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This week is National Volunteer Week and it started off great when I received some nice gifts from the Fairfax County Library where I volunteer on the weekends.  Someone asked me this week how long I've been volunteering there and I had to think: over four years.

It started with our county library undergoing steep budget cuts.  I complained to my County Supervisor, who was very kind and called me back to discuss.  The Fairfax County Library Director even called me about my complaint.  I gave him some suggestions to increase revenue (having an accountant background of course helps here) which he didn't agree to, but I was still motivated to do something.

Why?  The library had been a place for me to go, study (just like study hall), and full of endless free books.  I decided to volunteer at the library.  There, I underwent a formal interview, reference checks and a test to see how I could sort books.

Today I am fortunate to check in several thousands of books that I don't have time to read.  But the great thing I see is most of the books returned are from the younger generation, and I hope my part helps.

As for becoming a SAP Mentor I am coming up on 4 years.  While being one doesn't officially carry a "Volunteer" title most of what I do as a SAP Mentor is on my own time.  It is hard to believe it has been four years.

It is a diverse group with diverse activities.  I would include some of the Mentor achievements such as Influencing SAP Certification & Education: a SAP Mentor success story bytom.cenens and Getting access & accessing SAP Learning Hub #SAPEducation because as Mentors Tom and I have participated on the Certification & Enablement Influence Council with SAP, SAP User Group Executive Network members, and partners.  I have to hand it to SAP as they have listened to direct feedback on these matters from this council.  Recent feedback on the Learning Hub from the group has been very positive (and I am fan of it myself).  Be sure to join us Save the Date: April 28 SAP Mentor Monday SAP Certification Update to learn more - this is an publicly open webinar.

Additionally I have enjoyed participating in the SAP Inside Tracks:

Third Annual SAP Inside Track Chicago

Second Annual SAP Inside Track New York - I Happen to Like New York

SAP Inside Track Newtown Square - the 4th Year - It's a Wrap

Last, but not least, ASUG.  Out of all my volunteer activities, this is where most of my time is spent. Right now the focus is on ASUG Annual Conference, and part of this blends with SAP Mentors too.  I am excited about two upcoming SAP Mentor Hands-on Pre-conference sessions on June 2nd at ASUG Annual Conference:

ASUG Pre-Conference Full Day Hands-On Workshop - Application Development Based on ABAP and SAP HANA covering ABAP for SAP HANA with SAP Mentors rich.heilman and thomas.jung

Jump Start ASUG Annual Conference SAPPHIRE with a Pre-Conference Session - Back and Better than Ever... - SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1, SAP BW, and SAP NetWeaver BW Powered by SAP HANA - All in One Day Hands on Session with SAP Mentor  ingo.hilgefort

I can personally vouch that Ingo, Rich, and Thomas will sense if you are having a problem during your hands-on sessions - I highly recommend registering for one of them. They are all well-known experts in their field.  The ASUG Volunteer pre-conference committee, along with our SAP Point of Contact peter.mcnulty received several sessions and selected these high quality sessions.

Register today

There are other areas where ASUG members and volunteers influence SAP (and to me this is the unique value that ASUG offers):

Through ASUG Influence Councils:

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI

Learn how ASUG Members Influenced BusinessObjects Mobile BI Solution

ASUG Mobile BI BusinessObjects Influence Council – How ASUG Members Influenced SAP - Closing the Loo...

SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office

How ASUG Members Influenced Analysis Office (and Sneak Preview)

How the ASUG BusinessObjects Analysis Influence Council Influenced SAP - Feedback Report

As ASUG volunteers we actively listen to our community:

Announcing ASUG BI 2013 Community Survey Results - last year this community held a record 109 webcasts - we poll at the end of every webcast, asking for feedback.  This is a tremendous amount of work for our ASUG Volunteers, our SAP Points of Contacts (Ingo Hilgefort, Ina Felsheim) and our great ASUG HQ contact Danny Pancratz.  This is done on our own time as volunteers and our SAP Points of Contact.  I thank them.

Coming soon ASUG will have call for speakers/abstracts for ASUG sessions at SAP TechEd Las Vegas, so I hope you will consider submitting.

I have been an ASUG Volunteer since 2007, and each year I seem to get more and more involved.  I realize many of you are not ASUG Members, and I try to share the ASUG knowledge where I can on SCN.