—By Laura Van Jangles—
So you’ve really been thinking about it, and you’ve decided— this summer is going to be your most badass yet! No more same ‘ol, same ‘ol! You’re going to switch things up and really make it a memorable one. The summer of 2015 will go down in the books, filled with stories you’ll someday be repeating to your grandkids until their eyes roll back into their heads.
Maybe you’ll run a marathon? Push yourself to new limits in a sport? Start a new business or endeavor? Build something awesome?
But you know what you should definitely put on that list of epicness? Volunteering. Because nothing will stoke you out on your community more than getting involved with it.
If helping grannies cross the street doesn’t seem like yo thang, worry not, because there’s a ton of different ways you can show Tahoe your love. Figuring out your volunteering steeze will help you determine what do-gooding best suits your personality and skills.
Plus it looks good on your Tinder profile. Boo-yah!
Keep Tahoe Blue (for water enthusiasts)
You love Tahoe. Obviously. You spend loads of time on or near the water, whether it’s paddle boarding, swimming, or just going full beached-whale at Kiva. It drives you nuts when you see people disrespecting our mother land’s crystal blue waters. You’re entwined to that massive puddle. She’s got you in the palm of her hand.
Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the last ten years, then you’ve definitely heard of Keep Tahoe Blue. It’s a league committed to keeping the lake clean and healthy. This summer show your love for your favorite swimming hole by becoming a certified Eyes on the Lake volunteer. You’ll get trained on how to spot invasive species and on filling out simple surveys important to understanding what’s going on below our lake’s surface.
The best part of all this? You basically volunteer while you’re out doing the stuff you were already planning on doing. Now that kayaking trip will really count for something more than just rad Instagram pics.
“Oh, this tan? Thanks. I got it volunteering.”
Next training session is this weekend, so get on the do-gooder wagon!
For more info: http://www.keeptahoeblue.org/our-work/eyes
A Brush with Kindness (for the outdoorsy handyperson)
So you’re obsessed with tackling outdoorsy projects like gardening and building things out of wood or rusty nails or whatever’s laying around (maybe avoid the rusty nails). People call you a handyman. Well, usually when they need something but, hey, at least it means you’re skilled!
ABWK is looking to recruit handy volunteers to help low-income homeowners who need some work done to their home exteriors. You’ll be helping out with things like painting, yard cleanup, and minimal landscaping. Families will be stoked on their house’s sweet new looks, and you’ll be stoked to see the fruit of your labor bring joy to others.
And you’ll finally have a good reason to say, “Look, Ma!…..” for the first time since you rode a tricycle.
If this gig seems right up your alley, check out their calendar of projects and let them know which ones you’re down to help out with. Even if it’s just one, you’ll be stoked you did it.
For more info click on the link: http://www.sltahoehabitat.com
Or give them a ring at: 530-544-2620
Bread and Broth Soup Kitchen (for the extrovert)
Do you possess a huge personality and a keen ability to make others crack up? Maybe you enjoy making others feel good and brightening up their day, if even just for a moment.
Tahoe’s main soup kitchen is your chance to not just dish out tasty fare, but also feel-good vibes, to those in the community who need it. Believe it or not, there’s tons of hungry people in your own community who don’t always have the means to feed themselves. Twice a week B&B doles out hot dinners to individuals to help them get the nutrition they deserve.
Besides, who doesn’t love a big smile when they’re getting their meatloaf? I know I do.
If this seems like your steeze, click on the link for more info!
The Sugar Pine Foundation (for the naturalist)
You dig plants. Your garden is always the envy of the neighborhood, especially Dolores, the elderly woman across the street who gives you evil eye whenever your petunias outshine hers. Hiking or running outdoors is your time to commune with nature and appreciate that bushy, green broad for all she provides. Because let’s be real—she’s a looker!
This summer, expand on that garden to include all of Tahoe! Sugar Pine trees, which used to comprise 25% of Tahoe’s forests, have now been reduced to less than 5% thanks to an invasive fungus called white pine blister rust. The Sugar Pine foundation is always looking for people to help plant trees, collect cones, as well as to participate in various events held throughout the year. You can even intern with them for school credit!
You know you like to get down and dirty, so do it for Tahoe. She’ll love you back for it!
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (for animal lovers)
You can’t imagine your life without your dog Mr. Nutella or your cat Flufferwinkleton. An undeniable sucker for all things cute and furry, you inflame at the thought of any animal going through pain. It’s just not fair!!
Bring justice to your community of creatures by helping raise and rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife. Training seminars are held before summer each year to teach volunteers exactly how to care for our critters in need. If you can’t commit to that level of hands-on involvement, help out at the next fundraiser! Every little bit helps!
How cool would it be to help re-release a bear cub into the wild? Or rescue a nest filled with baby birds! Pretty cool.
For more info: http://www.ltwc.org
TAMBA (for adrenaline junkies)
You’re all about living fast and furious. Your mom’s constantly checking in to make sure you’re still alive and all of your money, after bills, is donated to charity. And by charity we mean your personal fundraiser for new parts/gear.
Just think, you could build on those charitable ways by helping build sick downhilling trails. Not only will you be helping the community, and nature, but your adrenaline habit as well! YOU could take part in just how crisp those jumps turn out and the quality of the line up.
On the roster for this summer is a new trial on Kingsbury (the Stinger), Bijou Bike Park, and Corral (adding new jumps and features).
It’s going to be a great summer for TAMBA, and you know you want to be a part of it.
Boys and Girls Club (for those who are good with kids)
Do you kick- ass with kids? Are you cool enough that they respect and emulate you, but know you could serve as a positive role model at the same time? Maybe you have a knack for communicating with them on their level. Bro to bro. Sis to sis. Compadre to compadre.
The Boys and Girls Club are always looking for awesome mentors for the many kids that come through their doors. Tons of kids in our community lack any role models in their life. Maybe both their parents work. Maybe they drink. Whatever the case, some kiddos just don’t get the luck of the draw when it comes to home life.
Share your stoke for hiking, biking, and whatever it is that makes you excited for life. That excitement is contagious, especially to kids/teens.
Give them someone to look up to. They’ll never forget you for it.
Now that you’ve had a chance to determine your volunteering steeze, we have another suggestion for you this summer.
Take some selfies.
You heard us! Take some MOTHEREFFING selfies!!! Because it’s time we start movement, a positive selfie movement. Let’s admit it—selfies are here, and here to stay. If you’re going to congest people’s feeds with close-ups of your face, why not be a close-up of your face doing something rad within your community!
Here’s my duck face planting trees! Here’s my duck face and the kid I’m mentoring’s duck face. Here’s my duck face and an actual duck’s face, the one I rescued today!
Don’t ever let anybody tell you you should keep your do-gooding ways to yourself, because do-gooding is contagious and inspiring to others. It lets them know there are actually people out there who care enough to get involved.
People they know. People they see around town. People they mingle with at Whiskey Dicks on the weekends.
Normal people. Rad people. Inspiring people.