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.