New Recruits and Ripple Effects

Posted: 6th August 2013 by admin in Blog
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At work, I’m gearing up for our next round of volunteer training. Despite the fact that this process chews up a number of weekends per year, which I guard fiercely on an average day, getting the new volunteers ready to go to work remains one of my favorite things about running an agency. And not just because on Day 1, I ask everyone to close their eyes, make an animal sound and wander around the room until they find their “herd”. (Yes, I really do that and there’s a practical reason for it that I’ll explain if you decide to go through training.) Every six months, I schedule interviews and go off to meet the new recruits (making me guilty of being one of those pesky gay people who recruits others to the cause!), and when I sit with these folks, the conversation that unwinds is powerful and moving.

People tell me they come to volunteer because it’s their time to give back to their community. What’s so striking about this is that many times, it’s not so much a giving back as it is just a giving. How is it possible to give back something that was not given to you? The majority of the people who come to volunteer with us never had their own youth group, never had a community until they hit adulthood and created it themselves. Some of them have lost family, lost homes. And yet, here they are, offering to help provide it for the kids at Youth Outlook.

Last week I wrote about being able to maintain a sense of wonder or reclaiming it if you’ve lost it. This ability to give from nothing could fall in the category of those things about which to wonder. I am in awe of the people who dedicate their time week after week to building community for our kids, to demonstrating support and respect when those are so hard won in other places. I am also aware that service heals, so that volunteers who spend time building community for our kids ultimately build community for themselves with all of those other people who are doing the same thing, a ripple effect across multiple generations.

Our next training is in September. So I recruit. You bet I do. I recruit warriors without guns, who lead with their hearts, who love without reason and give from their souls. These are the people who change the world. And if you ever get recruited, you’ll see I also have a gay agenda for all three days of training.

Hey, where’s my toaster oven?


Drop Falling into Water

  1. Jude says:

    Recruit, recruit, recruit.

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