Humans are communal by nature. We tend to work in groups and seek out like minded people to share our interests and passions with. The benefits of forming common interest groups are many: fellowship, sharing, learning and mentoring. All of these benefits bring joy, a sense of self-worth and self-growth. Most of these groups are successfully built on the backs of volunteers who give their time, energy and concern to them.
I’ve always been a joiner. I also am a helper and a teacher. Joining groups throughout my life has fulfilled the communal needs I share as a human. I currently am, or have been, a member of or attended meetings with these bead groups: Toronto Bead Society, Niagara Bead Society, West Toronto Beading Guild, Grand River Bead Society, Great Lakes Beaders Guild. I have given thousands of volunteer hours as Programming Coordinator and then Chair of the TBS. My bottom line is ensuring that members have a great experience at meetings, make new friends, learn something new and share something too.
Involvement takes effort. I urge everyone, though, to make an effort commensurate with the time and energy they have to give. It will make your bead society better than it is right now and it will definitely make you better at your chosen craft and a better person for caring.
My only caution is to not let your personal life suffer for it, nor to make the group a closed, and therefore closed-minded, one. Once that happens, and a clique forms, the will of the group falls by the wayside and the rule of the few takes over. All volunteers deserve respect. All members deserve a voice. Strive to make any group you join an inclusive one. Everyone’s contribution counts as much as the next person’s.