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Men: your volunteer services / interests when in 40s & 50s?
Old 01-29-2018, 04:47 PM   #1
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Men: your volunteer services / interests when in 40s & 50s?

Good day, gentlemen

I'm writing a book about volunteerism. Most of my personal experience has been with women's groups.

Would you please tell me what kind of volunteer services you did and / or special interest groups you participated in when you were in your 40s and 50s?

And what attracted you to contribute your services or join special interest groups?

Examples of special interest groups in this context:
Current events lectures with discussions
Softball teams
Photography club

Many thanks for your help!
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Old 01-29-2018, 05:51 PM   #2
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I have volunteered for a number of things over the years. Two enduring ones are donating platelets every two weeks to the American Red Cross, and serving as a volunteer event coordinator for a local engineering competition.

I do platelets because it helps very sick people live, it turns out I have a relatively uncommon variety that they can use when needed by premature babies. I do the engineering competition because the organizer is a former colleague. Also I like encouraging young kids, especially young women, to go into engineering, because it is currently too heavily dominated by men.

I have also volunteered for other things like the Komen Race for the Cure, Paint the Town, Rake Up Boise, and others I can't recall offhand. Those are less interesting to me partly because they are typically once-a-year events which isn't frequent enough to satisfy my sense of obligation to my fellow human. Also, they tend to "over-appreciate" their volunteers, which is off putting because to me the reward should be the service itself, not the t-shirt bling or the free food or what have you.

As far as special interests go, I have been playing bridge quite a bit the past two years. I was encouraged to learn bridge when my Mom was on hospice. Her plan was for me to be my Dad's bridge partner after she died, which is indeed what happened. It is a challenging game that suits my personal strengths. It is also quite frugal entertainment, especially if you can win or place occasionally.

I also consider raising my teenagers as a special interest, but most people don't.
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Old 01-29-2018, 05:52 PM   #3
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I've volunteered quite a bit. I'm currently 53 years old. Have volunteered for hiking trail maintenance on the north country hiking trail. Was on the board for a women's homeless shelter for two years. Currently volunteer for overnight supervision at a men's homeless shelter. The women's house was long term housing for moms and kids, and had an entire curriculum to retrain them with life skills. I started out with them in the construction phase helping get it open, left the board after years ago but still go back and teach budgets and credit counseling some times. The current men's homeless shelter is strictly just overnight accommodation's and only in the winter.

Only special interest group I'd say is a small group Bible study of couples from church, not sure if that fits your question.
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:17 PM   #4
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Habitat for Humanity (a couple days a week)
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:35 PM   #5
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Most of my volunteer work has been through my church. I've served on the various boards and committees that support the church and perform outreach to the community at large (e.g. - raising money for the homeless shelter, the young parents group, etc.) Probably the biggest thing I did for the church was to manage the multi-million dollar endowment for 12 years. I've also done a variety of pro-bono legal work. And, like my friend SecondCor521, I also donate to the Red Cross, although only whole blood; I'm over 8 gallons now.

Special interest groups would include church choir, community theater and an all lawyer rock band.
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:08 PM   #6
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I coached youth sports, but my kids were on the teams. Other parents usually look askance at volunteer coaches who do not have kids playing the sports, but they are happen to pay coaches who do not have kids.

I also provided photography services for charitable organizations in my area. My wife and daughter were the instigators of this because they liked my hobby skills, then I got a reputation from doing a few things and it blossomed.

I do some unpaid teaching as well, so I suppose that is volunteer work. My students are usually professors, medical students, and graduate students.

I also participate as a volunteer in an NIH-sponsored scientific working group for infectious diseases. I was invited to do this and would not have otherwise weaseled my way into this.
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:41 PM   #7
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Volunteer internationally teaching and mentoring caregivers in maternal and newborn health. Have been to several countries: Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, Middle-east, Eastern Europe. Leave for Malawi on Friday.

Also, do programme development at my local university medical school and fill various teaching roles for medical students, midwives and PAs.

Coached and refereed hockey in my 40s but stopped that once my DSs and DDs were finished organized hockey.
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Men: your volunteer services / interests when in 40s & 50s?
Old 01-29-2018, 11:25 PM   #8
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Men: your volunteer services / interests when in 40s & 50s?

In my 50ís-
Promoting local tourism - working as a volunteer at conventions and at visitor's centers.

