Posted on

Volunteering Brings Countless Benefits to the Volunteer

For one reason or another, “volunteer” is a word that can bring up conflicting emotions. Sometimes it can make folks cringe, bringing about memories of being “volunteered” for something you didn’t want to. A bad volunteer experience could have left you feeling taken advantage of by someone asking too much with too little in return. Many of us can conjure a memory of a room full of people being asked to volunteer for a role…and we hear crickets, no one wanting to step up. We’re all busy, can’t take on any more responsibility, and we especially can’t do it “for free.”

The flip side of this coin, however, is the proud volunteer who so willingly gives up his time for a cause. We all know somebody who simply glows, having found that perfect volunteer opportunity. What makes these folks so happy to be working so hard “for free”?

The benefits that a culture of volunteerism bring to a cause or community can be easily seen, but there are also countless benefits to the volunteer as well. 

The Passion Project

Volunteering can be a way to exercise a passion, to bring something to your life that you might not find in your day-to-day. You might not be lucky enough to be working your dream job, but chances are there’s a corresponding dream volunteer gig that you could do on the side. To work on the things you truly love, even occasionally, can bring a level of fulfillment and meaning that will make you glow, too. Not to mention, the experience gained could help bring you closer to the job opportunity that you’ve been longing for. 

Learn New Skills/Professional Development

Often times, that dream job requires specific skills or experiences that you don’t have just yet. How do you break the “I need experience to get a job to get the required experience” cycle – volunteer! Internships and other hands-on volunteer roles can be the best and fastest way to learn a new skill directly from an expert. Unlike a classroom experience, volunteering allows you to see the day to day of a role and learn exactly how a particular skill-set fits into a job or organization. Plus, you now have connections with people working in the field, and they’ve seen your dedication and potential. 

Personal Connection

Another benefit of volunteering that cannot be understated is the chance to connect with new people – with like-minded people who share similar passions. In a world where technology seems to be leaving us connected but isolated, volunteer events can be downright therapeutic as we come together to get our hands dirty in the name of something bigger than ourselves. Whether that dirt comes from playing with homeless puppies, fixing food for the hungry, building a home, or planting a tree in actual dirt, strong connections are made when we work with others toward a common goal. 

Of course we hope you’ll want to volunteer to dig in the dirt with us at Charlotte’s Quest! If you’ve got a passion for the outdoors, gardening, working with children, or teaching others about these things that you love, then we’ve got a volunteer role for you. We even have administrative opportunities that can allow you to contribute to our mission in climate controlled comfort. But we do know that these things are not for everybody, and that is totally okay.

Regardless of where your passions lead, we encourage you to seek out a volunteer opportunity that you will love – you’ll be amazed at the personal sense of growth and gratification that comes along with giving back to your community. 
To learn more about our Volunteer Team, contact Vicky Crouthamel at volunteer@charlottesquest.org or connect with other volunteers by joining our Friends of Charlotte’s Quest Facebook Group.

Posted on

New Park Entrance: 2019 Scout Projects

Joey Sviatko's Eagle Scout Project

Here at Charlotte’s Quest Nature Center community volunteers are the heart of our operation.  Our gardens, trails, field trips, programs and all facilities are lead and maintained by dedicated volunteers. 

Over many years, several Scouts have implemented unique and valuable Eagle Scout projects in our park. We work with the Scouts to match their interests, ideas and skills to potential projects. We aim to provide the Scouts the opportunity to complete a project they are proud of, and from which our community can benefit.

It only takes a short walk around the park to find examples of Eagle Scout projects there. Eagle Scouts have mapped, designed and marked trails, poured concrete walkways, and built picnic tables and benches. Our taxidermy display was assembled by an Eagle Scout! Last year local Girl Scout Carissa Poore chose to revamp our garden to be more accommodating to pollinators to achieve her silver award.  Most recently, the entrance fence was completely rebuilt as two separate Eagle Scout Projects! Upon visiting the park, you will be welcomed by a fresh, bright and beautiful entrance. Joey Sviatko from Troop 9 installed the first stretch of fence and installed the new sign in February 2019. The other side of the entrance was most recently completed by Max Debenham from Troop 320 in May 2019. The complimentary projects turned out even more beautifully than we had hoped and now our park entrance is more welcoming than ever!

To check out the many other projects that have been created by Eagle Scouts at Charlotte’s Quest, click the link below for a full document created by Ellen Rugemer a former Board Member at CQ and Scout parent.

https://1drv.ms/w/s!Agi9hdCqkpC6gbowA9jujkSP8plToA

We asked Joe and Max about their volunteer work at Charlotte’s Quest and how it has impacted them. Here is what they had to say: 

CQ:Give us some highlights of your time as a Scout.

