I’m starting to notice some patterns in my posts – mainly that I’m a little critical of other people’s volunteer management skills. Well, I wish I could say this is different, but I can’t.
So here we are, a group of friends trying to plan a summer weekend that involves some fun and some service. K. #2 finds a cool opportunity and decides that an overnight camping trip with an early morning to race registration for Tour de Cure is the perfect fit. We thought more people would be into it, but only three of us committed. At the volunteer “orientation” (I think I wrote about that horrid experience in May), we met a woman who offered her backyard for our camping adventure – that made things a little easier since our other option wasn’t exactly legal. I’ll spare you the details of how difficult it was to figure out what we were scheduled to do in the morning (and at some points we were scheduled for Saturday or Sunday afternoon, times we didn’t actually offer to work). What you do need to know is that we were told we’d be on food – making lunch. That was sort of clear (or so we thought). When we arrived at the high school gym at 6:30am (!) there was nothing to do. I ate some pancakes and stared at a wall for a few minutes. Then S. and I (there are four of us now) found some other volunteers making a balloon arch. What fun! Our boredom and clear skills in volunteer management soon led to everyone listening to us like we were in charge – and we made the coolest balloon arch EVER.
That took about an hour. We milled around a bit more and realized that there were some signs that needed to be hung outside. S., who probably saw the movie Up! a few too many times, suggested that we float the signs with balloons. Brilliant! We harangued a good number of people into helping out with the endeavor and spent another hour insisting that the signs would float with “just a few more” balloons. Eventually, we got it to work, though we were slightly disappointed that the wind made them fall right back to the ground. Oh, well. Our next adventure involved cooking pizzas on a grill – we made one test pizza and then were informed that four more volunteers were there to relieve us. So, we went home.
Now, I totally understand scheduling more volunteers than you need – you never know who is going to get sick or just not show up at the last minute. But, learn to say “NO”, people! We drove 45 minutes to get up at 6am and have something to do. Anything, in fact, would have been nice. And, if you realize that there isn’t anything for us to do – tell us to go home! It’s ok. I promise. I can find other things to do with my Sunday morning.