Volunteer Team Leader Philip Dittman began volunteering with Global Volunteers in 2017 and has since served as a team member or Volunteer Team Leader on six programs: four times in Montana and twice in West Virginia. Philip volunteers in his community and says what he likes most about leading teams is meeting new people and matching their skills with the needs of the community. Read on for details on Team Leader Phil Dittman.
How did you come to start volunteering with Global Volunteers and then begin leading teams? What compels you to lead teams for Global Volunteers?
My wife and I first volunteered in Montana with Jeff Rogo as Team Leader in 2017. I became acquainted with Global Volunteers’ approach to community service and I liked that the community matched the volunteer labor. The principal of doing ONLY what the community wants and is willing to support was powerful to me. I have seen other volunteer organizations lose sight of changing community needs, continuing to provide services that are not the most needed by the community. I was asked about my interest in becoming a team leader and was intrigued. After completing Team Leader Training, I started leading teams in 2018. I enjoy meeting new people. I like the dynamic of volunteer interests and skills matching up to the community’s needs.
What is one of your favorite parts of your role as team leader?
One of my favorite parts is adapting to daily changes in community work plans and volunteer needs. Sometimes this is frustrating but it often works out better than expected.
“I like the dynamic of volunteer interests and skills matching up to the community’s needs.”– Phil Dittman, Volunteer Team Leader
Why do you recommend a Global Volunteers service program?
Volunteering on a service program gives you a chance to look at things differently. Maybe you are more fortunate than some. Maybe some are more fortunate than you. We can all benefit from a better understanding of our shared humanity and community.
What is your favorite place to serve and lead teams? (If you can pick just one.)
My favorite place is the place I haven’t been. I can be open to a new experience with heightened awareness of community and volunteers. However, if I have to pick one of the places I have been, Montana is for me a rich cultural experience.
What can you say to people who are thinking about joining a service program for the first time?
I recommend volunteering for something that seems familiar or comfortable, maybe close to home. Or, if that doesn’t work for you, try something completely different. But, leave your expectations at home. Volunteers don’t often change the world their first time. Open yourself up to connect with members of the community as well as your fellow volunteers. All will benefit in unexpected ways from these new connections.
“Volunteering on a service program gives you a chance to look at things differently. We can all benefit from a better understanding of our shared humanity and community.”– Phil Dittman, Volunteer Team Leader
What is one of your favorite memories in service?
On a service program in West Virginia, a woman with an HR background offered to conduct “mock” job interviews for young adults in the jobs training program. This match of volunteer to community need was what Global Volunteers can accomplish. Volunteering can be a useful thing. Another young man also in West Virginia spontaneously gave ballet lessons to an after-school group of grade schoolers. Volunteering can also be a beautiful thing!
What Volunteers Have Said About Phil
“Phil Dittmann is a very respectful, compassionate person. He will do his best to accommodate the team members regardless of their age and attitudes. He works hard to participate and takes a “hands on” approach to being part of the team. He was great at soliciting feedback from all of us in a very positive way and encouraged us that we were doing a great service to the community. He handled difficult situations and personalities in a very honest and diplomatic way. I appreciated his sense of humor and eagerness to make sure we all had what we needed to have a memorable experience and accomplish our goals as volunteers.” – Debbie Underhill, Montana volunteer
“Easy going. Always working in the background much of the time, to facilitate all the activities. Very pleasant guy, good sense of humor.” – Stephen Vossberg, Montana volunteer
Phil Off the Clock
Phil has lived his whole life in and around Chicago. He has been married over 40 years and has two adult children. “I am probably the worst father ever,” he teases, “if you consider how far my children live from me. My daughter lives near the East coast in Vermont and my son lives near the West coast in San Diego. I live close to the middle. The downside is they don’t come home often but on the up-side, they live in places I like to visit and they don’t bring their laundry home.” His career background is engineering, but he also enjoys history and anthropology equally as much. He adds that he doesn’t care much for English grammar. He likes to be active outdoors and enjoys kayaking, hiking, and recently, playing pickle ball.
Phil is an active volunteer in his community. He provides income tax prep services through a VITA program at his local library. During COVID, he says he was adopted by two Arabian horses who needed some daily stall cleaning while their 84-year-old owner recovered from major surgery. Additionally, he has led school group tours at both the Field Natural History Museum and University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. Phil also sometimes does community science projects like Monarch butterfly monitoring and cataloging botany samples into a digital database that is accessed by scientists all over the world.
To join a team under Phil’s leadership, chat with a program expert now.