This month (April) we saw 1500 volunteers cleaning-up our roadsides and beaches. Every one of these wonderful people saw the value of pitching in and doing something for the greater good.
Now, cleaning up is something we all understand and therefore is an easy sell to anyone who really cares about our environment, but what about the not so tangible contributions of volunteerism? What motivates people to give up their free time for the benefit of others? As the CEO of a non-for profit organisation in the Cayman Islands, this is something I am forced to consider a great deal. The classic stereotype of a volunteer is someone who has lots of time to spare and is looking for something to do. This is now rarely the case, with more often than not both men and women out at work and raising a family. This means that already busy people are being called upon to give up their time and commitment levels are often low.
It takes a special person to dedicate their non-working time consistently to a cause and the Chamber is fortunate to have many of these individuals as Council Members. For 45 years we have successfully filled these positions with men and women from all backgrounds, but each with something unique to bring to the table – themselves. But the Council is not the only volunteer opportunity within your Chamber of Commerce.
This year for instance we have committee positions open for the Mentoring Cayman programme and the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. You would be assisting in the development of the programmes and have the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing significantly to the recognition of our youth and educators. Or perhaps you have a particular area of expertise relating to one of the five key Drivers for the Future of Cayman, and you would like to serve on a Driver Group? This is an exciting opportunity for someone who feels they would like to be hands on in the success of Cayman’s future prosperity and sustainability.
Another area for involvement is within the Public Sector Reviews teams. The Chamber has assisted in the completion of two such reviews to date and we have once again been invited to evaluate other government departments for their efficiency and cost cutting. You don’t have to be a high level business executive; anyone who can bring the necessary experience and the desire to be part of the solution will be considered.
And what if you don’t have any business experience but you still want to have a valuable contribution to your Chamber? There are plenty of opportunities! From administration to registration we are always looking for help with our events and programmes. Business After Hours, the Careers, Education, Training & Jobs Expo, the Business Expo, the Earth Day Roadside Clean-Up… all these activities need people to make them a success.
For those of you who would like to develop your skills as a volunteer, our Leadership Cayman programme focuses on educating and enhancing leadership abilities so that you may be better equipped to lead in the area of community support and advocacy. Graduates leave the programme able to add to the quality and capacity of community services and can provide enthusiasm, extra resources and in many instances much needed skills in a volunteer capacity. If you feel this is something you would like to know more about you can go online at www.leadershipcayman.ky.
So let me leave you with this. Volunteerism is the ultimate gift to your community. It is a statement that says “I understand that I am part of a bigger picture”. It is for the majority of us a selfless act. Whether you’re a high-level business executive or a retired senior citizen we all have something to offer. I encourage you to think of ways you can make a difference – and think of all the benefits: you help others, it will make you feel good about yourself, you will make new friends, you can use the opportunity to try out a job, you can add it your resume, and you can develop new skills – everybody benefits!
Anyone interested in volunteering for the Chamber can contact me at wil[email protected] or visit the Chamber website www.caymanchamber.ky