The USEA Volunteer Recognition and Education Committee, on which Seema served, existed for only one year, but at this past weekend’s USEA Annual Meeting and Convention in Washington, D.C., the Board of Governors moved to form an official Volunteer Committee headed by USEA president-elect Carol Kozlowski and create a proposal to develop a Volunteer Incentive Program.
Holly Covey and Bonnie Kibbie presented to the Board Seema’s four-point program for volunteers, which includes volunteer recognition, a national database, an awards program and incentives. The ultimate goal is to create an integrated volunteer program that makes it easier for organizers to connect with and educate volunteers, as well as reward them for the many hours they donate to the sport.
“Through the USEA we can promote volunteerism, get people involved that weren’t involved previously, grow membership, help the organizers and grow volunteers,” Bonnie said. “Individual shows do great things for volunteers, but (we need to) create one top-down system to streamline things and recognize volunteers for what they do.”
The Volunteer Incentives session on Saturday afternoon at the Convention was well attended by participants from all corners of the sport, and a constructive discussion explored countless ideas for enhancing the culture of volunteerism. With a solid framework, focused goals and creative ideas from a passionate community, volunteerism is well on its way to getting the boost it needs.