The purpose of this site is to arm individuals with the knowledge and strategy for success in volunteering and rebuilding various groups who support charities, thus in the process as more and more people do this we will collectively rebuild America! Just as the Freemasons are the inheritors of a past in building the great Christian churches we now take for granted, so too are America’s great volunteer groups showing signs of being taken for granted. The Empowered Volunteers can be the builders for these great American assets before we lose something too big for words when you consider all the contributions they have made over our history.
Lofty purpose, tons of work by a huge number of people needed to pull it off. Every person counts, even if you don’t want to become an empowered volunteer. Join for selfish reasons and then as time goes on you’re likely to become much more open to the real values of the group and the charity you are supporting. When you combine passion with networking with face to face interactions with other humans you can’t help but see health improvements, according to many studies over many years.
Harvard professor Robert D. Putnam, in his book “Bowling Alone” published in 2000 showed on page 303 a Social Capital Index which provided data reflecting that kids watch less TV in high social capital states. As adults and parents, all of us should want to set a better example for our kids. Data analysis like this shows convincingly that there is a link between the way children are raised in different parts of the country and how they act as adults.
This book by Putnam is one of the big factors that encouraged me to start figuring out the empowered volunteer criteria and methodology. If we lose these groups which Putnam says are part of what made America great over our history, we really lose something of our American soul. We don’t have to let these groups die off.
Putnam provided concrete data to show the need for what I had been using as a life strategy most of my life. America’s many civic and fraternal groups are dying in what he claimed left American’s bowling alone, thus the name for his book.
To illustrate the huge issue, I will use numbers from one civic group, but rest assured that the book I wrote in 2006 had population data from many groups which also have seen a decline in memberships just like this one.
Optimists International in 2006 had 123,865 members according to the website at the time. Today the site shows 87,000 members in 2013. That is a huge drop off in members over 7 years, but the cause and need for help has not declined I assure you. Another data point is that in 2006 the number of Optimist Clubs was 3,918, today their site shows 2,900 clubs. This is nearly a drop of a thousand clubs! This group has the famous Optimist Creed, which is well worth a visit to their web site to copy and print out. I recite this creed out loud on a frequent basis as a motivational tool.
Another well known group, Moose International, a fraternal and service group had in 2006 1.5 million members, today their site reflects 800,000 members. In 2006 they had 2,000 lodges and today their site reflects 1,800 lodges. They are still doing a mountain of good work, but with the steady decline of members the amount of help they can provide is a bit harder than when they had 700,000 more people!
These two examples of groups with a history in the last 7 years of declining memberships is the normal rather than the exception when it comes to membership decline. Very few groups have shown an increase. Most show a sharp decline as outlined in Putnam’s book.
As I post more and more about groups and their needs I will reflect each groups past numbers and needs when known as well as current numbers when they are available. I will post about how to become engaged and involved, all while helping your own future and your individual health in the process! So you can be civic and yet benefit in several ways too.
New motivated volunteers are needed desperately in all areas of the volunteer network. That is what prompted me to write my book in 2006, with the help of a hugely successful and very professional writing coach near Philadelphia, PA. Unfortunately, my old coach has now published many of his own books while I could not get any publisher interested in my idea to rebuild America. Thus I am taking my cause to the people and I will cut out the middle man, or publisher if you will who did not see the potential of rebuilding America. It was not the fault of the writing coach or the publishers that my book did not see the light of day, it was my fault for not finding a way. Now I have found that way, this site. I may or may not compile new data on population declines and new information for a follow up book with current information, that is yet to be decided.
To construct my book back in 2006 I simply took some of my business graduate studies from Troy State University, combined that with my experience in several volunteer groups along with my training in Lean Manufacturing techniques, particularly the empowered worker concepts so that the result was the “Empowered Volunteer Rebuilds America, One Fraternal, Civic, and Veterans Group at a Time”. I will in future posts detail exactly how, step by step, a motivated individual should start to take back America, one fraternal, civic, and veterans group at at time. I hope to self-publish this book in both print as well as e-book format in the future.
To illustrate the incredible power of the data collected in Putnam’s book, particularly a concept called the Social Capital Index, I will quote a bit from “Bowling Alone”.
“States that score high on the Social Capital Index – that is, states whose residents trust other people, join organizations, volunteer, vote, and socialize with friends – are the same states where children flourish: where babies are born healthy and where teenagers tend not to become parents, drop out of school, get involved in violent crime, or die prematurely due to suicide or homicide.
Statistically, the correlation between high social capital and positive child development is as close to perfect as social scientists ever find in data analysis of this sort. States like North Dakota, Vermont, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa have healthy civic adults and healthy well adjusted kids; other states, primarily those in the South, face immense challenges in both the adult and youth populations.”
Social capital by itself is not a cause for healthy kids or any other issue. It is a very big contributor but by itself it is only one factor. When combined with other factors the data suggests that when you do things to increase your social capital, you will incur increased health benefits.
How much for each individual and how soon all are individual characteristics that are very hard to determine without mounds of data from before you started and then followup data after you are fully engaged in the program. For our purposes we will rely on the various studies that show the benefits to those who have done similar programs. Basically, if it works for others over the years, we will strive to get the same results all while helping people in need and collectively helping our country.
By the way, there is no reason this pattern I will submit for the American citizens could not be used all over the world. The World Bank has encouraged many countries to engage in increasing the social capital of the citizens in the area involved. The concept is powerful and it has had success in many areas beyond helping American volunteer groups. In time if there is a demand I will study other countries and their issues and tailor this program for their needs. This program certainly can help others, but the massive data analysis from “Bowling Alone” helped justify the various techniques I have tailored for my Rebuilding of America program. Other countries might have different needs due to different conditions and populations.
To summarize, Empowered Volunteers are individuals who have a purpose, to increase the membership of their worthy cause or charity. In the process of helping their cause, they will contribute to the overall rebuilding of American volunteer groups, including civic groups, fraternal groups, and veteran groups. There are also many other worthy groups for empowered volunteers to help, youth groups, trade groups, garden clubs, church groups, and many others. No mater what worthy group you choose, you can be sure that when you hook up someone with a group that they feel passionate about you will be one step closer to rebuilding America’s volunteer infrastructure. You will be the next Empowered Volunteer who helps rebuild America, one volunteer at at time.