I help?"
One of my favourite photos from our conference in Christchurch is of our President's Award winners - check it out here. See the joy on their faces? That comes from knowing you've made a difference. It comes from giving but also receiving. Will you say, "I'll have what she's having?"