I recently had the opportunity of going on a nature trip with my daughter’s 6th-grade class, and I must say the kids had a great time. My daughter came back with a huge smile and some great memories.
Unfortunately we volunteer parents didn’t have smiles on our faces.
When we arrived, we were given a folder, a name tag, a poor map of the park, sketchy info on our assigned locations, and a “thank you for coming” statement—then the leader left us. The next thing we knew we were on our own—no explanation where to go, what to do, or how to do it once we got there. We got lost twice, walked over four miles on slippery rocks downhill, and we had a pregnant mom (she was in her 7th month) with us who was told—before she agreed to help—that she would be able to just sit and help watch the kids. The way we volunteers were handled was frustrating for everyone and I’m sure many of us will at least hesitate when asked to volunteer again. This whole experience made me think of how important it is to take care of those who volunteer in our ministry.
Many details have to be planned when taking kids on trips. But don’t forget your volunteers. Try to have three key things in place for your volunteers on every trip:
• Clear directions of what they are supposed to do.
• When they are supposed to do it.
• How they are supposed to do it.
Volunteers can be informed through a pre-event meeting, where they get to give input into these three things. Of course, surprises and unexpected events always happen, but if these three key things are in place the pieces seem to fall in place.
Questions for you: What are some key things you like to have in place for every trip you go on? Are you the only one who knows those key things? Are you communicating them to your leaders? If you are communicating, is it clear and often? If not, it’s time that you do.