Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Today i was one of 83 UL students presented with the first ever UL Present's Volunteer Awards by Professor Don Barry. In the weeks leading up to today I didn't give much thought to the ceremony. When i applied for the award i was just getting another piece of paper for doing what I do anyway. But listening to Professor Barry, guest speak Tony Murphy (Director of Services, Mid-West Enable Ireland) and the various students interviewed in the videos during the ceremony today, my thoughts changed. In particular I found Tony Murphy's speech on how and why he got involved in volunteering really moved me. I felt quiet honored to be part of this bunch of incredible students who give up their time to help out a diverse group of community organisations.

One of the key points of Tony Murphy's speech was the question - WHY do we volunteer? So I was sitting there thinking about this all day. Yes I love scouting, i enjoy the activities, i enjoy the idea of being involved in something and i love the opportunity to travel the world but the big draw for me is being able to inspire young people and have a positive impact on their future. It makes all the stressful days getting stuff ready, the boring meetings about policy, the bitchiness of some people, the lack of communication from "up top"- it all seems worth for the one moment when you've told a young scout about something you've done and you can see they're thinking that they could do that someday.

It's truly hard to capture the satisfaction of volunteering with young people. I'd truly encourage everyone to volunteer their time to help other people in someway- even if it's one afternoon a year, just go for it.