A great use of free time
St. Paul is a town that thrives on volunteer support. Whether it's running a local sports team or running into a burning building, this community finds its strength in coming together.
I moved here from a more metropolitan area, in Ontario, one where people passing on the street rarely know one another, where fire departments feature a full paid staff, and volunteering is looked at by many as working without pay.
One of the first things I saw when I moved here was a banner hanging from a street lamp that read: St. Paul's volunteers are out of this world! At the time, still consumed by the gimmick of a UFO landing pad in my new town, I got a kick out of it, but I soon came to realize just how true it was and how important volunteering is to communities like this. And soon enough, I found myself volunteering on a regular basis.
I'll admit I never did much volunteering before moving out to St. Paul, but now that I've spent a year in this town I don't think I will ever give it up.
Anyone who knows me knows that free time comes at a premium, but rather than spend the lot of it lazing around at home (although sometimes that is needed), I've chosen to spend a good deal of it involved with local sports organizations, and if I'm lucky, work and volunteering cross paths.
Currently, I am coaching kickers and receivers with the St. Paul Lions as well as coaching U8/10 and U12 futsal with the St. Paul Soccer Association, and they are both highly rewarding uses of my free time.
Sure, it can be stressful leaving the office to go home and grab a pair of cleats to run off to practice, only to have to go from practice to cover something for work, but it's worth it. I never realized how rewarding a simple "Thanks Coach!" can be at the end of the day, until I actually put on the whistle.
One of the greatest things about volunteering is that it's not a chore, it's something you choose to do. Every volunteer position is important, and while they don't all appeal to the same people, they come in many forms.
From coaching, to helping run a local club, to the invaluable service of volunteering as a member of a local fire department, it all goes toward making someone smile, yourself included.
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