Fitting volunteerism into your busy life


By Kathy Cool

Darke County Parks

Whether you are a busy working parent or a single person working a stressful job, a stay-at-home mom, or a retiree who has some free time on your hands, you will most likely get asked to volunteer your time for the Darke County Parks or some other organization!

As the Volunteer Coordinator for the Darke County Parks, I spend many hours calling and recruiting our database of volunteers to help with all kinds of events! As I have gotten to know most of our regular volunteers, I have learned what most like to help with. Some of our volunteers cannot physically do strenuous tasks but are always willing to donate baked goods or other donations needed for programming and events.

For many of the big events like Prairie Days, the Luminary Event, Candle Light Dinners, and our Maple Syrup Waffle Breakfast, I start calling and sending out emails to the volunteers months ahead of time! These large events take many hours and volunteers to make the event successful. It could not happen without volunteers manning stations, putting up decorations, donating supplies, and just helping with all the little things that are needed in order to make the event happen.

At Darke County Parks we use volunteers to help with school programs, animal care, answering phones at both the Nature Center and the Bish Discovery Building and handling maintenance items such as cutting and splitting wood, stacking wood, maintenance of trails and the bike path, and helping to gather sap or boiling the sap in the spring.

When I was working full time, my boss asked me if I would want to get involved in an organization that meant something to me. At that time, I wasn’t sure if I would have the time to donate, but since I was familiar with Darke County Parks, I decided to approach them and sign up. Thus, began my volunteer work with the parks. I could only donate one Saturday a month at first but as I became more and more familiar with the great staff and other volunteers, I started volunteering more and more, and eventually became employed with the parks after I retired from my real job! I say real job, because this job is so much more fun!

If anyone is interested in learning more about the parks and our volunteer opportunities, please call the park office at 937-548-0165 or email [email protected]. You can also go to our website and read all the information about the parks and what activities are coming up in the future.

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