Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Provisional Year in Junior League

My first memory of volunteering was from junior high school. I was a candy striper  junior volunteer at our local hospital. I started in the Emergency Department, directing patients to the registration area. Until I started to see people I knew coming in and I freaked out (about seeing them hurt, not about just seeing them). After that, I floated everywhere, from the pharmacy to labor & delivery.

Since then, I've had some really fun and interesting volunteer opportunities. I volunteered at the Chicago Children's Museum, where once I saw Dave Matthews with his kids. I helped relative caregivers shop for new school clothes for their kids (shopping + volunteering = fun). However, after having Jack, I wasn't doing much volunteering.

And I missed it. I really missed it.

Here's the thing. Yes, you are helping when you volunteer: helping an individual, family or even the community. But you feel so good afterwards. And I realized I needed that.

As I was having all these feelings, I had met some ladies from Junior League. After some research, I filled out the application, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Truthfully, I was apprehensive on my first New Member event. A few people had referred to Junior League as a grown up sorority. I was not Greek in college, so I wasn't even sure what that really meant. Basically, would I meet anyone that I connected with? Would I stick out like a sore thumb because of what I looked like (can't help but worry about that stuff)?

However, I stayed positive and I'm glad I did. From the first New Member event and forward, I have truly enjoyed all that Junior League offered! My New Member neighborhood group is fantastic. A great group of ladies with a phenomenal advisor. Our advisor planned monthly activities for us that included pottery painting, brunch, and happy hours. We attended League events together, so I always knew I would know somebody.

As a provisional member, I wasn't required to participate in DIAD (Done in a Day). However, the biggest reason I joined the League was to volunteer. I took a deep breath and started signing up, even if I didn't know anyone else volunteering. I volunteered with The Daniel Foundation, doing arts and crafts, playing games and other fun activities with a group of kids. I put my seven years of flute playing to use at the Jacksonville Symphony's Instrument Zoo. At both events, I met fellow provisionals who were not in my group plus active members. I lucked out as everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

This is not to say I'm BFF with every single person. Just like any organization, you are going to connect with some and not with others. But there are definitely people who I enjoyed getting to know and have made this such a great experience.

I'm so glad that I joined as being around others who also find value in volunteering has been amazing.

Looking forward to my first active year!

1 comment:

  1. Yay - so glad you are enjoying it. My advice is to stay as plugged in as you can in the next couple of years. There are still a LOT of opportunities to make friends and learn more about what JL does.