Volunteering: Good for Seniors

Two Volunteers tell us why they volunteer

Active SWV Community Captain, Pat Gagan, moved to West Virginia three and a half years ago, for love.  He married his wife, Marsha,  they consolidated homes, and he “won” as he says, and relocated to the mountain state.

During his three and a half year tenure here, Pat has hiked almost all of the trails in the New River Gorge, and become an Active SWV/Get Active in the Park  Community Captain.  Pat leads monthly hikes in the park system, sharing his passion and love for the region and the outdoors with all who are lucky enough to join him.

Pat recently described some of the benefits of volunteering, in particular, for senior citizens.  First, it promotes movement and activity.  Next, meeting people and preventing isolation.  Pat remembers upon retirement, losing a sense of value and social network that comes from a lifelong career.  Volunteering can take the place of those roles for a retiree.

In addition, volunteering and staying active, keeps the mind active.  It also bridges the generation gap, young and old alike can connect though outdoor activities and volunteering.

Pat also relayed to us that volunteering is fun!  It has given him dozens of new opportunities and reasons to explore on his own, in order to share with our lucky participants.

Finally, Pat gave us some “Points to Ponder” for the younger generation.  A passion for something doesn’t evolve during retirement.  Many of us develop a passion for many things during our lifetime.  Retirement is an opportunity to make that passion a priority through volunteering.



Active SWV Volunteer Community Captain, Linda Stein,  has many reasons for volunteering.  Much like Pat, she had a passion for the outdoors and health prior to retirement.  During her career as a social worker, she strived to be a role model for those in her community to combat chronic illness through physical activity. 

Since being in her twenties, Linda has had a goal of being active five times per week.  She says. ” if you don’t stay active, it becomes harder to get active. “

The benefits of volunteering for her during retirement are giving her ways to stay active, connecting to her passion for the outdoors, being able to remove obstacles for others to participate, and enjoying the beautiful WV trails and scenery. 

Linda stated that volunteering is interesting.  Working with park rangers as a Get Active in the Park Community Captain offers her opportunities to learn the history of the area as well as the flora and fauna. She enjoys the collaboration with the National Parks Service, the intellectual stimulation, and the opportunity for creativity.  

Finally, Linda has a passion for helping women in her age group become more confident on bikes.  She would love to see more women her age join her on trails or even rail trails to become stronger, better bikers together.  This reflects her passion for removing barriers to physical activity in her community.  

To join one of Pat’s or Linda’s many hikes, check our Website Google Calendar.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer Community Captain, email us at volunteer@activeswv.com