It’s National Volunteer Month, and we want to take the opportunity to recognize our employee volunteers for all they do to engage with our local communities. From festivals and charity fundraisers, to parades and financial education seminars, our employees give selflessly of their time and talents. In fact, 2018 marked 10 years of Scott Credit Union’s employee Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP), as well as the milestone of 20,000 hours volunteered in our communities. Through VIP, employees can earn prizes such as apparel, gift cards and even time off in return for volunteering.
2018 was also special for another reason, as we awarded our second-ever VIP Lifetime Achievement Award to Consumer Loan Associate/Underwriter Janine Gurley. This award is presented at Scott Credit Union’s Annual Employee Appreciation event in recognition of volunteering 1,000 hours through VIP.
We recently sat down with Janine and the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Winner, Executive Administrative Assistant Renee VanDyke, to find out what VIP means to them. Both mentioned that VIP has provided them with new opportunities they would not have otherwise experienced. In Renee’s case, this has involved learning about and participating in a wider variety of events than those going on in her own backyard. She explained, “The credit union offers so many different types of opportunities to volunteer, not just certain things you’d find in your church or your own community. You can find events throughout the whole area that you might not have thought about.”
Janine added that volunteering has given her the chance to meet different employees and work together while not actually “working.” It has also sparked some friendly competition which has made volunteering even more exciting. Funny enough, an unspoken competition with Renee is what brought Janine to the program to begin with. She recalled, “Renee’s name was being called [for the monthly prize] every month. And I’m like no… someone’s got to put an end to this. I started attending events, watching her, seeing how she interacted, and I realized this is really fun.”
A friendly competition with another coworker also drove Janine to volunteer nearly 280 hours (the equivalent of almost seven work-weeks) in 2014. That year was one of her favorite memories of the program. She reminisced, “We never told each other our hours. I wanted to do what she was doing. We would call each other to keep tabs. We would laugh, and neither of us wanted to stop.”
We asked Janine what it meant to her to earn the Lifetime Achievement Award. She gushed, “I can’t believe I volunteered that many hours, though I think [her husband] James needs one. Oh my gosh, it took me eight years and in eight more years, I will have 2,000.”
We also asked Renee what she thought about Janine joining her ranks. She reflected, “I’m glad somebody joined me. I think it’s cool that people can be inspired to ‘up their game.’ I know everybody’s lives are so different… I’m fortunate that at this time in my life I have free time and it’s something I enjoy doing.”
Renee was also quick to give credit to all of the other employees who make VIP possible. She elaborated, “I think it takes the whole village to get to that 2,000 hours that we do every year, so even if you think you can only do one event, that’s one event that might not have been able to be done if we didn’t have the volunteer. If you took everybody else away and you just have mine and Janine’s hours, we can’t be everywhere.”
Finally, we asked for advice for individuals who might be interested in volunteering but have been hesitant to take the plunge. Janine’s answer was simple: just do it! She explained, “With commitments like work, families, and church, no one feels they have the time to volunteer. However, once you make the effort to attend your first event, you see how much fun it can be.”