One part of my job that I really love, and that I don’t often talk about, is training. In addition to the training we provide for our AmeriCorps members, we also provide training on volunteer management best practices to all kinds of external groups. On Friday, I facilitated a training for the Maryland Association of Senior Centers.
Of the fifty participants, about a half dozen were volunteers themselves and all of them work with volunteers on a daily basis. They have volunteers that serve meals, answer phones, run activities, provide beauty services, and more. Without their volunteers, many of these senior centers would not be able to provide the fantastic services they do for the older adults in their communities.
During our 90 minutes together, we went over some of the basic structures for volunteer program development, such as developing detailed position descriptions, and we discussed understanding volunteer motivations as a way to better recruit, recognize, and retain volunteers. A training like this is made great by the participants – and these participants were great. They were truly engaged and interested; they brought great questions and helped each other learn how to apply the practices discussed.
This is why I love training. I get to interact with adults who are entirely dedicated to serving their communities – and they know that volunteers are a key piece of this. They are always yearning to do more, to do better. They bring such knowledge and experience to the material and information I provide, so that every training is different and truly applicable to the participants.
Like when I’m with our AmeriCorps members, it is extremely energizing to be with people who are constantly working to make our communities stronger and healthier. Gaining new skills and knowledge through training is one way to ensure that the services they provide are always improving. And it’s both awesome and humbling to play a small part in that.