I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday last week. I must admit, I was regretting a serving or two of stuffing and gravy as I made my way to the 15th Floor this morning. I’m just sure it wasn’t the apple pie or baklava slowing me down! Thanksgiving my home was filled with tantalizing aromas, delightful laughter and fascinating conversations. We ranged in age from 8 to 80 with the college students being the ones who had travelled the farthest. In addition to a contingent from University of Maryland, James Madison University, Ithaca College, Case Western Reserve University, and University of Connecticut were represented. There was lots of purple attire sported too, even by other than Baltimore Ravens fans. Some of our guests had never been to our home so good thing they didn’t heed their GPS when it said “You have reached your destination,” a half-mile from our house. My husband is not a cook but he is a remarkable storyteller. Since we had guests who had not met one another prior to Thanksgiving, this was very important. As the “uninitiated” arrived, he ushered them in, showed them around and told stories about how each of the guests was connected to our family; a Thanksgiving orientation story, if you will. Apparently they learned a thing or two about me that day!
At next week’s monthly training, each of the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators will present an abbreviated orientation. There are three aspects to a volunteer orientation: cause, system and social that answer these three respective questions:
Why should I volunteer here? (cause)
How will I be volunteering? (system)
How do I fit in with the organization? (social)
A volunteer orientation prepares the individual for his/her relationship with the organization much like John’s stories gave our guests contexts (social) within which to relate to the other guests. Our purpose (cause) was to enjoy food, drink, and camaraderie as we celebrated our American heritage. Upon invitation, guests were invited (system) to bring an appetizer, dessert, etc. to share. By dinner time, we had some mingling going on and sharing of recipes, too. I am looking forward to the volunteer orientations. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the service occurring in our communities. I wonder if anyone will bring pecan pie?