Volunteering – A Way to Immerse Yourself into a New Community

Staff Blogger: Sarah Milheim, Advancement & Communications Coordinator


Pat Cook PhotoVolunteering is a brilliant way to get to know a new community. Pat Cook, a longtime Lakesider, did just that when she began to spend her summers along Lake Erie.

“My earliest memory was making havoc in Lakeside while my parents were involved in meetings during Annual Conference,” said Pat.

Pat’s father was a Methodist minister who primarily visited Lakeside each year during the East Ohio Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.

In 1967, the Cooks’ family cottage, “Grandma & Grandpa’s Tree House,” was purchased by Pat’s parents. Her mother, Miriam, spent her summers at Lakeside until she was 90 years old.

Pat and her husband, Gary, began spending their summers at the family’s cottage in 1998. The 2015 Chautauqua summer season will mark the start of their 17th full-time summer in Lakeside.

When the Cooks first spent summers in the community, Pat wanted to get to know others within the one square mile of Lakeside. So, she chose to jump right in and volunteer.

She joined a variety groups and clubs, including the Lakeside Women’s Club and the Friends of Hotel Lakeside. Pat also volunteered at the Ice Cream Social and as a Hoover Auditorium greeter, to name a few.

She chose to mix one-time volunteer opportunities with various seasonal volunteer commitments.

One of Pat’s first volunteer assignments was with the Katharine C. Crampton Memorial Art Show. Pat continues to sell artwork during the annual art show and is present during the show’s viewing hours.

This past Chautauqua season, she again volunteered at the Ice Cream Social and was busy greeting new and returning Lakesiders to Hoover Auditorium.

“To me this is experiencing Lakeside,” she explained. “Volunteering has helped me establish lasting friendships. I think along with the religious support, volunteering is the core of Lakeside.”

Volunteering is an excellent way to get acquainted with a new community, whether you are only spending a few weekends in Lakeside, a whole summer or live here year-round.

Lakeside offers a variety of volunteer opportunities – from a few hours of service to seasonal service, and even building years of service.

Please join our Front Porch conversation. Have you ever volunteered as a way to get to know a new community? We would love to hear your story, please share it with us in the comments below.

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