Here in South Carolina, our professional association, The Music Therapy Association of South Carolina, meets twice a year. Meetings happen in the Fall and in the Spring, and we move the location about the state so that our professionals have a good chance of attending at least one of the meetings.
When I talk to people about my involvement in various organizations- both professional and otherwise- I’m often asked why I put my (unpaid) time into them. In honor of my meeting in Spartanburg today with Rep. Rita Allison and a few other active members of our association, I’m going to share those perks with you!
Friends: Regardless of whether your organization is professional or otherwise, being involved gives you the opportunity to meet other people that you already have something in common with and to make friends! I’ve made some wonderful friends through my involvement in the Music Therapy Association of South Carolina, The South Eastern Region of the American Music Therapy Association, and I look forward to making more when I attend my first National Conference in November.
Opportunities: My professional involvement with a number of people would have never happened if not for my involvement in a variety of business networking groups, as well as donating my time to places like the South Carolina Autism Society, and Family Connection of SC.
Exposure: If you aren’t involved, no one will know who you are! It’s important, especially in our world of internet, instant communication, and 10 second attention spans to put yourself out there. Being involved in these organizations can expose you to a new group of people as well as allow you to show off your stuff with other professionals and get noticed. I’ve been on camping trips and educated people about Music Therapy. I’ve presented at conferences and felt like a mini celebrity because people know me now. All thanks to my involvement!
Staying Up to Date: Many professional organizations offer forms of continuing education so that you can stay up to date on changes in your field. My favorite way to achieve this is by attending conferences where I can get all of the perks of being involved at once!
Making a Change: This might not be high on some people’s lists, but it is on mine. Many organizations have a philanthropic side to them as well, so your involvement can directly or indirectly effect positive change! Even if all you did was pay admission to an event, you’ve contributed! You can also be involved on a more intensive level by organizing or volunteering in different events.
What are some organizations that you are involved in? How involved in them are you? Do you know of any perks that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments!