At this time of year the newspapers, television programming, radio, print media, Twitter and other social networks are filled with New Year's resolutions that people are making and, of course, also those that were broken in previous years. Can you think of how many you've made over the last decade and how many of those that all too soon went by the wayside?
Here is one resolution for 2011 that each and everyone of us can keep. Resolve to volunteer your time in 2011 to a non-profit historical organization. Say the words " volunteers needed " and most people look away and pretend they didn't hear you. Some may donate money to your organization, but 'time' is the commodity any historical society cherishes. Some of you know that I am a curator at a local lighthouse. In 2009, seventeen volunteers donated over 3,400 hours to the lighthouse historical society. That 'sweat equity' saved the society over $27,000. This year saw twenty two volunteers give 4,000 hours of free labor to our Lake County icon. I am 53 years old and one of the youngest volunteers. I have been a volunteer since 1996. The other society volunteers range in age from 70-93. Many have volunteered at the lighthouse since the 1970's, and one has been with us since 1945. As a member of the Historic Lake County Alliance, I know that each member society mirrors the points mentioned. Each society is interested in finding ways to transfer this older generation concept of 'volunteerism' ( that some may think of as quaint these days ) to a younger generation of history lovers. Quite simply, each volunteer hour is a gift. Historical societies are year-long enterprises. Each is a living piece of history. Your volunteer hours in 2011 will be a gift to our present and to our future.
Let this coming year be better than all others. As part of your New Year's Resolution, I hope that you will resolve this year, along with your other notable resolutions, to make a time commitment to get involved locally with one of our historical societies.
Historic Lake County Alliance Members: Eastlake Historical Society, Fairport Harbor Historical Society, Heart of Willoughby, Inc. , Historic Downtown Willoughby, Indian Museum, James A. Garfield NHS, Kirtland Temple, Lake County History Center, Madison Historical Society, Perry Historical Society, Rabbit Run Community Arts, St. Hubert's Church, Wickliffe Historical Society, Willoughby Hills Historical Society, Willoughby Historical Center, Willoughby Welcome Center