Wednesday, 5th December is International Volunteer Day and I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of the good I've experienced through joining my local GoodGym as a volunteer. GoodGym is an organisation that gets fit by doing good. Their members combine running and exercise with helping out their communities. I first discovered GoodGym in Bristol when I saw someone in a red t-shirt run by. I thought "GoodGym? That sounds GREAT!" So immediately got online to see what it was all about. I was sad to see there wasn't one in my area, but there was something in motion. I signed up to be notified when my local group was going to be starting up. In May 2018 I joined GoodGym and to celebrate International Volunteer Day I'm going to share Three Good Things About GoodGym.
If you're looking to meet lovely, warm, welcoming people, while getting fit and doing good, GoodGym is the place. I've always been a bit nervous when meeting new people and I couldn't have felt more comfortable on my first visit. We meet up at a local community centre as a group every Wednesday evening, have a chat for a bit while we wait for others to arrive then we set off. We jog at an easy pace so we can chat along the way to our location for the evening. We've spent many Wednesday evenings together now as well as meeting up at our local Parkrun, beach cleans, and for the odd Sunday stroll, hot chocolate, and social. I look forward to seeing them every Wednesday and it's always a boost to have everyone cheering each other on when we run a Parkrun together. They're not just fellow runners anymore, they're friends. Not a runner yourself? That's fine too, they are now offering walking groups as well!
When we get together on a Wednesday we head out to volunteer by helping in the community. We've painted schools, dug allotments, cleared leaves, litter picked parks, shifted furniture, sorted clothing donations, pruned hedges, decorated lanterns and more. All while donning our red t-shirts and with smiles on our faces. It's a nice feeling being able to do something for the community and while in such good company.
Sometimes it's tough to get out there and run. When it is dark and windy and wet it feels like the last thing you'd want to do. But every time I've made the effort and pushed myself to just get out there, I knew I'd be met with warm smiles on the other end. GoodGym also offers a coaching program, where they will pair you with an isolated older person, aka your coach, who you run to visit every week. Have a cup of tea with them and a chat. Everyone feels good, and it's pushed you to do an extra run. There are also weekend missions and community missions where you can sign up to go and do extra good deeds in the neighbourhood. Maybe someone needs help clearing their garden, or rehanging some curtains or there is a local beach clean. It gives you the get up and go to get up and get out there.
There are so many more positive things about GoodGym. If you're looking to meet nice people in your area while helping out the community and getting fit, I can't recommend it enough. Make sure to check out the GoodGym site to see where your local group meets: www.goodgym.org
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