Steward Fred Allebach recently coordinated with the local Rotary club to come out for two work days on the trail this month. The first one, with “Sunrise” Rotary, was held today. The large group, including entire families with young children, worked on several areas of the trail in two groups — one led by Fred and the other by me.
The work included:
Putting in a drain and laying gravel on the middle portion of the main steps at the trail entrance to deal with a muddy area.
Laying down a thin layer of gravel on the second set of steps (enclosed with railroad ties) a short distance along the trail from the steps (see picture).
Berm and drain work at the loop at the top of the trail (see picture).
Given the size of the group and their eagerness, we were done with what we had set out to accomplish within 2 hours. The children were enthusiastic and very helpful.
I confess: I have begun writing a post many times in the past to talk about why we Overlook stewards give of our time, energy and essence to this endeavor, and why it matters. Each time, the words simply didn’t come, and so I would delete the post without publishing it. Today, I’d like to attempt to speak for the team on the notion of why we do it.
There are many benefits to being of service, to giving back to your local community or the global good. These may include recognition, accolades, credit, and even occasional material rewards. You tend to meet some of the best and most interesting people when you volunteer, and it’s a fantastic way to network. Plus it looks great on your resumé!
There are also physiological benefits to volunteering as long as you perform it willingly: studies show that acts of service encourage your body to generate telomerase, an enzyme that helps to heal the ends of your chromosomes. And if you work the trails like some of us, it’s an excellent source of cardio and weight bearing. 🙂
This is all wonderful, and reason enough. Far beyond that, however, I can tell you that there is a stunning depth of satisfaction in one’s life that is born and thrives when one devotes oneself to these acts even in small stints. It doesn’t matter what cause you choose as long as you help to drive it towards the best outcome. Push the spinning wheel a bit further onwards, chop wood, carry water. Just jump in somewhere and you will eventually find the work that jives with what you have to offer. As you do, you and your comrades, you will find the real reward, the one that words can’t describe.