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The importance of volunteering for your state and national associations

Lynette Mueller

By Lynette L. Mueller

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. ~ George Bernard Shaw

I have to say that I am still amazed that I took on the task of volunteering for my state and national associations. It’s really not something that I ever thought I would feel comfortable doing. I am generally by nature a rather shy and conservative individual; hence my court reporter profession!

I remember when I was in college going through my training my school required that I take speech as a class. That frightened me to death! I’m a small-town girl from rural North Dakota. Anyway, I actually set up a meeting with the dean of my school and outlined all the reasons why I shouldn’t be required to take that speech class. The reasons I enumerated were as follows:

  1. I will be the “silent” person in the courtroom.
  2. If I need to read back, I just have to read what was said. I don’t have to come up with anything original.
  3. I really think an internship at a law office would serve me better for after I got out of school. I’ll have interaction with attorneys.
  4. Oh, by the way, I need permission to be able to take extra credit hours to participate in an internship.

Did I say that I waited until my last quarter to go to the dean with my pitch?

Through my service on my state board and several committees of NCRA, I have met some incredible reporters/individuals. Their contributions to our profession are nothing short of amazing, and their dedication is evident in everything they do. Had I not accepted the challenge of volunteering for these positions, I know I never would have met these wonderful people.

At the time I came on my state board, I was asked what committee I would be interested in serving on.  I love the technology aspects of our job, so I said I would love to work on the website committee. There was a lot of research involved in that project and it has evolved over these past few years. I also feel that the student section of our site is a great resource for all of our reporting students, which translates into the satisfaction of knowing that I’m “helping” others. I turned over the reins a few years back to another wonderful colleague in our state.

My NCRA committee involvement began several years ago and has been extremely fulfilling for me! The committees ranged from the Written Knowledge Test Committee; the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters; the Distinguished Service Award Committee; and, of course, the Technology Committee in its various forms through the years. The most memorable experience was being Chair of the Tech Committee. My self-doubt kicked in again. Would I be up for the task? How could I manage such a big and high-profile committee on a national level? Many more questions for me. Again, with the encouragement of my colleagues who knew I could do it, I did! Whew, what an amazing experience! 

The volunteers on all of the committees were amazing and made the experience a pleasure and never a chore. The fellowship with new court reporters has been great, and I know I have made lifelong friends.

Volunteering does provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and satisfaction. Knowing that you are doing good for others and the community contributes to a natural sense of accomplishment. In addition, there’s a sense of pride and identity when you volunteer.

That’s just a small snippet of some of the reasons why I feel volunteering is so important. I know you all give back in your own way and would love to hear about your experiences, too.

Lynette L. Mueller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter based in Memphis, Tenn., and a member of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at