SUMMARY: An award from one of my other lives.
In April of 1995, I enrolled in my first agility class. In October of 1995, I went through the County of Santa Clara's Master Composter program and became a--yes, you guessed it--Master Composter. The program was free, except, wait, you had to agree to give 50 hours related to composting back to the community.
In January of 1996, I entered my first agility trial, and eventually entered another 5 during that year. Back then, the World Wide Web was young, email was (relatively) young (who ever heard of spam?), bayteam.org wouldn't come into being for another 2 years, Taj MuttHall wasn't even a gleam in TMH-mom's eye. In other words--I had time!
I gave dozens of workshops to the community. I worked tables at fairs and home shows. I went to schools and gave talks. I answered questions by email. I constructed PVC sign frames for the program. I helped harvest the big demo worm bins and fill demo compost bins at Emma Prusch Park. I worked at city-wide and county-wide bin-sale days. I gave demo presentations for new classes of Master Composters. I put in many, many, many hours and I had a blast.
I earned my polo shirt for graduating, my sweatshirt for putting in 50 hours, my hat for 100 hours. And I kept going; for the next couple of years I must have put in, oh, 300 hours at least.
But then, as you also may guess, something insidious and really addictive started to take up all my weekends, and evenings, and spare moments everywhere, and gradually dog agility displaced most of my Master Composter activities. I clung to being an active member of the group, though. At one point I thought that my life's work might be as a compost evangelist, although I'm probably less likely now to produce shovels full of compost for party guests and say, "See? Doesn't it smell great?" Maybe only a little less likely. I've been working only maybe one or two compost-related events each of the last several years, just to keep my hands in it, so to speak.
Of course I compost volumes in my yard.
Well, the Home Composting Education Program did something new last night: Together with handing out certificates for the new graduating class of 25, they had an awards banquet for existing Master Composters. I sat with some gung-ho folks from the '04 and '05 classes who are already up in the 300-400-hour range. We saw some slides with impressive statistics about how many hours were volunteered back to the community during the last fiscal year. We saw that there is at least one person still active from every class dating back to the program's origin in 1995 (guess who!).
And then they handed out the really new thing: Pins for people based on how many hours they've worked. This is where I discovered that I've put in something like 465 volunteer hours, and I got my 250-hour pin.
Of the people attending, only 3 had more hours than I had. But, dagnabbit, there's a 500-hour pin, too! And I'm so close! Not that I'm competitive or anything, but...well... I want that pin! But where the heck in the next year am I going to find 35 hours free of dog-agility-related effort to put in those hours? Sheesh! They sure know how to give a kick in the pants to compost-crazy, award-motivated maniacs like myself. I'll do it--somehow, I'll get that pin by next May!
See you at the compost pile.