By Rebecca Fent
Bolsa Chica Conservancy (BCC) has a small staff that can only get a fraction of the great things we do here done by themselves. The staff of BCC relies heavily on the help of hundreds of special people willing to volunteer their time to the Conservancy. Each and every one of our volunteers is an important facet to our organization, and we could not function without them. However, this quarter we would like to put the volunteer spotlight on Susan Lakey, or as we know her, Sue.
Sue has been volunteering with the Conservancy for over 2 years, and throughout this time she has been one of our most reliable volunteers. Sue is willing to help out in a number of different areas here, but her main volunteer effort is as our Friday and Saturday morning host. Even if staff have an offsite meeting or a workday outside, we always know we don’t have to worry about the Interpretive Center when Sue is here. Because Fridays and Saturdays are some of our busiest days with tours and restoration events, Sue is a critical volunteer whom we know we can rely on during our busy events! She is often asked to come in earlier than her normally-scheduled shift to help us prep for a busy day, and she is always willing to do so!
When you ask Sue why she is so committed to BCC, she will say, “I have always enjoyed volunteering and saw an opportunity to help out while having something fun to do. I feel it is important to help out organizations like the Conservancy so they can keep on operating and offering such fun and educational experiences. So many different kinds of people of all ages and different cultures can come and experience a little piece of history along with learning wetland knowledge.”
Volunteering can be hard work and a big commitment, but Sue lets us know that she also has gained valuable experiences from working with us. She says, “As for my most memorable experience, and I do have a few, I did embrace having the opportunity to meet Wyland, the famous artist at our Barefoot Gala. Being a part of the Barefoot Gala was another super fun experience.” And it’s not just our annual gala that is special. Every day Sue hosts, she gets an opportunity to meet talk with people in the Interpretive Center. “I also have fun memories of super smart children that come through that can actually teach me a thing or two.”
Even when days are slow and there aren’t “super smart children” visiting the center, Sue enjoys hanging out with the BCC staff members, “I have to say I also enjoy being around so many amazing, young people at the center. They make me feel young just being around them.” Not only does Sue enjoy our company, but we enjoy hers! Sue has had an exceptionally interesting life, travelling all over the world, and even living in Costa Rica for years! Sue always has interesting stories and good advice for us “young people.” And her stories always inspire me to live my life to the fullest and not be afraid to explore the world.
An example of Sue’s good advice is when she says that volunteering is “something we can all do.” She says that it is “good for the soul and good for the community.” In the past she has volunteered for a small library in the jungle town of Nosara, Costa Rica. And she also belonged to the Fluor volunteer department where she worked for 35 years. Sue loves volunteering because “it gives us retirees a sense of purpose along with helping out where needed.” Thank you Sue for all of your service to BCC!