Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why Join an Organization

at UPMoutaineers' old tambayan (hang-out place)
in UP Library, early 90's. pic c/o Romeo Lee
 As I reflect about last weekend’s event (Rescue Regatta), its lack of funding and preparation, but with a surprising good result – I was again reminded that things will move to a nice finish when one gets enough help from people around him/her. Right after Yolanda, relief goods flowed to destination sites, medical and relief teams travelled here and there – made possible by good network of people who helped bridge all gaps. And these 2 examples were not even org-sponsored/mandated activities.

I have a hundred other examples of proof that one can and will accomplish many things if he/she is backed (and part) of a bigger group of people. A club, an organization – formal or informal, help each one of us do things, big and great! This is one of the reasons why my first tip to would-be Everest climber is to join an established mountaineering group. And this is true to other areas – diving club, martial arts, dancing, art, religious, moms at home, conservationist, dog lovers, astronomers, scientists – the whole lot. Let me share my thoughts on some benefits and some tips at the end.

1. A good org is a source of knowledge, skills, opportunity. With good established and healthy number of members – one can learn a lot just by mingling with club members. Skills can be learned and honed during org activities. Opportunities to learn, have fun, grow – are endless. An individual self-practising a skill, say rowing, may take more time to learn and may even develop bad habits if without the constant watch of someone more experienced from his/her group. A coach-to-coachee(non-org) learning model is great, but informal mentors/coaches are not only cheaper – they also work great plus diverse mentor experiences offered more learning options.

2. A good add to one’s social life. A lone man is a lonely man. Well maybe most of the time. Activities, meetings, get together and even parties are typical social opportunities in a club. And if one is single – he/she has more opportunities to mingle. :)

3. One’s character and maturity are tested in a diverse organization, but a good process for growth. If one quits, either he/she isn’t fit, or is missing the opportunity to grow as a person, enrich and better his/her character. Once in a while, one may have serious disagreement with other members, even an occasional fight. It’s all part of growing.

4. Individual goals may be achieved with help from your sphere. Org is like an extended family, if they believe in your aspirations – people close to you will help you achieve it. Help could be in any form be it material, emotional, mental – even spiritual at times.

5. A strong org can achieve great things – and you’ll be one of the proud players. Influential organizations can alter/have altered history! Advocacy campaigns are normally championed by group of people – a louder voice vs. single person. “No to plastics!” “RH Bill” “Medical Marijuana” “No to Pork Barrel” – these campaigns won’t be heard unless cried by plenty!

6. A network of organizations. Chances are, an org or club is affiliated with many other organizations – not necessarily the same type and kind. You join an org and you’ll have the opportunity to access this wonderful web of resources.

7. A force to be reckoned with. If you got into trouble doing something for/with your organization or at least aligned with the principles or objectives of your group – AND if you are on the right/moral side, the whole organization will rally behind you, even influence other similar organizations to fight for you. Think of Sea Shepherd (Whale Wars), Greenpeace or other big organizations that normally gets into tough battles with governments or international criminal organizations.

Some tips:

- Find and join an org that, not only interests you – but will offer growth in your chosen area of enrichment. Not just for the sake of ‘joining a club’.

- A target org and its members’ activities may not fit you or your lifestyle – assess if that’s the room for growth that you want to experiment with. Caution on ‘birds of the same feather’ syndrome – it’s not always healthy for growing, though easier to adapt to or assimilate in.

- Check org’s history of accomplishments, or programs or activities and even past issues or controversies – are those something you will be proud about / accomplishments that you wanted to repeat or outdo…

- Check the members – can you mingle w/ most, tolerate some, be close with a few. The first few days or weeks could be a good ‘social skills practise’ for someone who’s not used to meeting strangers. If you categorized most members under ‘tolerate’ or even ‘avoid’ – maybe it’s not the right org for you.

- What if you can’t find an org – but have a good set of friends/people with the same ideals/ interest/ goals. MAKE ONE! “Turbo Snails race club” “Nudi Branch lovers society” “Star finders club” “Play Dough art club” whatever it is – just have fun, learn, and grow.

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