No matter what someone’s reason for volunteering might be, whether they’re trying to beef up their resume or gain hours for a class requirement, their act of doing good produces a long list of benefits; not only for True Friends and our campers, but for them as well.
True Friends utilizes volunteers in a number of different ways in almost every area of the organization. Whether it’s programs or off-season maintenance (preparing and repairing for winter/summer camp) or a respite weekend, volunteers’ efforts make all of us very happy campers!
The 2013 monetary value of volunteer time was listed at $21.91/hour, which adds up quickly when you coordinate close to 700 volunteers a year. Program volunteers alone at True Friends last year offset $441,376 – all of that money saved means funds can be spent to make sure all of our campsites and programs are of the highest quality for all of our campers.
Additionally, volunteers become advocates for the disability and camping communities. Camp is a unique culture that not everyone gets to experience, and the same goes for our unique campers. Our volunteers gain firsthand experiences to share with their friends, family members, classmates and co-workers. Every volunteer walks away with greater knowledge about individuals with disabilities that is shared with the world. And that helps True Friends succeed.
But we’re not the only ones who benefit from volunteers; they do, too! Research shows people who volunteer are happier, healthier, and more successful in their careers. True Friends’ volunteers gain valuable skills such as confidence, humility, acceptance, communication and leadership skills, being a strong team member and so much more. Those skills are all transferable to many aspect of their lives, and especially in the workplace.
Volunteering is also a great way to gain experience for resumes. Plus, by volunteering in a field that aligns with their career path and/or passions, volunteers can build a strong network and be introduced to new opportunities. Almost 50 percent of True Friends’ staff started as volunteers. It’s a great way to stay active, create lasting friendships, help others and make money in the summer!
Without volunteers, True Friends’ mission would be unachievable. We are so grateful to the hundreds of individuals who donate their time, energy and positivity every year. But those who benefit the most from volunteers, are all of the amazing campers.
By: Amanda Sorell, Volunteer Services Coordinator
“Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.” –Mr. Feeny, Boy Meets World