Psychologists have devoted a great deal of effort to study why people give freely of their time to an enormous range of causes. On the list of reasons is always a desire to help others. But that’s not the only reason. And it’s not even the primary reason when motives are examined closely.
Among the reasons we volunteer is the desire to give back and to help create a better future. We understand that. It not only makes us feel good and rewarded to help promote our aviation heritage; we also feel a sense of duty. We would be lesser people if we didn’t help promote and protect the aviation life that has been so good to us.
But there are other more selfish reasons for volunteering. One reason that makes every psychologist’s list is a natural human desire for companionship. We want to spend time with others who share our interests and passions. Volunteering builds friendships. It brings people together who would otherwise never meet, much less work together.
Another very important personal reason to volunteer is to network. That is a term that means to meet people who may be beneficial to you in the future and vice versa. SFAM volunteering throws together people from from all walks of life and professions. You will get to know people who can be of help and offer advice from an unimaginably vast array of profes sions and industries.
Personal education is another great benefit of volunteering. You learn to do your volunteer tasks, of course, but you also work alongside people who have great stores of knowledge and personal experience that they share with you. Of course an SFAM volunteer learns about all facets of aviation, but because of the diversity of our volunteer corps you may be spending your time with anybody from a rocket scientist — no joke, we have them — to an investment banker, to a welder, to a computer security expert. I guarantee SFAM volunteers come from all walks of life and have succeeded at an enormous variety of professions.
Perhaps most importantly volunteering instills invaluable meaning into your life. Accomplishing any task that helps others also helps us feel fulfilled and valued. The SFAM volunteers who paint the buildings on our grounds can stand back and think, “I did that.” When a volunteer on the line crew looks down the perfectly straight rows of parked airplanes it is satisfying in a way that much of the rest of our lives never is.
So to all SFAM volunteers We say thank you. And to those who haven’t yet volunteered we say get in the game. Your rewards will be great, and you will be paid back in a currency no other work can match.
– Paraphrased from Jack J. Pelton, EAA Magazine
Jon Barrilleaux, SFAM Volunteer