One of my volunteer activities is serving on the board that runs the Strawberry Vale Community Hall. The hall is conveniently located at the other end of the block from me, and is similar to countless others found across the country. In our case, the hall is totally self-sustaining and receives no external funding. It stands on donated land, and the main part of the building was constructed over one hundred years ago, with a major renovation in the late 1940s.
Over the years, there have been a variety of uses and activities in the hall. Saturday dances with live music used to be a regular occurrence but that faded away a generation ago. Currently there is a Wednesday night Bingo that continues to draw the regulars, and for many of those players this is a significant social event. Badminton, swing dancing, highland dancing, and the fish and game club are some of the ongoing activities. Apart from that, the hall is rented out for parties and weddings and other purposes. All the funds go into the upkeep and maintenance of the hall and some funds are redistributed within the local community as needs arise.
For me, it provides a tangible and vital connection to the community and the people who live here. I think its vitally important to do more than just pay lip service to the sense of community so whether its cleaning the floors or the chairs, sweeping out the basement, or sorting through old records I am happy to lend a hand. Tonight is the regular monthly meeting where a small handful of us sit down and run through the regular agenda items and decide what needs fixing, what needs doing, and what can be left alone. For a very small investment of my personal time, I have gained an absolute treasure of satisfaction, participation, and connectedness.