Adventures in volunteering

Amy and her family find ways to give back to the community. Spelling bees, bowling and hockey games are more fun than committee work!

By Amy Baskin
Adventures in volunteering
For the second year in a row, I’m a volunteer contestant in our community charity Spelling Bee. Up on stage with my two teammates, we’re decked out in giant red and yellow eyeglasses. (We didn’t get our act together to plan the usual elaborate team costume). In the audience, there are throngs of screaming spelling fans. As befits the occasion, tons of teams are decked out in BEESNESS attire — yellow striped shirts, wings and attractive antennae. 
It’s now our moment of glory — our chance to spell a word and pass to the next round. A hush falls over the room. And the announcer pronounces our word into the microphone.
We're gobsmacked.“Um — can you repeat the word?” we ask.
He does. 
“Um, can you give us the definition?” we ask.
“It’s a long-limbed, African wildcat,” the announcer says.
We scribble furiously on our pads of paper. Honestly, we have no clue. Facing the bitter truth, we know the end is near. Finally, we can stall no longer. My teammate spells into the microphone: “C-E-R-V-I-L-L-E.”
The announcer pronounces our fate: “I’m sorry,” he says.
Sadly, we leave the stage. Well — at least we made it to Round 4. Last year, we only made it to round 2. Our word was “serval.” SERVAL??!
To advocate for services and supports in our community, I volunteer — often. Sometimes volunteering means sitting on committees. But progress in these meetings is excruciatingly slow. That’s why I love to shake things up and volunteer at a one night gig — like the spelling bee gala. 
Jack and Talia have got the volunteering bug too. At a Storm game, (local hockey team) Jack sold 50/50 draw tickets for a local organization supporting kids with special needs. And recently both Jack and Tal joined a team in a fundraising bowlathon. 
If you volunteer, what’s your favourite gig? Do you ever volunteer as a family?
This article was originally published on Nov 09, 2011

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