Vol­un­teer man­agers cel­e­brated


This Novem­ber 5th is In­ter­na­tional Vol­un­teer Man­agers Day, so it is timely to pro­file a vol­un­teer man­ager from our re­gion.

Edith McKay, a vol­un­teer her­self, is re­spon­si­ble for around 30 vol­un­teers at the Cromwell Mu­seum.

With­out vol­un­teer man­agers like her­self who re­cruit, sup­port and mo­ti­vate vol­un­teers, I am ab­so­lutely cer­tain that many ser­vices, events, sports groups, fes­ti­vals and pro­grammes would sim­ply not hap­pen.

With a var­ied back­ground in soft fur­nish­ings, farm­ing, cater­ing and even a stint as a school bus driver, Edith was a found­ing mem­ber of the mu­seum, a process that started back in 2010.

She has been in­volved since, and was ap­pointed di­rec­tor of the Mu­seum Trust when it opened its doors in Jan­uary 2015.

Edith works be­hind the scenes, where she and her team of vol­un­teers en­sure the col­lec­tion pieces are stored safely and cat­a­logued dig­i­tally.

‘‘Cromwell has such an in­ter­est­ing his­tory. The town was founded on gold and the new gold is tourism, fruit and wine,’’ Edith says.

‘‘I’m keen to en­sure its his­tory is pre­served and to en­able peo­ple from any­where in the world to ac­cess it.

‘‘We get won­der­ful sup­port from Te Papa and the Otago Mu­seum, which makes the chal­lenge more man­age­able and I love see­ing his­tory be­ing con­served in the cor­rect way.

‘‘I en­joy con­tribut­ing and en­sur­ing the story is told for the next gen­er­a­tion.

‘‘I have spare time and this role is ideal for me, it’s very, very re­ward­ing.

‘‘I am com­mit­ted to it very much.’’ Edith ex­plains.

What does Edith think makes a good vol­un­teer man­ager?

‘‘You need to be mo­ti­vated to mo­ti­vate oth­ers. Good com­mu­ni­ca­tion is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial.

‘‘I be­lieve in speak­ing to vol­un­teers about what they wish to and can do - and aim to match them to a task that in­ter­ests them.

‘‘We want to keep them busy – we don’t want peo­ple twid­dling their thumbs!’’

I asked Edith what she would say to oth­ers con­sid­er­ing vol­un­teer­ing, and like oth­ers she is quick and suc­cinct with her re­ply:

‘‘You’ll get more out of it than you will ever put in.

‘‘Go into it with the right spirit and you’ll learn, gain great sat­is­fac­tion and meet some fan­tas­tic peo­ple.

‘‘You’ll have a great ball of fun.’’

Vol­un­teer­ing Cen­tral is an ini­tia­tive of Cen­tral Lakes Trust and seeks to raise aware­ness of and sup­port vol­un­teer­ing across the Cen­tral Otago Lakes District.

Con­tact them to speak about vol­un­teer­ing at the Cromwell Mu­seum or other or­gan­i­sa­tions around the re­gion.

❚ Gil­lian White is Vol­un­teer­ing Cen­tral’s se­nior co-or­di­na­tor.

Vol­un­teer man­ager Edith McKay is re­spon­si­ble for around 30 vol­un­teers at the Cromwell Mu­seum.

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