I first heard about Erin Busby back in early spring of 2016. I was searching for the type of volunteer that could help make the complex logistics of a new event happen without a glitch. Erin’s name came up numerous times so she agreed to meet with me at one of our favorite local gathering places to learn about the challenges we faced for our fall event.
Erin jumped in with both feet and helped make that event run smoothly for all participants and even took hold of the first ever KLT winter Outside7B/Schweitzer youth program which had numerous challenges that she took on without hesitation.
I suspect any one of us at the KLT office could go on and on about the numerous ways Erin has stepped up to help us with our work as she is always ready not just for KLT but for many of our community organizations here in Bonner County.
I met with Erin a few weeks ago to interview her for this article.
The following are excerpts from that conversation.
“I had a high stress position in southern California that had been impacting my health and overall quality of life for years. The commute time in my car on the massive highways of California had outnumbered the hours I spent at my own home and I got to the point where I knew I had to leave that life behind. My brother was living in Sandpoint so I came up in 2009 for a visit and the rest is, as they say…”history”.
I had no idea what I was going to do when I arrived and I had a lot of free time on my hands so I started volunteering at the local Panada theatre, where I met wonderful people and started getting a sense of community, which was something I had never had while in California. I learned of other ways I could volunteer in our community and it pretty much took off from there.
Our community was very connected back then and everyone I met seemed to help everyone else so it was a natural road for me to embark upon and I continue to find value in volunteering for many organizations in Bonner County.
Over the years, I have learned some “Best Practices” for volunteering that have worked well for me. Mainly, I try to volunteer where I can pop in for a few hours to lend a hand and then get back to my own life demands. I sometimes find myself taking on much larger roles such as the Outside7B winter program this past January and I’ve been known to volunteer for trail maintenance but for the most part I like to help in short stints to make sure I have a balance in my life.
I enjoy volunteering for projects that include children or are for children in need such as Kaniksu Land Trust’s OUTSIDE7B because I believe there is a great need up here for programming that encourage our youth to get outside and get away from their iPhone and laptops. I also enjoy kayaking every summer for the long Bridge swim not just, because it is fun, but without all of us out there in the lake, the swimmers are at risk. A few summers ago I had a swimmer come up to my kayak in need of support…she did not want to give up on her goal to finish the swim so the two of us took it nice and easy until she was ready to swim to shore. It may seem small, but seeing the joy on her face when she knew she had crossed the lake, is something I will not soon forget.
Volunteering has introduced me to some extraordinary folks that I might never have met had I not said yes to a volunteer opportunity & that is cool. I like that there are so many of us who work together to continue to make our community what it is. When our community hears that a family is in need or an organization needs a helping hand, there are literally hundreds of people here in Sandpoint and our surrounding areas who will step up and give of their time, their funds or material items, it really is quite amazing.”