The Thrill of Helping Others

Shortly after the devastating floods in Southern Alberta (which spilled into British Columbia and Saskatchewan), a friend and I were looking for ways to help. We joined several flood support groups on Facebook, but when we found YYCHelps, we thought, "Hey cool! Someone's on the ball with organizing!" We promptly signed up.

In less than one week, the website and volunteer opportunities processes on YYCHelps were streamlined even more. My friend and I signed up to help with Tide Loads of Hope through the YYCHelps website. Two of the ladies we helped were interviewed in this news clip:

At the same time, I spied a posting for volunteers with some social media savvy. I got excited. Here was something that called to my technical and social media geekiness.

At the volunteer orientation session on June 27, 2013, I signed up to help in two areas. Within six hours, I was appointed to lead the website updates team.

I was leery of the commitment, especially with me heading out the CFMTA Convention early July. The core team member who approached me said, "If you could set it up, I can take over when I return [and you go]."

The core team explained that they wanted a swarm structure for the teams. Everyone is dispensable. The set-up, if done properly, should allow for anyone who can read and use the computer to take over your role.

After just five crazy days of working with my team and setting up the team handbook, we've really gelled while building up something truly exciting. Before leaving for Halifax, I appointed two back-up team leads from within the team, although part of me didn't want to leave. It was just too darn exciting.

Yes, I'm an adrenaline junkie. Being thrown into a project running, trying to get something meaningful set up (and set up well) within a tight timeframe, meeting with and working with a diverse group of like-minded and talented people for a good cause - how could you NOT get high from this?

In the end, my initial fears were about nothing. The bulk of my commitment was during those five days, which involved contacting my team, setting up a schedule, developing a team handbook (Version 1.0 and 1.1) and liaising with the other team members as well as the Core Team.

When I left for the CFMTA national convention, I had complete faith that any member of my team could step up to lead the team successfully. Although I popped in on our team's online chat window my first day away, I was quickly shooed offline. The team was on it. I had absolutely nothing to worry about.

My two back-ups did a superb job while I was away, working the team out of its role prior to my return. When handing the reins back to the Core Team, the team expressed appreciation for the Core Team's efforts and for each member of the team, as well as gratitude for being able to help with the flood relief efforts. Should they need our skills once again further down the road, we're all game.

Although our role in complete, there is still work to be done. I have yet to catch up on all the news and developments on Basecamp and see if there's anything remaining loose ends that I must take care of. As well, there are countless opportunities cropping up in which we as a team can band together - with each other and with others - to make a difference.