The cog in the wheel is one who holds a minor but most necessary post in a large organization. The cogs who run the Orange County Wine Society are our volunteers.
As a volunteer, I have had the privilege to meet and spend time and work side by side with amazingly wonderful people who, like me, love the OCWS not just for what it can give us, but what we can do to give back and help in the successes of an incredible volunteer organization.
For me, it took just raising a hand to volunteer at the courtyard at the OC Fair 23 years ago and I was hooked. I had so much fun and met so many kind, intelligent, heartwarming and fun-loving people that, most likely, I wouldn’t have crossed paths with in this life. Volunteering hasn’t always been fun, since I have the tendency, like many of us, to raise my hand just a bit too often. But it most certainly has always been fulfilling.
This brings me to the point that the OCWS runs on volunteerism and the old adage that “many hands make for light work.” There are a number of people who have the time to volunteer on a regular basis, but it is also the people who have but a few days or even just hours a year that we would not exist without.
With each new year, OCWS starts planning for the annual major events that make this organization what it is – the Commercial and Home Wine competitions, wine auctions, the Courtyard at the OC Fair and, lest we forget, the numerous other membership events throughout the year. All of these are successful because of volunteers.
One thing you can be assured of is that you will be asked repeatedly to volunteer. Volunteering is not a requirement of membership and solicitation to volunteer does not mean you are obligated. But I promise you, if you have not thrown your hat into the volunteer pool, try it; you will not regret it. You will meet people you otherwise might not meet; you will share stories and laughter; and, I hope, you will find as much enjoyment in volunteering as I have and that your heart will be equally filled.
I urge all of you who can make the time, even for just one hour at an event, to give volunteering a try. It is truly addictive; just ask anyone who has tried it. It is as much a social experience as any event you attend.
John F. Kennedy once said, “Every person can make a difference and every person should try.” I say every member should volunteer at least once and I hope you have as much fun as I do.
—Fran Gitsham, President