Tutoring math for adults trying to obtain their GED. The program was originally under the auspices of a Catholic charity but they dropped the funding. The program has moved to a community college and I have followed it there.
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Old 01-29-2018, 11:57 PM   #9
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Back in 2001,when I first switched from working full-time to part-time, I began volunteering with the National Scrabble Association's School Scrabble program. It began with two schools in the 2001-2002 school year but grew over time. I was 38 at the time. I made a visit every week or two to their school's Scrabble club; sometimes it was during the school day, sometimes it was after school.

I also helped out running the regional School Scrabble tournament. In 2005, a few of the schools participating in the tourney got together and wanted to hold their own tourney as a tune-up for the regional one. One of the teacher-coaches in the small group was a school I worked with, so she asked me if I could direct the tourney as an impartial arbiter. I was eager to do this.

In that 2005 tune-up, I began doing something, fairly minor but hardly trivial, which I suggested to the regional tourney's director the following week. He liked it so much we did it there and later on in the national tourney.

Meanwhile, the main sponsor of the regional withdrew its support after the 2005 tourney, ending the largest regional (we had 122 schools participating in 2005). But there was sill a hunger for competitive play. Other schools in our little informal group wanted to play in more tourneys, so several of them began to host them, and I ran nearly all of them, eventually running 3 or 4 every school year.

The teacher-coaches got better at hosting them, and I got better at running them. Using some of the worksheet skills I honed in my career, I created a worksheet which automated most of the tourney pairings and scorekeeping of results, greatly speeding up the start of each round while making the pairings as fair and competitive as possible. Sometimes, it seems like the tourneys run themselves. And the kids love it!

When I began working part-time in 2001, I resurrected an old interest I used to do a lot in the 1980s - square dancing. Working full-time with a longer work day in the 1990s had me too worn out to dance at night any more. But with several weekdays freed from going to work, I was able to find my old clubs and return to this activity.

It took me a year to get back to my old, advanced level. And in 2007, I moved up to the next level, Challenge-1 (C-1). Along the way, in 2003, I began helping out my square dance caller teach a square dance class at a local college. It was tough to attend these classes as often as I wanted to because they met at the same time my school Scrabble classes met. And I was already limited by the weekdays I had to go to work. It was a juggling act which went on for about 5-6 years.

When I retired in 2008, this freed up all my weekdays, pretty much eliminating all of the scheduling conflicts. I was also able to square dance more at night because I rarely danced after working all day - I was too worn out.

My square dance caller stopped teaching his class in 2012, so that gig ended. But I still have my own, evening dancing and the daytime Scrabble stuff.

Another hobby I resurrected was my dormant interest in playing my Strat-o-Matic baseball game, something I began playing as a kid in the early 1970s. I have teams and cards going back to the 1970s and 1980s although I stopped buying new sets in the late 1980s. My collection had some gaps, so I began trying to obtain the missing cards, teams, and season to complete my collection. It took about 10 years from when I began this project in late 2005 until I got the last few cards in 2015. I don't play the PC version of the game although I use a spreadsheet to help with the stats.

Another thing I began doing a lot more when I began working part-time, and especially when I retired, was reading books. Most of them I get from the library, but I have bought some new and used over the years.
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:36 AM   #10
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I volunteered and still do for;
1. Heros On the Water (HOW) We take disabled vets kayak fishing
2. Supervisor for trail maintenance on the El Dorado National Forest
3. Manage little league team
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Old 01-30-2018, 05:54 AM   #11
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Started volunteering 13 years ago at age 52 with the local university's horticulture center. First 10 years spent most of my volunteer hours helping plant and maintain the various gardens, but primarily the grain and legume garden. The past 3 years have been focused on all the activities associated with the 1.5 acre pumpkin patch. Additionally, I started doing most of the weekly mowing at the center.

I grew up in an agriculture community, so providing expertise acquired growing up has been effectively utilized. I keep telling the coordinator "this will be my last year volunteering" but after harvesting the amazing collection of pumpkins and squash in the fall, I get drawn back into signing up for another year which, I guess, is my version of "One More Year" syndrome.
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Old 01-30-2018, 06:03 AM   #12
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Master Gardener in my 40's, docent at The Desert Botanical Gardens Phoenix.

Desert tortoise reproduction field work with AZ Game and Fish.

Bog turtle, telemetry tracking, and population study MD Fish and Game.

Audubon Bird Count every year since 1981.

After retiring I was a volunteer wildland firefighter from age 56-65, currently search and rescue volunteer.

Occasionally assisting a dog rescue with fostering, and socializing, and forever home finding.
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Old 01-30-2018, 06:33 AM   #13
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Math tutoring

School technology support (e.g. wiring classrooms for ethernet, setting up computers, setting up networking hardware)

Basketball coaching

Assisting at homeless shelters

Speaking at schools on careers and life to "at risk" students.

