Keeping the books for volunteer-run organizations, while it may not be as flashy or exciting as some aspects of volunteer work, is still integral to make everything else happen as Sylvia Griffith knows well.
Griffith was born and raised in Forest Grove where she still lives in retirement to this day and is a member of many community volunteer-based organizations. She worked as a care-aid at Fischer Place when it first opened for about 18 years prior to retiring.
“I actually enjoyed working with the older folks I really got along well with them and I really missed it when I quit but, you get old and you have to quit too,” Griffith said with a chuckle.
She’s always enjoyed living in Forest Grove because of its slower pace and lack of the hustle and bustle that comes with a big city. Both while she was working and now in retirement Griffith has given back to this community by volunteering her time.
One of her longest-standing community commitments is her 45-year membership with the Ladies Auxillary of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #261 Forest Grove. For 30 of those years, she’s served as their secretary-treasurer and said she first started volunteering there because she felt, as she still does, that it’s important to support our veterans in any way that they can.
The LA also provides local seniors with events to attend such as the Christmas Dinner they put on every year. Griffith added that part of the reason she volunteers with the LA is because they are a great group of ladies to work with and that she has a lot of fun working with them.
She also servers as secretary-treasurer for the Forest Grove Cemetary Committee which runs the Forest Grove Cemetary by selling plots, keeping it clean and conducting general maintenance on the site. Griffith said they have a few constant volunteers who help with mowing the grass between the graves and weed whack any unwanted plants. She began volunteering there after being asked to and she said her duties primarily consist of managing the cemetery’s finances and selling plots to families. Both her grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts are buried there and she said it’s nice to do her part to help keep it looking respectful.
When it comes to the Forest Grove Recreation Society she also serves as treasurer and has been for the last three years paying the bills and managing their finances. The society runs the community hall, Griffith said the adjacent library and the campground. There they have space for a quilting club, pickleball club, a walking club and yoga and tai chi classes, though some of these activities have been put on hold due to COVID-19.
“I don’t mind doing the books. I have taken some courses on it when I was younger so I don’t mind keeping track of things,” Griffith said when asked why she gravitates towards the treasurer position.
The greatest challenge in being one, she said, is trying to find enough money to support them as sometimes it can be challenging to cover all their expenses. Overall she said they’ve been doing quite well even if they’ve had to fund a lot of repairs for the recreation society lately.
While she’s humble about her own volunteerism, Griffith sees the value of those she volunteers with every day.
“If you didn’t have someone looking after these organizations you wouldn’t have them. It takes volunteers to run all of this and it’s important to keep things going,” Griffith said. “If you didn’t have that you wouldn’t have any sports, a Legion to attend, it’s important to participate as best you can to keep things going as best you can.”
She encourages everyone to do what they can in their communities and just keep in mind they can’t please everyone.