Friday, September 17, 2010

Growing volunteers

This week we headed back to the nonprofit nursery with our friends to help get things ready for winter. The kids worked very hard - and some (the younger girls) even chose to keep working when they could have gone on a hike. They were on a mission to catch up to the boys in moving the crates of trees back onto the ground. It is always lovely to see their focus and commitment when they know their work is valuable and their efforts and abilities are acknowledged.

This particular nursery provides trees free of charge to homeowners and community groups doing reforestation projects and so all week the kids have been chatting up the value of this nursery to our friends and neighbours. It's easy to see how connected they are to this ideal.

The staff there are wonderful with the kids and I think that make all the difference. They found meaningful jobs for even the smallest among us, gave the kids plenty of choices about how they wanted to contribute and most of all trusted the kids to do the work they so wanted to do.   We have been lucky to find a few exceptional opportunities that the kids can get completely engaged in and I have often thought of writing down tips for volunteer organizations about how to work with young children as volunteers, because I think that most organizations don't know how to harness the energy and enthusiasm of a group of committed kids.

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