While a bit out of context from the original question posed to the founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark, the goal of his answer strikes a wide-ranging truth.
“The world doesn’t need more loud people giving their opinions," he said. "Maybe what we need are people who work together quietly for common good. That often means working in back channels trying to encourage the people who want to do a better job for everyone. And you know, that seems to work.”
Newmark’s comment easily applies to both career professionals and nonprofessionals. My take aligns it to volunteerism — from chairing a major fundraiser, baking cookies for that big event or for a person who could use some cheering up.
In other words, it’s okay to be a do-gooder. Do-gooders make a difference — even acts that seem insignificant at the time.
Who could’ve imagined that when a few members in a women’s club sold poppy seeds and took to planting them on local byways as a way to remind regional residents that one of the most significant poppy bearing areas in California was at their own back door would result in a California State Park — a park that now preserves more than 1,700 acres where the state flower blankets the soil in swaths of red-orange blossoms in the spring? The simple act of selling and planting seeds for the common good is what I think Newmark had in mind with his answer.
Another common good is youth sports programs. Youths are the future of any society. Youth sports activities can help develop self esteem, a healthier lifestyle and academic success, according to the YMCA.
“Sports are the greatest tool we have in today’s society to help children develop positive character traits and life values,” said Greg Bach, vice president of communications for the National Alliance for Youth Sports. “No other place affords them the opportunity to soak up as many quality values as sports participation provides.”
Locally, the Cambria Youth Athletic Association (CYAA) offers Cambria youth organized soccer, basketball and T-ball. Soccer and basketball have about 80 to 100 participants, and T-ball has close to 20, said Robin Salin, CYAA president.
CYAA is “all volunteer based, meaning our board members, coaches, referees, etc. are all volunteers,” Salin wrote in an email.
And it’s that volunteer effort that Salin emphasized in her email.
“We are always in need of coaches and board members who are willing to serve in a position,” she wrote. “Basically, we are struggling to get qualified volunteers to help coach and serve on our board. Volunteers do not need to be parents. In fact, we think that Cambria may have a huge group of people who would be a wonderful addition to our organization who are not parents, but would like to see the youth in town doing something constructive with their free time. We do run background checks.”
Funding CYAA comes from donations and fundraisers like the Cambria Scarecrow Classic 5K Run/Walk in October.
“I would love to have someone step up who has a background in running or events, and chair our Scarecrow Classic. I think it could be really successful,” Salin said.
Registration for soccer teams is currently open, and the deadline to sign up is Tuesday, July 31.
Soccer begins on Aug. 22. Visit CYAA’s website at cambriacyaa.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Grandparents and senior citizens, according to Bach, are encouraged to work within youth sports programs because of a natural wealth of experience.
“Coaches are in a unique position to impact a child for life, so it’s important that they take advantage of it and focus on being a positive influence,” Bach said
And what better way to encourage others to do a better job and to work for the common good, as noted by Newmark, than to coach and mentor youth in sports?