Here’s a tip: check out your state and county websites for very cool volunteer and certificate opportunities.
In particular for you green thumbs out there is the Master Naturalist program (at least they offer it here in VA). At a glance it seems to be a reputable and interesting certificate program. Also it might be taxpayer funded so no need to pay! Worth checking out if you have the time – I’d do it myself but 6-12 months of dedication is a bit steep for me right now.
There are many other programs that may catch one’s eye: including volunteer firefighter and rescue squad opportunities, volunteering at state parks, the state citizen corps program, state medical reserve corps, and CERT (referred to as NERT for you San Franciscans). I am sure there are varied ones in your area that cater to local needs and individual tastes.
For example, I am looking into the joining the state militia, here known as the Virginia Defense Force. Twenty two states have a state backed militia, including California. There’s monthly drill, are activated only when the National Guard is commandeered leaving state facilities undermanned, answer only to the governor, and you get to wear spiffy uniforms. As a historical note, there has been a Virginia militia since before there was a United States of America but the VDF was only institutionalized in the ’80s when the federal government through Congressional mandate gained the power to draft the National Guard into the active duty military. For legal purposes I should state that by “historical note” I mean “Phil’s special cocktail of hearsay, personal opinion, and late night Wikipedia surfing.”
Anyhow, I hope my fellow RainbowAcresfolk (that made me think of hobbits, which in turn made me chuckle) are doing well. I’ll end with a poem I came across just recently by Rudyard Kipling:
Our hearts where they rocked our cradle,
Our love where we spent our toil,
And our faith, and our hope, and our honor,
We pledge to our native soil.
God gave all men all earth to love
But since our hearts are small
Ordained for each one spot should prove
Beloved over all.
… Man that fires me up. ~Phil