At our Pre-Service Training in September, we asked each Volunteer Maryland Coordinator to deliver a three-minute speech. This was one of the first opportunities for each person to share what they hoped to accomplish as AmeriCorps members. We were all very excited to hear these great ideas and anticipate how they would unfold over time.
After months of recruiting and supporting volunteers, it’s fascinating to look back at those original speeches, and reflect on how each Volunteer Maryland Coordinator tackled the ideas and themes of September. Inspired by this curiosity and our love for reflection, we decided to revisit the three-minute speech at our last training day. This time around, each AmeriCorps member shared a thoughtful synopsis of their accomplishments throughout various levels of service. From personal growth to seeing the impact of volunteerism in the local community, it was incredible to hear how a year of service could accomplish so much for so many involved.
To really understand what I’m talking about, take a look at Debbie’s speech. Debbie is the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator at University of Maryland Extension Carroll County 4-H, where she brings her passion and dedication for 4-H to strengthen volunteer efforts that provide enriching experiences for countless students in the county. Thank you, Debbie, for your commitment to service!
4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. I embrace the mission of 4-H. 4-H is an important part of my family’s life and has been for many years.
4-H’ers are taught from a young age to analyze their projects using the four H’s: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. As the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator for the Carroll County 4-H Program, I thought I might try the same analysis.
A 4-H’er pledges their head to clearer thinking. I used my head and learned that I enjoy creating surveys, marketing materials, collecting and analyzing data. I actually like collecting volunteer hours and seeing them add up. I also enjoy doing background searches; although, I am happy to say that interesting findings are left for my boss to investigate further.
4-H’ers pledge their heart to greater loyalty. As a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator, I used my heart to nurture and empathize with the volunteers. Sometimes all they need is someone to offer a listening ear and give gentle encouragement.
4-H’ers pledge their hands to larger service. Giving and working are my favorite part of the Volunteer Maryland partnership. Herding cats at robotics events (which is actually helping elementary and middle school students line up to take their turn on the VEX IQ robotics field), dressing up as a chicken for fourth graders, and holding a live chicken all day long to teach children the body parts of a chicken for 16 different groups all added to the Volunteer Maryland experience. Even training new volunteers and knowing that when I go home, I have helped lighten the load that my boss once endured, makes my day.
Lastly, 4-H’ers pledge their health to better living. Being a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator has broadened my horizons, forced me to drive to new places, and improved my self-esteem. I have enjoyed meeting a great group of people who I am sure will make a difference in our world. Also, I improved the health of the Carroll County 4-H program by collecting $379 in-kind donations for a healthy topping ice cream social that was used for the Carroll County 4-H Achievement Program. I wrote news releases, gave library programs, and trained 41 new volunteers since January who will be helping Carroll County 4-H in all different clubs. I collected volunteer hours from 162 volunteers who contributed 6,428 hours to the 4-H program in six months.
The 4-H motto is “To Make the Best Better.” Being the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator for the Carroll County 4-H program has helped me make my best better. I look forward to another year where I will find the right person to start a new 4-H Club in Southern Carroll County.