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Reflection: Plan NH Volunteers

by Michelle McDonald | Jun 16th, 2016 | Leave a comment

VOLUNTEER: noun |vol-un-teer| vӓl-Ən-tir

There are many definitions of “volunteer.” Here are a few:

1: A person who does work without getting paid to do it (Meriam-Webster).

(Cambridge Dictionary)A person who does something for other people or for an organization willingly.

And, from Wikipedia: Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity…intended to promote good or to improve human quality of life.

Volunteers bring life to Plan NH.

For 27 years Plan NH has been fostering excellence in planning, design & development of New Hampshire’s built environment. With this mission you imagine a large office, alive with heavy conversations about socioeconomic struggles in empty towns overwhelmed by sprawl. You see hazy brainstorming sessions exploding with conceptual maps of the “intersection” of environment, health and social well-being.  Well, I hate to break it to you. This is simply not the case.

Instead, in the quiet Plan NH office, the tireless executive director solely coordinates meetings, studies pressing topics and makes connections with the incredible people & organizations who share Plan’s interests. An assistant helps manage odd tasks, but often works remotely.

How does an organization with a 1.25 person staff continue to operate? Two huge reasons: 1) Financial support from incredible Plan NH Members and Donors 2) Unprecedented dedication from Plan NH volunteers.

Who are Plan NH volunteers?

Erin & Rob Snip
Board President Rob & Committee Member Erin have fun ice skating before the Annual Meeting.

Directors on the working Board who orchestrate activities and programs behind-the-scenes to steer Plan’s mission (Eight Directors are on the Board).

Professionals -Architects, Landscape-Architects, Engineers, Planners, Historians and Others- who assist communities with design challenges in 2-day community workshops called Charrettes (Two decades, dozens of Professionals have volunteered).

Committee Members who select Merit Awards and Scholarship and Fellowship recipients and lead events, like the annual Golf Event.

Jen_drawing
Jen sketches with Charrette Volunteers before the team reveals suggestions to Kingston.

They are Organizers who coordinate educational programs and member events. They are Creators, photographers, writers and artists who draw diagrams and draft text for handouts and flyers. And, they are Collaborators and Contributors who compile excel spreadsheets of program registrants, file paperwork and are willing to do anything to help with day-to-day tasks.

These volunteers are people, real people, who have full-time jobs, families and commitments.

Many of you who are reading this are Plan NH volunteers. You probably volunteer for more than one Plan NH activity. Thank you. Thank you for your leadership, dedication and positive attitude.

New Hampshire, like many states in the United States, is facing many design challenges: how can NH plan for an aging population? Or, how can NH recover from the industry days of old? You bring excellence to community planning, design and development by facing these challenges and by meeting the needs of New Hampshire’s people, history, culture and natural resources. You create vibrant villages in New Hampshire.

Just as dictionaries define the meaning of “volunteer,” volunteers define Plan NH.

Together, Plan NH Members, Donors, Volunteers and Staff, we make a difference to New Hampshire communities.

Thank you.

Swanzey snip 2012
The Charrette Team from Swanzey’s 2012 Charrette poses for a picture after a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you like to be part of the Plan NH volunteer team? email Robin for more information: [email protected]