It was about this time last year that I submitted my name to join the Guelph Greens Executive Board—without having any idea of what I was getting into.
I’d never volunteered with the Greens before—and I had very little understanding of what the executive board even did. I didn’t know a single person—or the difference between a Constituency Association and an Electoral District Association. I wasn’t even 100% clear on the role I was applying for—communications director.
There was, however, a little voice inside of me pushing me to venture out of my comfort zone and submit my name when that AGM email came around. If I really think about it, I believe that voice stemmed from four specific needs:
- I wanted to do something positive for the planet and the people of Guelph. I was just coming out of the haze of raising two little kids and was sick of sitting on the sidelines worrying about their future. I wanted to take action.
- I wanted to support the Green Party. Although I never got involved in a volunteer capacity, I was what you call a “strong” Green—the kind of person who puts up Green lawn signs without consulting the other voter in her household.
- I wanted to develop my communications skills. As a b2b copywriter, my job technically falls into the communications space, but I wanted to explore the strategy side of it.
- I wanted to meet new people. Working from home, I don’t get out much. The idea of hanging out with people who also shared my interests and beliefs for the world around us (which I later discovered are known as “Green Values”) really appealed to me.
Almost a year in, I can confidently say that joining the executive was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’m often surprised at how well the experience turned out for me, to be honest. Not only do I get to exchange ideas with an amazing group of people once a month, but I sleep a lot better at night knowing I’m doing something for the Green Party, the planet and its people.
I’ve also had a chance to develop my skills in new and exciting ways—I’ve worked with smaller subcommittees to create communications strategies designed to best engage our members (and attract new ones!), design a new logo, and plan the Doughnut Economics panel discussion at our AGM.
This group of people—and this higher sense of purpose in my life—gave me the strength I needed to battle through the darkest days of COVID. And while I haven’t had the full experience of meeting all our members in person or working through an election campaign, this last year wasn’t a bad way to ease my way in.
Should you join us?
If you’re teetering on the fence—wondering if this type of volunteer engagement is really worth your time—I’d like to share a few pearls of wisdom:
- Firstly, in case you’re wondering, the purpose of the executive board is to promote the presence of the Green Party in Guelph by organizing events, raising funds and mobilizing volunteers inside and outside of election years.
- Moving forward, our executive will be split into a provincial board (the Constituency Association, or CA), whose mandate is to re-elect our MPP Mike Schreiner; as well as a federal board (the Electoral District Association or EDA) whose mandate is to get Guelph to elect its first federal Green candidate.
- Lastly, the quality of your executive experience will depend on what you put into it. To make it as rewarding as possible, I would recommend sitting down and thinking about the skills you bring to the table—or the activities you truly enjoy doing—and find a way to bring those skills and activities to your desired role.
- Right now, while every Green member in good standing is welcome to submit their name for any position, the federal executive (or EDA) is looking to build its team by filling four vacant positions: President/ Chief Executive Officer, Communications Director, Fundraising Director, and Events Coordinator.
If you’d like more details on any of these roles, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re ready to take the plunge and submit your name, you can do so here.
Green Party of Ontario and Green Party of Canada members will be voting for executive board candidates at the Guelph Greens AGM on December 2 from 7-8pm. We hope to see you there—and maybe (hopefully?) on the executive team!
Vanessa Chris is the communications director for the Guelph Greens Constituency Association. You can reach her at email@example.com.