|Help Wanted Thinking Out Loud, March 6, 2005
Today is a Sunday afternoon, and Kathy [Weir], Steve [Elkins] and I are in the CAMP Rehoboth office working on this issue of Letters. A few minutes ago we had lunch together and in the course of our conversation I told them that I was trying to make a conscious effort this year to look for help in some of the CAMP Rehoboth areas that have become my personal responsibility. I even put a note to that effect in my Outlook Tasks list"Look for help in everything," it reads. Several times over the past couple of weeks I have started to delete that note, deeming it a silly waste of space, but each time I held back because of some gut feeling that the simple statement contained something important for me to focus upon. Kathy and Steve, by the way, nodded at my comments and continued eating their pizza, looking at me with a sort of automatic yeah-sure-that's-a-good-idea expression on their faces.
My plan for this Sunday afternoon is to write a CAMPmatters column and then get down to some of the routine work that goes along with each issue of Letters. I have beside me a hastily scribbled note on a tattered piece of paper with a few lines to jog my memory. Nothing. I connect to none of them. And my mind wanders back to the need for help. "Help wanted." I think to myself...and then, "looking for help in all the wrong places." That's not the way the quote goes, of course. It's actually, "looking for love in all the wrong places," which is, I suddenly think, not so far from the same thing.
"Whoa, wait a minute, what is he talking about?" I imagine the comments to be. But think about it. Help, in this case, volunteer commitment to the work of CAMP Rehoboth is a kind of love.
But I digress, and fortunately too I think, because I need to sit back and examine just what kind of help I'm looking for and just exactly what it is I mean by "help wanted."
First I consider CAMP Rehoboth volunteers in generalwe have manyand ponder the notion that all volunteers and all volunteer tasks are not equal. Each volunteer comes with certain talents and abilities. Every task has a specific purpose and requires someone capable of doing it. The key to good volunteer management is, therefore, to align the "certain talents" with the "specific purpose." To put it simply, to know what you need and who is available to do it.
If nothing else, at least I now have two points to think about: #1) In what specific ways do I, Murray Archibald (not to be confused with CAMP Rehoboth in general) have CAMP Rehoboth related tasks that I would be willing to let someone else do? #2) How do I find out who would be available and eager to do each needed task?
Already I can see that the second point is the easiest to do as it only requires the making pubic of my specific needsand I can do that in these pages.
So I go back to point #1, which seems easy until I get to the part about "willing to let someone else do." That's the key, isn't it. "Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher" in Ecclesiastes, "all is vanity...." We all like to think that the work we do is so important that it can only be done by us.
Several times in the past few years, Steve and I have talked about the fact that CAMP Rehoboth will not be truly successful until we are able to let go of it and see it run on its own. Writing that sentence brings a sudden hot press of tears to the back of my eyes and reminds me again that every "child" has to eventually go out on his own. We're not there yet, I know, and I don't have to let go all at once, of course, but I do have to start sometime, even if it's only with a few little "baby steps" from time to time.
And so I resolve to myself this day that I will not remove that little "find help in everything" note on my task list, and I will start a list of things I am willing and able to let go of and that will involve even more people in the ongoing work and life of CAMP Rehoboth.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 2 March 11, 2005