Whatʼs In It For You?
I have been volunteering on Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) hikes for more than 5 years now, and in that time I have gone on more than 140 different trips. With about ten kids going on each trip, I have gotten to know a lot of different kids and have had a lot of interesting conversations with them. I have always enjoyed being outdoors and hiking, especially when it has allowed me to spend time with my son, Bill, who also is an ICO volunteer. But sometimes the kids on a hike will ask me, “Why do you do this?” I usually answer by saying “because I enjoy being with people my own age,” which makes them laugh because I am about 7 times their age! But being on outings with young people does help keep me feeling young.Many of the kids who go on our outings do not have an opportunity to do anything like this without ICO. And when at the end the day I hear them say, “This was the best day of my entire life,” well that is what’s in it for me. Helping these kids enjoy and appreciate the outdoors is as good for me as it is for them. We hope that the experiences they have will carry over as they grow older and lead to a greater appreciation of the outdoors (and a desire to protect it).
This recently has been reinforced for me by a high school student who has joined us on some trips. This young woman went on our outings when she was in grade school. Now, to fulfill her high school requirement of perform community service hours, she has chosen to serve those hours by helping on ICO outings. Seeing that our program has made that kind of lasting impact on a young woman is very rewarding. That’s what’s in it for me.We always hear that when you step up to help others, you benefit as much as the person you are helping. If you want to experience what it is like to see others benefit directly from your efforts, join us on an outing. And no matter your age, you will enjoy being with people your own age.
If you would like to volunteer for ICO contact Jim Davis for more information:
Email jimdavis77 [at] cox.net or call 760-739-8407.