The Art of Sustainability

Ah, June.  Kids are out of school, outdoor pools are open.  There are weddings, graduations, barbecues and trips to the beach.  And, in the AmeriWorld, there is sustainability planning!  Woo-hoo, right?

Actually, woo-hoo is right.  As the Volunteer Maryland service year draws to a close, Volunteer Maryland Coordinators and their Site Supervisors are looking toward the future.  In two short months, Volunteer Maryland Coordinators will complete their service and move on to other adventures — but what about the organizations where they have served?  Who will fill the VMC’s shoes?

Good question!  And that is a major topic of conversation at those fabulous site visits I wrote about last week.  The great news is that VMCs have been preparing the answer to this question since the beginning of the service year.  Remember the Cycle of Volunteer Program Development?  Of course you do!  Volunteer Maryland Coordinators are not simply an extra pair of hands, or two more boots on the ground.  They are developing programs tailored to the needs of the communities and organizations where they serve.  They are creating volunteer position descriptions, recruitment materials, policy and procedure manuals, orientation and training materials, and many other delightful resources that will live at their service sites long after everyone tearfully waves goodbye to the VMC.

These materials, you might say, could easily languish in a filing cabinet, share drive,  the cloud, or what have you, for an eternity without ever being referenced again, right?  Right.  But one of the many wonderful things about VMCs is that they build strong relationships with their Site Supervisors,  as well as staff and volunteers at their service site.  This means VMCs have become experts on, among other things, who is good at what, who does what, and who wants to do what.

The next two months in lives of the VMCs will be focused on a few very important things:  continued program development and coordination, lots of meaningful volunteer recognition, and putting the right materials in the right hands.    Right now, VMCs are working hard to ensure that enough people know how to do what they are doing — recruiting, screening, orientating, training, supervising and recognizing volunteers — to keep it happening after they leave.


Early in the service year, one VMC said to her peers, “We’re like Super People!!”

I couldn’t agree more.

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