Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 26 - Seva (Service)

Deutsch: Flagge des Roten Kreuzes English: Fla...
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How did you serve in 2011? Do you plan to volunteer in 2012?

I missed a bunch of reverb11 posts. Last-minute holiday preparations and 2012 business planning got in the way. I might go back and write the missing posts. I might not. But losing momentum doesn't mean I have to come to a complete stop. Instead I just need to start where I am and push forward again. And the subject of Monday's prompt has been on my mind over the last few months, so it's a good place to push forward from.

In December 2010 I became the newsletter editor for the Schroon Lake Association, our local watershed conservation organization. I took over for the association's president, who had enough on her plate and needed to delegate. My schedule isn't flexible enough to go to meetings and serve on committees, but this was something I could do when I had time available.

2011 was the Schroon Lake Association's 100th anniversary, so it was a special honor to create the celebratory newsletters this year. This is from a piece I wrote for the newsletter:

Treading water to keep our heads in the pocket of air under the overturned canoe, my brother and I laughed until the echoes made our ears ring. Now, nearly 40 years later, my children play in the same clean, safe lake that we enjoyed. 
As we honor the past 100 years of Schroon Lake Association achievements, we must also look to the future. A century of foresight has saved the watershed and its ecosystem for us. Now it is our job to look ahead, so that we may leave our grandchildren with the same clear water and green mountainsides we enjoy today. 
My grandfather, Al Jacob, former SLA Vice President, was one of those forward thinkers. My aunt, Nancy Belluscio, and my mother, Linda Milsom, are part of the current SLA Board, whose watershed management plan is a roadmap into our lake’s healthy future. 
I am honored, in this special year, to be a third-generation SLA member, and I am proud to be part of the continuing legacy of lake stewardship, to protect this place which brought joy to my childhood and continues to enrich my life every day.
The Schroon Lake Association is important to my family, and I felt I was doing good by serving them. Then Tropical Storm Irene blew through the Adirondacks. Schroon Lake was spared the worst of it, but nearby towns were devastated by the flooding. I wanted to help, but only Red Cross volunteers could work the shelters. It was frustrating to watch from the sidelines, but I had to keep my home and business running and couldn't drop everything to attend the hours of volunteer training in time to be of assistance.

So I could not do much to help in 2011. But I am ready for 2012. I've joined the ranks of Red Cross volunteers and will soon be training to be a disaster services volunteer, slowly, when my schedule allows. Hopefully I'll never be called on to respond to another disaster like the aftermath of Irene, but I can help my community by responding to house fires, localized floods or anything else that disrupts lives.

In addition, I'll work at blood drives when I'm able and hope to become certified to teach the CPR courses.

There are many, many ways to serve this world. I often wish I had more time to give. But I can't go to Haiti or Japan or even New York City at this time in my life. All I can do is serve where I live. If we all did that, it might be enough.

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