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Volunteering is an Important Local Issue

October 13th, 2010

From the White House to the boardrooms of the top television networks, the value of volunteering has seen a surge of national attention this year.  Locally, volunteering continues to be an important issue as evidenced by the record number of attendees at this year’s Blaine House Conference on Volunteerism.  In its 24th year, the conference had 291 registrants and focused on current and applicable best practices for Maine’s volunteers and managers of volunteers. 

Commissioner Phil Crowell kicked off the conference held at the University of Maine-Orono campus on Tuesday, October 12.  His address highlighted the Civic Life in America report which can be found on, The Corporation for National and Community Service Website. Civic Life in America is an annual assessment detailing the many ways people get involved in communities across the country to make a difference. “People who volunteer are also more likely to vote, with over 78% of volunteers voting compared to only about 55.5% of non-volunteers,” said Crowell citing the report.   

This year’s conference drew a wide range of attendees including AmeriCorps volunteers and state wide non-profit managers and volunteers.  The topics were well suited for this diverse group and ranged from engaging Boomers, volunteer recruitment, and management strategies to working with youth and drawing connections between volunteer service and life long learning.

In addition to numerous local presenters, this year’s Keynote speaker was Susan Stroud, Executive Director of Innovations in Civic Participation, a non-profit organization she founded in 2001 to support the development of program and policy innovations in national and community service globally.

This year’s sponsors included Time Warner Cable, AARP, ALIVE, Cabot Cheese,, and the Maine Commission for Community Service.

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing volunteer managers, raising awareness, and encouraging an ethic of service. To learn more about the Maine Commission for Community Service visit our web-site at