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Wow, I finally got a webcomic drawn and posted! It’s been like, forever!
Seriously though, it has been a month since I last posted a webcomic. The reason, of course, is because it was Girl Scout cookie season, again, and I let my life get taken over by Girl Scout cookie season, again.
The problem is partly the organization I volunteer for. Girl Scouts demands a lot from its volunteers, and I understand this. We work with girls who need us to be responsible, keep them safe, and offer them opportunities to do things that are fun and exciting. That requires training, certifications, background checks, the ability to handle finances, the ability to plan and conduct training, and so on, and so on, and so on. Basically, all the things I used to do in the Army Reserves. Only without the paycheck to go with it.
So I understand that, and I agree with that. But…
I’m not sure Girl Scouts understands what it’s asking of its volunteers. I mean, in a way, they do. They know what’s at stake when it comes to working with girls. But I don’t think they understand the demand these requirements puts on its volunteers. I volunteer at least 10 hours a week. And some weeks I volunteer more. A lot, lot more. During cookie season, I could end up volunteering 60 hours a week. Keep in mind that some weeks during cookie season I am also hosting the troop meeting (we have one 5-hour meeting a month), running cookie booths, handling accounting for cookie sales, making deposits of cookie money at the bank, preparing for Scout Sunday, preparing for Thinking Day, attending those events, and more. And doing all that is exhausting.
I read an article recently that talked about the ideal amount of hours to volunteer. And the number they gave was 100-800 hours. Less than that didn’t give the volunteers the same boost of happiness. More than that left volunteers burned out. Now 100-800 hours seems like one hell of a range, but the article also mentioned that there were no benefits to volunteering more than 100 hours. And I’d say they’re right about that. I’d be happy if I could cut my volunteering back to just 5-10 hours a week. That would put me at around 250-500 hours a year, as opposed to what I volunteer now.
But how to get those hours down? That’s where I have to admit that I’m part of the problem.
Yes, Girl Scouts asks a lot. But that doesn’t mean I always have to say ‘yes’ when they ask something of me. I need to start learning how to say ‘no.’ And there may be some folks I work with in Girl Scouts who will be disappointed to hear me say no. But I’m thinking that the organization as a whole will understand. Girl Scouts needs dedicated volunteers; it doesn’t need burned-out volunteers. And so I’m making the choice to step back from some of my volunteering so that I can do a better job at what I still intend to volunteer for, and so I don’t feel resentful about volunteering.
And then maybe I won’t be so tired that I try to type my emails on my cat 🙂