Working with my college alumni association to establish and support various alumni outreach programs, participating community "Service Day" service activities, and interviewing prospective students

What attracted me? Various things. I have always been good in math, and enjoy using up, so have always enjoyed sharing that knowledge to help others. My dad took he to homeless shelters to help out with as a kid, so that led me to want to continue to do that in his honor and memory. I enjoy computer/networking technology as a hobby, so when the need comes up I am happy to volunteer. I did the coaching to help out when there were shortages of volunteers - never really good at it in terms of team records, but it is nice to run into adults whom I coached when they were kids who tell me how much they enjoyed the experience. Since my college provided scholarship help at a time when it was relatively expensive and my family was relatively poor, it is one of my way of saying "thank you". Finally, growing up living in not-so-nice neighborhoods for many years, seeing friends succumb to drugs and violence through a combination of wrong choices, lack of knowledge of opportunities, and little or no family support, led me to speak at schools to those students deemed "at risk" to try to share my experiences and let them know there are opportunities out there for a better life.
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:01 AM   #14
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When I was still in diapers, mom was diagnosed with mental illness. Back then they shipped you off to mental institutions, even if not violent. Us kids went to an orphanage for a few years.

In my professional life, I had a passion for helping charities that served mentally ill and homeless. A big chunk of the homeless are mentally ill. In these pursuits, some paid, some volunteer, I realized that social workers did not have the skill set to write grants or respond to RFPs for government contracts. That became my skill.

Now to my 40's. Moving to a new rural town, I became involved (as a volunteer) with the local homeless effort. Largest funding mechanism is the annual HUD grant process. The local people had some some but it was tiny. I devoted tremendous time to getting their effort to comply with federal standards. First grant submission after that "hit it out of the par". Maybe $300,000 in federal money and more than double that in matching funds. Total take of more than $1 million. Since then I have decreased my involvement, but I still do a little.

Served on the board of the local soccer association. Got them their IRS charitable status. Helped build them into a real organization.

Also served on various church committees. Do not like church committee meetings. I find that I enjoy doing little maintenance projects at church. By myself. Sanding the rust off of handrail and painting. Replacing light fixtures and bulbs. Replacing rusty joist hangars.
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:09 AM   #15
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I'm a lot less of a saint than I should be

All my volunteering has been related to efforts directly associated with me or my family and friends.

For example, decades ago I joined the Jaycees, because I had just moved to the new area and wanted to meet people. Our school book drives, scholarships and Mr Yuk campaigns were not my primary objective.

Later, I worked with youth sports and Scouting because my sons and daughters were in the programs. I started donating platelets when a woman I knew was undergoing chemo. I work at our church fundraisers, and helped built a Habitat House which our church sponsored.

I wonder if this indicates I'm not really very selfless in my volunteering, since I only do it when it benefits someone I know. In my defense, I'll claim that I'm thinking globally and acting locally.
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:12 AM   #16
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Forgot to add one more thing I have been volunteering with. Since 2005, I have been helping out my co-op run our annual meeting as an appointed "Elections Commissioner." First, I help determine if there is a quorum present. Second, if there is a contested election for Board members, I oversee the election which is done with paper ballots. I developed a spreadsheet which does the tabulation quickly instead of the long, tedious process others used in the 1990s. The people who used to oversee this were not really hi-tech folks, so this was very much needed.


Doing this has also earned me a lot of goodwill with the Board members and our managing agent. When I have a question or issue for either of them, I know I have friendly, familiar ears who will listen to me and take me seriously.
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:33 AM   #17
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Have done a bit of Habitat. Transport supplies to locations serving homeless youth. Getting ready to do taxes through AARP for low income/seniors. For last five months been on a new pastor search committee.

I'm also voluntarily trying to get my handicap down in the golf season.
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:39 AM   #18
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Citizens on Patrol - assist DPS patrolling city
Civilian Emergency Response Team (CERT)
Coached Little League
Cub Scout Den Leader
Played Adult Hardball
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:39 AM   #19
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I volunteer on two board of directors positions. One is a community health charity and one is for giving back to the community I live in. Both take time from my other loves in life but I also know my work is helping others. Volunteer work is very rewarding and without these people life for many wouldn't be as good as it is.
Thanks to all that help to make it a better place for others without asking for something in return.
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:39 AM   #20
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I did volunteer work for our HOA in my 50ís and still do in my 60ís. Shoreline construction permit application reviews/inspections.

Just joined the local historical society.

Volunteer groups really need younger members - seems like most volunteers are older.
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