For the Love of Volunteering

Guest Post by Sandra Kowalski

My mother always said, “Give what you possess.” When is the last time you offered your time and talents without pay?

As a new volunteer docent at the Sedona Heritage Museum and someone who has the gift of gab (I’ve been told), I have come to believe that the pleasure is all mine.

Here are my six top reasons for feeling this way:

  1. The Museum attracts visitors from all over the world, and while on duty I have met folks from Russia, South Korea, France, Singapore, and throughout the USA. It’s fun seeing the close attention these visitors pay to our local history, and answering their questions about how the pioneer families lived. There’s something special about representing Sedona in this way.
  2. I get to experience visitors’ joy when they are reminded of childhood experiences. Comments like, “This is just like my grandparent’s house!” or “My grandfather owned a tractor like that one,” are common and are usually followed by a smile brought on by good memories. Priceless!
  3. I spend time applying content learned in the American History classes of my youth. Lessons on “The Homestead Act,” “proving up,” “Civilian Conservation Corps,” “cattle drives,” “cow punching,” and “self-sufficiency” are useful to me now. Sister Marietta would be proud.
  4. I have fun learning about practical items and terms which I can explain to visitors (not to mention family and friends), like “smudge pot” (not the eye shadow!), “cooling cabinet,” “tent cabin,” “apple sorter,” and “waterwheel.” Did I mention “docent?”
  5. Opportunities for me to participate in fun events abound: interviewing artist Claudia Cooke at the annual Arts & Crafts Fair, “Mondays at the Museum” workshops and demos, Mike Peach’s cowboy humor shows, and the wildly popular tours of pioneer homesteads in Oak Creek Canyon and Red Rock seem to bring out the best in me.
  6. Last, but certainly not least, I enjoy working with the other volunteers and staff who all contribute to making the Sedona Heritage Museum one of the “top things to do” in Sedona. Docents with whom I’ve worked, like Kate, Joan, Susan, Terry, Loretta, Clancy, Valerie, and Linda, and others who foster projects and events, like Janeen, Lisa, Nicole, Ron, and Paul-to name a few- all give of themselves and have assisted in training me so that everyone who visits has the best experience possible. They are a bunch of fun people, and we enjoy lots of food and laughs together. They can become your friends too!

If you would like to volunteer and have fun at the same time, stop by and visit us. Learn about the range of opportunities that exist for someone with talents like yours.

See my interview below with local artist, Claudia Cooke:

Fellow volunteers, what are some of your top reasons for volunteering?

2 thoughts on “For the Love of Volunteering

  1. I have volunteered with the museum since my early childhood! I’ve been able to learn so much, meet so many amazing people and fall in love with our local history. Thanks for sharing Sandra!

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