Joe: Philmont Scout Ranch Cimarron, NM July 2019. West Point Camporee May 2015. Annual Father-Son Campout to Gettysburg. Earning Eagle Scout. 

Max: Some of my favorite moments in scouting is my first camping trip and first summer camp experience. 

CQ: Why did you choose to do your project at our park? 

Joe: I chose CQ as my Eagle Scout project site because I spent a lot of time as a Cub Scout as a member of Pack 665 and we spent a lot of time at Charlotte’s Quest. I wanted to give back to a local place where I was familiar. 

Max: I love Charlotte’s Quest. They allow the scouts and cub scouts to use the park for scouting and I wanted to give back.

CQ: What part of your project challenged you the most? 

Joe: The planning portion of the entrance beautification project was the most difficult. I had to plan and rework designs several times to get it right. 

Max: The part that challenged me the most was not being able to do everything all the time.

CQ: What did you learn from leading a group of volunteers to complete your project?  

Joe: Leading a group of volunteers wasn’t as hard as I thought. Everyone really wanted to help me and showed up strong both work days. The biggest challenge was learning how to do some of the tasks so I could lead by example. I was fortunate in that all my helpers were willing to show me the ropes; I learned how to run a plumb line and set posts and install fencing.

Max: I learned from leading other volunteers that leading isn’t just about telling people to do things, but to help with the work and show them how to do things.

CQ: How did the community support your project?

Joe: The Troop 9 community supported my project with donations. They also bought my tee shirt and hoodies fundraiser. Lowe’s gave me a large discount on supplies and Sunbelt Rentals donated an auger. These businesses really came through for me. 

Max: The community helped with the project by first giving me the project then giving me advice on how to make that idea better.

CQ: How do you feel your work will benefit the community and the park? 

Joe: It was gratifying to see all the hard work pay off with such a nice fence and sign. I’m glad people will see this improvement when they visit CQ. Hopefully other scouts will see the project and be inspired to maybe complete their own Eagle Project at CQ. 

Max: I think the work I did will greatly affect the community [and the park] because it looks newer, and now the gate is open most of the time and people won’t be discouraged to enter the park.

Charlotte’s Quest owes a great many thanks to the local Scouts of the community! Their leadership and dedication to our park gives us an educational and welcoming connection to the outdoors despite our busy schedules. We hope to carry forward our close relationships with local Scouts and follow the younger scouts as they grow and experience our park as a favorite place, surrounded by examples of dedication and generosity by their trailblazing elders.  The good news is, we continue to have great opportunities for Eagle Scouts or Girl Scout Silver projects as our wish list of fun and purposeful projects never ends! 

We hope that our community treasures the time and skills that these scouts have brought us as much as we do!  You are encouraged to visit our park and explore for yourself.

Posted on

How Volunteering Helps Our Community Thrive

Charlotte’s Quest is so lucky to be situated in the heart of the Town of Manchester. We still have a small-town feel that can be so easily lost in today’s hustle and bustle and urban sprawl. The annual 4th of July parade and carnival is always such a quintessential reminder of the wonderful sense of community that a town like ours can foster. 

We have always been an organization that is of and for the community, almost completely dependent on volunteers to carry out our mission. Some of our Board Members have been dedicating time to Charlotte’s Quest since its inception over 25 years ago. They do it because they love it, but also because they see how this community service positively impacts their town.

Yes, volunteering with Charlotte’s Quest helps keep the nature center up and running, and our organization benefits greatly from these efforts. But the bigger picture is that our community members have hiking trails to explore, programs to learn from, and fun family events to enjoy.  Charlotte’s Quest is certainly not the only game in town – volunteers support our schools, operate the pool, rallied together to build a skate park, and so much more. This town, and so many others, would not be recognizable if you took away everything that has come out of volunteer service.

A community in which residents voluntarily jump in to contribute to the greater good stands to gain so much from the collective efforts of everyone involved. We gain a sense of pride in our neighbors and our hometown, and we teach our younger generations what it means to be part of something larger than ourselves. This is one reason why we are so excited by the ongoing and growing scout involvement at Charlotte’s Quest – not only do they help make the park a more beautiful place, but we get to watch these young community members understand the powerful impact they can make when they choose to dedicate their time to a worthy cause. 

So as we gather this week to celebrate in wonderful, small-town fashion, take a moment to look past the rides and games to the people that surround you. Maybe you don’t recognize them all, but chances are good that many of the folks you see have had a hand in making our town what it is. Let’s all do our part to keep that spirit of community service alive!