…Or, translated, that means I like to learn different languages in Spanish. In my free time I have been taking a Spanish conversation class. Like many of my peers I learned a great deal of the language through years of schooling but never really kept up with it. I have been exposed to Spanish my entire life (many of my relatives’ first language is Spanish) but I never had the guts to speak with them. Earlier this year I decided to stop always saying I want to practice and learn more and actually do it! The decision has definitely paid off as I am having a blast gaining a really powerful skill.
Since last night’s class I’ve been thinking about the presence of all kinds of languages, but not necessarily in regards to a particular country’s native tongue. I have heard some of my colleagues describe volunteer program development and other aspects of volunteer management as having its own language. I couldn’t agree more with this way of thinking. Before I started my first year with Volunteer Maryland I only knew of this volunteer world from the volunteer’s perspective. It’s a total different story from the coordinator/manager’s perspective and takes a level of translating, if you will, of this system to make a program succeed. Our training provides members with a system (our language) that can be implemented within any stage of a program’s development. This applies to both a volunteer program that was developed a decade ago or a vision of a new program that is ready to be made into reality. This cycle includes need assessments, development of particular procedures, recruitment, recognition and many more steps that can be revisited and revised according to the needs of a program. Throughout the AmeriCorps experience a Volunteer Maryland Coordinators becomes fluent in this manner of thinking and planning.
The missions of the organizations partnered with Volunteer Maryland work towards solving a diversity of social issues. They all focus on a community need within one or more of the following categories: environment, education, human needs, homeland security and public safety. While every Volunteer Maryland Coordinator has their own personal focus at their site, they all share this common language of volunteer management. I realize that aquiring specific information is within every industry- specific jargon, terms, procedures are shared and embraced by all fields- so I am not explaning a terribly new concept. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s pretty neat to think that when my 2 year AmeriCorps terms is over I can say that I’ve learned a couple of new languages. 😉