MY VOICE: The Value of Volunteerism (by Kim Fidler)

Here, Judi Epp takes a photo of Kim Fidler & Katie Zuber outside the courthouse before the 2015 Spencer Pride Festival.

Here, Judi Epp takes a photo of Kim Fidler & Katie Zuber outside the courthouse before the 2015 Spencer Pride Festival.

I am so proud to have been a part of the 9th annual Spencer Pride Festival. I was so happy to see the large number of participants (including children and pets), the numerous vendors, and the entertainment. The part that made me most excited was the number of volunteers. I want to dedicate this article to the wonderful people who made this possible. Planning for the festival begins each year just after the completion of the current Spencer Pride Festival. I was the volunteer of the year in 2014. It was a tremendous honor. I am very proud to know Katie Zuber, the 2015 volunteer of the year. Honorable Mention went out to Larissa Jones and Keegan Helms for their volunteer work with the organization. I am also proud to know them. Their dedication to Spencer Pride is so admirable.

In a time when participation in social clubs, organizations, and activities is on the decline, I am happy to say that we have many wonderful people who routinely volunteer and attend Spencer Pride meetings. I am so sad to see that people rarely make visits, phone calls, or send paper cards or letters often. What ever happened to the good old days of sitting with friends on the porch swing enjoying a glass of iced tea? We no longer have time to be actively involved in old fashioned friendships. Technology has led us to send a text or an email, or hit someone up on Facebook or Twitter rather than getting into our cars to drive out for a Sunday visit. I have mixed emotions about that. Being a very social and active 47 year old female, I long for the ease and slow pace of my childhood, while taking advantage of technology to deliver a message quickly.

Over the last decade, there has been a steady decline in the active participation of people in voluntary organizations. This is being seen in the number of people who actually get out and vote as well. As a member of the Board of Directors of Spencer Pride, I enjoy the social aspect of this position. I also work very hard to keep Spencer Pride on the minds of legislators. It has not been a secret that I have been very disappointed in the results of the last legislative session. Laws were passed to harm the LGBTQI community members, our construction workers, and our teachers and students in public schools. The only way to turn the tide is to get involved and vote. Democracy is based on people having connections with each other. Our self-interests must be connected to the interests and well-being of others. We must have a common responsibility as a nation and as citizens. Any decline in that responsibility will certainly be detrimental to democracy. Unfortunately, our shift from active to passive membership in clubs and organizations has been proven by the number of people who simply write a check to join an organization, simply to use their membership as a resume builder without ever having attended a meeting or actively participating. We will never make a difference if we are not individually responsible for furthering the interests of others.

Now is the time to join Spencer Pride Inc. You will be involved in wonderful events with wonderful people. Your participation will be greatly appreciated. While you are at it, please make sure to vote in the next election. Be an active and educated participant in the next election. Please keep the well-being of others in mind. Volunteer your time and energy. It is respectable to make charitable contributions with your checkbook. Unfortunately, we know that money speaks loudly. After all, our Governor did not even consider fixing the language of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act until there were threats of people taking their money from Indiana to go elsewhere to do business. However, it is much more admirable to give of yourself to make a difference. In the process, you may just meet some of the best friends that you will ever have in your life. I am 100% certain that I did by joining Spencer Pride! You can become involved as well by e-mailing our awesome secretary Judi Epp at Judi@SpencerPride.org.

This post comes straight to you from Kim Fidler. Kim has been a member of the Spencer Pride Inc. Board of Directors since 2013. This post is part of a series entitled “Voices of Spencer Pride” where we share perspectives from our volunteers about topics that they find important. We hope that you find this post meaningful to you and if you think someone else would also find value in it, we encourage you to share it with them as well. THANK YOU!