Will Hedgecock has a new philosophy in life. “Wake up early on a Saturday, give four or five hours of service to your community, and be back by noon to lay out by the pool, and feel good about having helped out with the added bonus of knowing you’ve gotten at least two days’ worth of exercise under your belt!”
This 26-year-old achiever isn’t all about pool time, though. Working on his Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering at Vanderbilt, he is all about challenging himself to take on new adventures. In addition to loving the outdoors (he can often be found on a trail, riding a bike, or navigating a river in a canoe), Will is not afraid to experiment when it comes to choosing service projects on the HON Opportunity Calendar. “I’ve been very active within the organization, trying out various opportunities – some of which I knew I’d enjoy and some which were outside of my comfort zone,” says Will. From Urban Farm projects to helping with benefit concerts like the “Moograss” Festival, he’s excited to make a positive difference in the community.
Will encourages others looking to get involved to first start with some issue or place that has meaning to them. “I was excited to see a Radnor Lake volunteer day,” Will says. “This is a park several of my friends and I have visited many times, and I thought it’d be not only fun to help out there, but also to give back to a resource that I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy. Since then, I’ve found a number of Nashville non-profits that I really enjoy volunteering for that I never would have even known about without Hands On Nashville.”
Once you volunteer with something familiar, Will encourages you to “branch out and try something new. You just might find a hidden interest you never knew you had!”
“I’m definitely glad I started volunteering with HON, and I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had with the organization so far. Looking forward to many more volunteer opportunities in the near future!”
When we asked our staff what they love most about summer, we got some great answers: homegrown tomato/basil sandwiches (yum), reading by the pool, hanging out at the lake, cookouts, cold watermelon on a hot day, long days of sunshine. We then asked ourselves – Is it possible to find volunteer projects that align with these things? Check out this magic:
In the spirit of chasing the ice cream man (or woman) and running through the sprinkler, we’re curious if this same experiment works for you. What’s your favorite thing about summer? When you look at our Opportunity Calendar, can you find a volunteer project that somehow involves this thing? Let us know!
Post your answers* on ourFacebook pageby Friday, June 8, and enter a chance to win a dinner for four at Burger Upin Nashville. Ready, set, go!
*Answers must include both a favorite thing about summer AND the volunteer opportunity this aligns with. (Be sure to include the hyperlink to the project!) For example, “My favorite thing about summer is taking walks with my dog. I can help the Nashville community by volunteering with the Nashville Humane Association’s Critter Care project.” The winner will be chosen at random by HON staff.
Radnor Lake State Natural Area was designated as Tennessee’s first natural area and protected ecosystem in 1973. More than one million people visit this 1,260-acre urban sanctuary for wildlife and waterfowl each year. Friends of Radnor Lake is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and promoting the natural beauty of Radnor Lake through land acquisition, environmental education, and park support.
Volunteers play a vital role at the park removing exotic plants, mulching trails, and planting native vegetation. More than 1,000 volunteers helped to rebuild damaged trails after the May 2010 flood. In 2012, park staff are coordinating a long-term volunteer project that involves clearing approximately four acres of invasive exotic bush honeysuckle and creating a new trail to the historic valve-house and caretaker residence.
Volunteers, along with the Radnor Lake Ranger Staff, meet on the fourth Saturday of each month (except December) from 8 a.m. until noon at the Visitor Center off Granny White Pike (click here to sign up and volunteer). Friends of Radnor Lake provides bottled water, insect repellant, gloves, and other supplies so volunteers can show up ready to work. Groups wishing to schedule specific days outside the monthly volunteer day should contact Park Manager Steve Ward at email@example.com or 615-373-3467. For more information, visit www.radnorlake.org.