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Reigniting that spirit of volunteerism


There is no gainsaying that sports anywhere in this world cannot exist without volunteerism.

This is against the backdrop that sports is one of the fastest growing industries and an avenue being pursued structurally for national economic development.{{more}}

Inevitably, with the demands for that same economic space, volunteerism continues to lose its fervour, both nationally and at the community levels.

The continuum then follows, a gradual disappearance of clubs and other community organisations.

Also, our communities are emerging into little deviant zones, where groups prefer to engage in resisting one another’s tolerance, thus creating a ready market for social confrontations.

Also, many with the know-how, resign themselves to sideliners and promote gated communities with barbed wire fences, surveillance cameras, guard dogs and other garrison type protective mechanisms.

But whilst the reality stares grimly in the face, volunteerism in St Vincent and the Grenadines has been the platform, granted that sports here is totally amateur status.

Hence, in making that holistic drive towards making sports here more meaningful, one has to get back to that place of sporting acceptance; volunteerism must get a new lease of life.

This though, is easier said than done, as the many life challenges, as well as that ever-changing in attitudes of persons, the mindset calls for greater commitment and realization of each other’s worth and function.

Save and except the executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, who, by the sport’s governing body is mandated to receive a stipend each month, other national association members render their services freely.

Unfortunately, though many persons see volunteerism as taking away of one’s time from being engaged in other productive undertakings.

They also see it as a form of servitude and sometimes the belittling of themselves.

This is not necessarily the case, as volunteerism has always been and will always be acts of nobility which sometimes can be deemed priceless.

Hence, getting involved in helping others, building volunteers’ acumen, their profile and generally enhancing inter personal relationships.

It is imperative that persons, who have benefitted from others in the past taking the time out to assist them, whether it was sports or any form of community involvement, reciprocate.

That opportunity to build self-confidence, among other character traits, is another good that comes out of volunteering one’s duty.

One cannot always put a dollar to one’s output in volunteerism, as it can never equate; however, it too can been seen as monetary assistance with time in kind.

St Vincent and the Grenadines has not reached that stage of development, whereby persons claim on their tax returns for time spent on volunteerism, but at least the worth is up for consideration.

Neither have we arrived at that point where the state makes it mandatory for certain persons to put their quota of hours to community service.

But we have seen some years ago when St Vincent and the Grenadines hosted the warm-up matches ahead of the Caribbean staging of Cricket World Cup in 2007, a cadre of volunteers was trained and certified.

This was a grand idea which would have left a legacy, which St Vincent and the Grenadines would have been the main beneficiary.

This mishap was that such training has gone through the window, as the crop of volunteers never functioned after the matches.

Is there then a database of these persons in terms of their skilled expertise?

Can any national organization, hosting a major event, call on them to lend their services, having benefited from training at the expense of the national coffers?

On the contrary we saw in St Kitts recently how many volunteers were present at the Warner Park, during the Caribbean Premier League Twenty/20 competition.

Needless should we harp on what is not, but urge those who tirelessly give of themselves selflessly, to continue to do so, whilst ensuring that there is succession.

Volunteerism has always been the foundation theory before many of the successful sporting nations have evolved into what they are today.

In order for St Vincent and the Grenadines to ensure that we do not reach a crisis, wherein there are few persons willing to help with developing others, a search for persons from within the bowels of the local communities must be undertaken, so that the national pool will continuously be replenished.