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From volunteerism to voluntourism

Register • Nov 4, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Who can connect the dots from our local Volunteer Center to tourism? We are fortunate to have such an ambitious organization who coordinates helping local non-profits and encourages locals to give back to the community. But voluntourism is another angle where you can help by volunteering.

Take for example, the REV 3 Triathlon event after Labor Day. Thanks to the 950 ambassadors who helped with this major undertaking.

So much effort goes into making this event welcoming for athletes from throughout the United States and beyond, and it couldn’t happen without the help of the Volunteer Center.

In cooperation with REV 3, a donation per volunteer is given back to the volunteers’ designated charity; helping our community in many ways.

Did you see the fields of MetroParks packed with the Kalahari Classic soccer tournament last weekend? With 90 teams from Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio, with direct economic impact of over $1 million, you could have volunteered services for this group. Same goes for the growing fun run in mid-December at Cedar Point, the Santa Hustle, as featured in the latest issue of Midwest Living magazine.

Not all voluntourism projects are sporting related. Hundreds of volunteers were used throughout Labor Day weekend as our region hosted the very successful Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial events.

Greeting at docks, answering questions about activities, and offering a friendly welcome are tasks many of you would enjoy.

This week, Kalahari is hosting a national convention, the American Wine Society, and volunteers are being sought to assist with organizing displays, assisting judges, paperwork, and pouring wine — and the reward? You are “paid” in wine!

Some meeting and convention participants at our properties seek out projects to assist with while they are here — donating a few hours of their time to help on projects locally that could use assistance — again coordinated through the Volunteer Center.

Many of us are fortunate to have some time to give back, so I encourage you to contact Amy Porter at the Volunteer Center at 419-627-0074. She welcomes volunteers for one-time events as well as on-going assistance. She is somewhat of a “match-maker” by seeking out your interests and likes, and matching them up with volunteer opportunities.

Thanks again to the Volunteer Center and the volunteers/ambassadors who help in so many ways!

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