Editorial – Time is a precious commodity

Chris Clegg

It is said if you want something done, find a busy person to do it.
As ironic as it may be, it is generally true.
There is a growing concern in this nation regarding volunteering. Statistics clearly show the volunteer base is aging and there are fewer and fewer people stepping forward. The question is: why is this volunteer base dwindling?
If this newspaper had the answer, we would be tabbed miracle workers. Instead, we can continually plead with the public to get involved and make a difference. We will do so again.
What has occurred over time is society has changed and peoples’ attitudes. We have raised a generation of people where far too many expect the “other guy” will do it.
We all lead busy lives, some more than others. In the last few weeks, POPS Home Hardware owner Ron Shunter has patrolled town in an effort to curb crime. He is High Prairie’s one-man Citizens on Patrol group. He deserves much praise for his efforts.
But where is everyone else? High Prairie social media pages are ripe with concern over crime, yet no one has stepped forward to organize a local chapter, like Brian Holmberg did years ago. Northern Sunrise County has a very active Rural Crime Watch organization. The High Prairie RCMP have pleaded for Citizens on Patrol to re-organize but nothing!
We could give countless other examples of citizens stepping forward. Many never ask and receive a dime for the efforts and good for them!
Some local governments offer pay for citizens to serve on committees. This was not the case years ago. What has changed? Through not fault of their own, these local governments decided to throw loot at the public in hopes of attracting a few people to help. It exactly has not solved the problem. It has worsened it. Now, too many people expect to be paid. The slippery slope was created and it is now covered with ice.
Besides, offering a bit of pay often never attracts the best people. Rather, it encourages some who just want to collect a cheque.
There is no magic wand to fix the problem of volunteering. It is especially difficult now with the explosion of social media. Criticism of every organization is rampant no matter how many good things they do. Just look at the criticism of the High Prairie Elks regarding the rodeo and the High Prairie Community Beautification Association regarding Light-Up. No community event goes unscathed.
It makes it difficult for the volunteers to turn the other cheek when many people complaining do nothing but sit behind a keyboard and bitch. Their names are not exactly littered all over the executive lists of volunteer community groups.
If more people stepped forward to truly make a difference, we would all be better off. It starts with making time, and a concerted effort improve your community. Some may not have a lot of time to contribute, but a concerted effort, such as the one Shunter is making, can make a difference.

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