Let’s play a game. A pinch of yearning, the nice kind…Take a second to remember an important project you participated in years ago. If you’re slightly older, maybe some decades ago and if you’re younger, in recent years. A project you actively participated in and which, at the time, was an important moment for you. So you understand: the most exciting project you’ve ever been in, in your life.
So, have you got it? Let’s move on...
Most likely, it was a project in a group, which probably required a great deal of effort and for sure had many obstacles. I bet imagined the outcome long before it happened. And when you saw the outcome, it was very different from what you’d imagined, maybe even better; and this made it exciting, very exciting. You most certainly had fun getting the project ready and you really felt yourself a part of it. But there were many others who enjoyed it, either as beneficiaries, users, spectators or neighbours and, who knows? They may still be enjoying it right now. That project was probably not meant to help those of you participating overcome a midlife crisis…it was more spontaneous and that is why you experienced moments of collective euphoria. The outcome was probably really good and made you feel well.
And what is even more likely is that you participated in the project without receiving even one Euro i.e. as pure volunteers, full of altruistic energy. And precisely because it was done on a volunteer basis, without earning a dime, the energy put into the project and the time simply multiplied, poured out and that’s what made it such a success.
In all likeliness, you didn’t even use the word volunteer, and neither did you have to. You felt as true neighbour activists, committed citizens, activists, members, castellers, geganters, leaders, instructors, cooperating, conspirators, choir conductors or trainers…
It’s probably the case that the project was done out of sheer unawareness, with overwhelming ambitions and a huge dose of creativity and originality. For sure, if that project had been commissioned to a company specialising in event planning, it would have cost an arm and a leg, the project would have been reasonably ok and at the end you’d get a nice report that even included ad-hoc impact indicators. But it would have no soul.
And how does this game we’ve started end? Well, just write down, in the comments box under this article, which has been the most exciting project in your life and, above all, enjoy a really nice International Volunteer Day!