Freelance Volunteer
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Freelance Volunteer

Have you ever offered to volunteer for a charity, non-profit, or your favorite community organization? If you have then you know the typical drill: make a significant commitment in time, attend training sessions, perform specified duties, observe a cobweb of rules, regulations, and laws, and finally sign a detailed application and a liability waiver. After a board approval and sometimes a background check you can be written into the schedule as a volunteer. This bureaucratic approach to volunteering is understandable from the perspective of organizational management but tends to dampen the spirit of those with limited time who just want to show up and make a difference.

Freelance Volunteerism

Years ago after encountering these bureaucratic obstacles, I solved this problem by becoming a freelance volunteer. I just showed up at my favorite volunteer venue, the park system, prepared to be of service while enjoying the experience. It was all very informal and in no way intrusive to other park visitors or inconsistent with the mission and objectives of the park. I never represented myself as an official volunteer, just a conscientious citizen enjoying the outdoors.

Volunteer Activities

Over the years I found many ways to contribute including: cleaning up debris and obstacles from the trails, aiding visitors with directions, applying minor first aide, providing bicycle repair, making scenic recommendations, alerting security to suspicious persons or activity in the park or parking lots, and rescuing wildlife trapped in poorly discarded fishing line.

Equipment

Now I routinely carry a small amount of light weight personal equipment which has been very helpful in my role as a freelance volunteer. Here is what I carry on my belt or in my cargo pockets.

  • One quart canteen with belt clip.
  • Swiss knife
  • Cell phone
  • Compass/GPS
  • Money and ID
  • Maps

Additional items I carry in a fanny pack include:

  • Rain gear
  • Bug Dope
  • Mini bike tool
  • Sun Screen
  • Snack bars
  • First aid kit
  • Tablet and pencil

Don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing which should be lightweight, breathable, and worn in layers to make it easy to adapt to changing weather. Finally, a broad brimmed hat and waterproof hiking shoes or boots, and walking stick should complete your outdoor gear. I also carry a camera as photography is one of my hobbies.

As an outdoor enthusiast, I have developed a set of skills that have repeatedly become useful as a freelance volunteer including: outdoor survival, wilderness medicine, and map reading/orienteering.

Freelance Volunteer Guidelines

Three guidelines have been helpful to me in my volunteer activities:

1. “Do no harm”- to all living things including the environment

2. “Treat others as you would have them treat you”- the timeless guide to effective social living

3. “Be prepared”- to assist others with practical information and emergency assistance.

Summary

Becoming a freelance volunteer is a flexible alternative for individuals who want to make a constructive contribution to their community outside of the bureaucracy of most charitable or non-profit organizations. This approach compliments organized volunteerism and offers assistance to the public in ways that are consistent with the mission, laws, and ethics of the organization and the citizens served. Gear and skills useful to the freelance volunteer in the parks systems are discussed.

Read more informative articles at James W. Siddall on Facebook

Image courtesy of Pixabay under the creative commons license 2.0


Street Talk

Thanks James for these tips i would say.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thank you Atif, I hope you found this information helpful in your own quest to be of service to others.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Nice recommendation and you are a good writer. Cheers!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Andrew, thank you for your positive feedback.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

What a practical and creative way to be able to make a differences on your own terms... great recommendations James!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thank you Juan for your kind comments.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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