“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
— Muhammad Ali
As we each take in the warm days of summer, the world and the clubs we steward still stand as places to enjoy life as we always have known them. Maybe a little different than how we once remembered, but as with all things we love, a great deal of familiar twinkles. Some of the twinkle is unquestionably rooted in the great group of volunteers that serve at every one of our clubs each year. The constellation of devoted, small clusters serving on committees or boards endure countless power point presentations, hailstorms of digressive chit chat, and digest a glut of data in an industry nearly all of them have never been a part of to work to come to thoughtful and often brilliant solutions on behalf of their fellow members.
Alas, the riches for these people donating their time and talents are not monetary since they each pay their dues dutifully. There are no “campaign contributions” from factions of club members to sway. I have also not yet seen a song written, a statue erected, or a parade thrown for any board or committee member. Naturally, I am not blinded by myopic visions of how volunteerism should be honored at a club. I do see and appreciate the attempts to value volunteers via the pictures of past club presidents cobbled together, the photos of board members prominently displayed, and even the tepid applause at an annual meeting that rekindles the endurance needed to serve another year for many.
While I do worry about the impact of some common misbehaviors today has on so many considering hospitality and the club industry as a career, I also am concerned about its impact on volunteerism at clubs. In that spirit, I offer the following counsel to ensure your club can continue to attract the right group of volunteers including you hopefully one day.
1. If you hear scuttlebutt from your group of friends on WhatsApp or while drinking, the version of events or conclusions drawn and shared are almost certainly not quite high definition quality truth.
2. Please read or ask questions of management tied to concerns derived from aforementioned discussions to learn the facts and let your fellow members that volunteers enjoy the club when they are not in a meeting. Their dues count too.
3. Kind, thoughtful critics are typically welcome especially armed with the facts and even an occasional smile. Critics constantly hopped up on anger, in a country club of all places, are a greater threat to the club than whatever lies on their list of rant issues.
4. Please don’t forget to share your gratitude to the volunteers at your club especially during the instances you feel these volunteers are less than all-knowing.