From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director
The cycle of volunteerism
by Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Program Director
As you may recall, last week I took time to thank some of the excellent contributors that helped to make the 40th Annual Christmas Walk a spectacular success. This week I will continue that theme by thanking a couple of individuals who have served Grayling Main Street (GMSt). I will also share a little on how volunteers move through programs and the value of the cycle of volunteerism.
Recently Stacy McIsaac and Shannon Sorenson stepped down from their roles on the DDA/GMSt board. Both women were, and remain, dedicated to the improvement of Downtown Grayling, and we wish them the best as they focus on different roles in downtown and with GMSt.
McIsaac was a Board member for approximately three years, and served as the Vice Chair and Chairperson during that time. Her service to GMSt goes beyond the Board. She was the chairperson for several events over the past year, and is a small business owner in Downtown Grayling. She has vowed to continue to support our program, but needs to take a step back and focus on the growth of her business.
Sorenson was part of the team that worked to bring Main Street to Grayling. She got involved with GRIP (Grayling Revitalization Improvement Project) to move Grayling from an applicant, to the Associate level, and onto the Select level, where we are now. She has served on the Board since the beginning and was a business ally in a downtown bank. She served as both the Board chair and treasurer.
In the cycle of volunteerism, there is a time when a volunteer should to take a step back from the work they have been neck deep in, and enjoy it. This place is quite possibly one of the most vital in the entire cycle. It serves to prevent burn out of volunteers, and keeps fresh ideas and perspectives flowing into the organization.
The cycle in its complete form is perpetual, and has no set schedule. It starts with a small investment from the volunteer, a couple of hours at an event or a short one-time project. The program must commit to showing appreciation and fostering development of volunteers at every stage. As the relationship between the volunteer and organization evolves so does the investment. Becoming part of the planning committee for an event, or being the point person for a section of the event are natural progressions. The next step takes the relationship from seasonal, to year-round. The volunteer could engage with a core committee, or chair their favorite event. This requires the leadership in the program to recognize the increased interest and dedication of the volunteer, and encourage this transition. After having experienced a program from the ground up, volunteers become excellent candidates for core committee chairs and Board membership. It is the responsibility of the program leadership to tap those enthusiastic volunteers and let them know there is room for growth in the program. After serving as a committee chair, Board member, or both, it is good for the volunteer to take a break and enjoy the hard work they have put in.
While the cycle is ideal, we all know better than to think that is how it is executed with every volunteer. Regardless, respecting the turnover of volunteers, recognizing the skills and dedication of those helping us achieve our goals, and showing our appreciation, are parts of the cycle that should never be compromised.
Want to know more about GMSt and what is going on in Downtown Grayling? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling. com, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to DowntownGrayling @gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next.