Fort Collins Conservation District

Ron Neher

Volunteering, - it’s up to you

By: Ron Neher, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Retired

America was started by a highly-paid staff whose job it was to make this new country better than Mother England. Well not exactly. America was started, granted, but I’d hardly call it with a highly paid staff. They did want to make things better than what they had back across the pond. So how did they do it? How did we get from the early America, - even before the colonies, - to where we are today?

Back then there were no governments, schools or universities; no interest groups which keep things interesting and lively; no football; no churches as we know them today; no organizations such as 4-H and FFA, Little League, private clubs and other groups; no political groups; no county fairs; no organizations to help advance agriculture or medicine; no computers; no cell phones; no radio or TV; - the list is endless with logarithmic proportions. Sometimes one wonders how they did it back in colonial times. Think about it, - they didn’t even have duct tape or velcro.

The things which went into much of the early settlement and development of America hinged on people like you and I getting involved. Lots of things chimed in to where we have ended up with what we have today. I guess you could call this History 101 in a nutshell.

Oftentimes people live in or even move to rural America to find a more wholesome lifestyle they feel they have been missing. Perhaps they dislike the busy traffic and crowded area. Unlike the concentrated people-per-square-foot ratio where they were, they appreciate the greater space, elbow room, and slower pace which rural areas display.

However, as one settles in an area they either grew up in or moved to, they will often wish for a change, addition to, or some improvement of available activities in their area. Sitting back and waiting for that change or addition to spontaneously appear is easy to do, - but not all that fruitful. Money doesn’t fall from the sky or grow on trees, - and neither does that change, an activity which doesn’t exist, or an improvement you feel is missing.

Where a certain tool, implement, idea, or otherwise need has been noted throughout history, mankind has invented or otherwise developed something to fill that void. Call it inventions if you wish, but basically it starts with volunteering. Volunteering, or simply getting involved, is something like you joining a cause and taking on their ideas while at the same time you bringing along some of your talents. It can also be you branching out on your own in your own new adventure. Who knows where you will end up, - or what you will end up with.

Look around and take note about upcoming events, workshops, club meetings, and other local happenings. There are various opportunities available for your participation. And something else to note, - these activities and organized events weren’t always here. They were all started with someone, like you, with an idea or vision.

I guess my point is this, - rural towns and communities can be either progressive or stagnant. Look around and you will find examples of areas which chose the latter. You can either be progressive or let someone else do it, - but then you will have to put up with their idea.