Contact Jen Lamont to volunteer at the next competition.

In the midst of a grueling highland dance competition while the dancers are pounding feet against the floor and the bagpipes flood the air, it takes a very particular person to notice the volunteers and their efforts to bring the entire competition together. They are often unseen and barely noticed in the sweat and energy of the day. But, they build the competition from the bottom up: appearing before anyone else for setup, remaining during the day to run line-up, the marking room and at the microphone, and staying later to cleanup.

Volunteering is fun and rewarding, and if you are interested in volunteering at the next competition or have any questions about where you can help out, please contact Jen Lamont.

It’s a pretty common mistake to think of volunteering as just something nice that people can do. Sure, it may make them feel great about helping, but what impact does it really have?

Getting things done

Volunteers have an enormous impact on the health and well-being of our highland communities worldwide. Think of all the ways that volunteers make a difference in the competitive life of our dancers:

  • Volunteers organize competitions for dancers
  • Volunteers support local teachers
  • Volunteers create workshops for dancers
  • Volunteers provide leadership on boards and committees
  • Volunteers apply for and received government grants
  • Volunteers work casinos and bingos to generate funds
  • Volunteers provide advice and mentoring

You get the idea…

By the numbers

Another way to measure the impact of volunteers is to take a look at statistics such as hours served and the economic value of volunteer time.

In 2010, about one-half of Canadians contributed their time, energy and skills to groups and organizations such as charities and non-profits. They shaped their communities and enabled non-profit organizations to deliver programs and services to millions of their fellow Canadians.

This volunteer work is important not only to individual volunteers but to Canadian society as a whole. According to the 2011 United Nations State of the World’s Volunteerism Report, “…volunteerism benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation.”

Volunteers are critical partners of and participants in societies throughout the world. Whether actively giving their time through a formal or ad hoc organizations, or taking part in what is sometimes called “informal volunteering” where citizens voluntarily participate in community activities or provide personal care for family, friends, neighbors, or even strangers as part of accepted cultural norms of giving and reciprocity.

The impact of no volunteers

Finally, here’s one more way to visualize the impact of volunteers. Try this little exercise: imagine the highland community with no volunteers.

What would our costs look like? What opportunities to grow, learn, and thrive as a dance community would be lost? What opportunities would your child miss out on? What experiences would you and your dancers not have? What people and connections would you not have made?

Thinking of becoming a volunteer? You Should! 10 Reasons to Volunteer for Highland Dance:

#10: It’s good for you.

Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards. It:

  • Reduces stress: Experts report that when you focus on someone other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns.
  • Makes you healthier: Moods and emotions, like optimism, joy, and control over one’s fate, strengthen the immune system.

#9: It saves resources.

Volunteering provides valuable community services so more money can be spent on local improvements.

  • The estimated value of a volunteer’s time is $15.39 per hour.

#8: Volunteers gain professional experience.

Looks great on a resume.

#7: It brings people together.

As a volunteer you assist in:

  • Uniting people from diverse backgrounds to work toward a common goal
  • Building camaraderie and teamwork

#6: It promotes personal growth and self esteem.

Understanding community needs helps foster empathy and self-efficacy.

#5: Volunteering strengthens your community.

As a volunteer you help:

  • Support families
  • Improve children’s education (studies show dance and competition make for more successful students)
  • Support youth

#4: You learn a lot.

Volunteers learn things like these:

  • Self: Volunteers discover hidden talents that may change your view on your self worth.
  • Community: Volunteers gain knowledge of local resources available to solve community needs.

#3: You get a chance to give back.

People like to support community resources that they use themselves or that benefit people they care about.

#2: Volunteering encourages civic responsibility.

Community service and volunteerism are an investment in our community and the people who live in it.

#1: You make a difference.

Every person counts!