Of French Fries and Tater Tots

Last night I indulged in one of my guilty pleasures – I went to the grocery store and bought bad frozen pizza and french fries.  When I got home, though, there weren’t only french fries in the bag, but tater tots, too!  It was only a few, but it was like a little prize in my bag of french fries.

Little surprises are great.  They make me feel like the universe is saying, “Hey, way to be awesome today.”  Last Wednesday was like that, except it wasn’t the universe, and it wasn’t tater tots in a bag of french fries.  Last Wednesday was the first time I’d gone to a volunteer appreciation as a volunteer instead of as the person who planned it.  It was nice to have someone say thank you for volunteering, and it was nice to meet some of the other people who volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake.  I saw one of the volunteers I had recruited last year at the Maryland Department of the Environment, too.

The construction crew leader at the Habitat site I work at was there, and I walked by him when he was talking to a group of people.  I overheard him say that he really likes Wednesdays at the site, because that’s the day that he knows he’s going to get things done.  He said he can just give people a task to do, and he knows that it will get done, so he can use the day to prep for the rest of the week.  Wednesdays are the day that I’m out on site, so that meant a lot to me.

On the way out of the event, I was given a bag of things that I didn’t really look at because I had somewhere else to be that night.  When I got home, I looked through the bag: brochure on volunteering, brochure on faith based group volunteering, papers, annual report, a construction pencil with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake’s logo… and a thank you card that looks like it was made by one of the children of a homeowner.

Now, say what you will about generational volunteer characteristics, and how volunteers from certain generations like to be rewarded for volunteering, but this Gen X-er really appreciated the thank you card.  Especially because it had painter’s tape on it.

As if the nice dinner and grab bag wasn’t enough to say thank you, the next day I got a card in the mail from Habitat.  It wasn’t handmade, but had a nice note from a future homeowner thanking me for allowing her to begin her own foundation.  I’m not sure if it’s a foundation that grants out money or provides services, or if it’s the more literal version.  Either way, though, it was a very nice note.

The day after that, I got a note from one of the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators thanking me for a donation I’d helped her get.  Instead of a kind of boring, pre-printed note, it was hand written.

I’ve got to say, it’s nice to get a thank you for the things you do.  I know it’s not volunteer week anymore, but if you work with volunteers, make sure you tell them you appreciate their work.  High fives are awesome, too.

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