Monthly Archives: March 2015

Not Just Hours: 6 Tips for Fun Community Service

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3.26.15 Six Tips to Make Community Service Fun

Just one bad experience volunteering can turn youth away from service forever, so we do everything we can here at Youth Volunteer Corps to make sure that doesn’t happen. Every project, whether it’s playing bingo at a retirement home or cleaning up trash from a city park, incorporates plenty of fun.

Here are a few tips to make sure every service project is fun:

Volunteer with friends

1. Volunteer with friends (old or new!)

All YVC projects are team-based because we know it’s more fun to serve with others. Invite some friends along to volunteer with you, and make sure to get to know others on your project to meet some new friends too.

Volunteering games
2. Play games

On YVC projects we not only take breaks for icebreaker and teambuilder games to get to know each other, we also play games during projects. Weeding a community garden for hours on end can get monotonous, but not if you play a game like the “last letter game” or share riddles.

Interesting volunteer projects
3. Pick projects that interest you

If you don’t like animals, serving at the animal shelter may not be the best fit for you. Make sure to choose service projects around your interests.

Kansas City - Summer 2013 - Habitat for Humanity (5)_crop

 

4. Take breaks

We know that sometimes volunteering is hard work! Make sure to take breaks if you’re doing manual labor, and drink plenty of water.

 

Greater Kansas City - Summer 2013 (1)_square
5. Be adventurous

You never know what might be the highlight of each volunteer project! Make an effort to step out of your comfort zone, whether it means chatting with a retirement home resident or offering to lead the group’s trail mulching strategy.

Greater Kansas City - Summer 2013 - Sanctuary of Hope
6. Go all in

Community service is the most fun when you’re truly making a difference. Find a meaningful project and give it your all, and you won’t believe the impact you’ll have after just a few hours.

Looking for more tips on how to create a meaningful volunteer program? Sign up for our monthly newsletter here:

Youth Volunteer Project Idea: Scavenger Hunt Food Drive

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Teen Volunteer Project Idea - Scavenger Hunt Food Drive

 

People living in 14% of U.S households don’t know where their next meal will come from. And no, they’re not deciding whether to hit up Chipotle or Subway. They don’t know whether they will be able to afford food at all.

Let’s team up together for a fun scavenger hunt to help change that!

Food drives are a great way to help alleviate hunger in your community, but why not change things up a bit with a scavenger hunt food drive! Plus, did you know that food banks are often in need of things like toilet paper and diapers that many people don’t think to donate?

Here’s how to coordinate a food drive scavenger hunt to help hungry families in your community:

  1. 1. Ask your local food bank what the most needed items are this time of year.
  2. 2. Make a flier that lists these items and explains when you will be holding your scavenger hunt to pick them up. Make sure to mention that you’re with Youth Volunteer Corps!
  3. 3. Distribute these fliers around the neighborhood(s) where you’ll be holding your scavenger hunt.
  4. 4. On the day of the hunt, divide into teams of 3-4. Split up and go collect any donations that neighbors have set aside for your food drive. Challenge the other teams to see which team can collect every item on your food drive’s most-needed list first.
  5. 5. Deliver your collected items to the food bank, and make sure to thank everyone who donated items!

Thanks to YVC of Iron County for this creative project idea! Read more about their scavenger hunt food drive here.

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Summit 2015: Grow Your Impact

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Tree-Maroon White

What if you could multiply your impact, joining together with others to make an even bigger difference? This fall, you’ll have the chance to do just that as we explore how we can have even more impact in our communities through YVC at Summit 2015: Grow Your Impact.

Join a passionate community of other Youth Volunteers, YVC staff, AmeriCorps members and other members of the YVC family in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for Summit 2015.

When: October 23-25, 2015

What: A weekend of connecting, learning and sharing best practices for making a difference through YVC in our communities with practical takeaways for both Youth Volunteers and the adults empowering them.

Where: Sheraton Hotel in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Who: Anyone passionate about making meaningful youth service a reality in their communities, including YVC staff, AmeriCorps members and Youth Volunteers

Just like a tiny seed becomes an enormous tree, your individual impact can multiply when you combine your others. Join us in Ann Arbor this October to grow your impact!

YVC Board Elects New Chair

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Jim Hise (1)For only the fourth time in our 28-year history, YVC’s board has elected a new chair. Jim Hise, a private wealth advisor at Merrill Lynch, has served on YVC’s board for five years and is now stepping up as chair.

“Jim has been such an asset as a board member, always providing great insight and creative ideas,” says David Battey, YVC’s president and founder. “We appreciate his willingness to ask hard questions and keep our organization focused on our goal to make meaningful service opportunities a reality for youth all over the U.S. and Canada.”

Jim is succeeding Audrey Langworthy (a retired Kansas state senator) as chair and joining the legacy of past YVC board chairs: Adele Hall (late community volunteer Mrs. Donald J. Hall), Don Sloan (late partner at KPMG Peat Marwick) and Dr. Rich Davis (founder of KC Masterpiece).

Jim has started off running in his new position, already introducing new ideas and also taking time to meet with the YVC staff. We look forward to an exciting era of growth with Jim at the helm.

Spotlight on: YVC of Washington County

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Washington County Spotlight

We’re escaping the snow and ice up north to head to the desert for this month’s Spotlight! YVC of Washington County is located in the southeast corner of Utah, just miles from Zion National Park.

Jennifer Byington, an AmeriCorps member and Team Leader with YVC of Washington County, gives us a tour of what it’s like to volunteer there.

YVC of Washington County offers several projects each month during the school year both on weekends and after school. Jennifer says that the most popular project is the St. George Children’s Museum.

Washington County - Children's Museum 11.8.14  “They always have fun different projects to do every time we come,” she says. “Maryellen the Director is so excited when we come. She loves to have us help out.”

Youth Volunteers help with all kinds of projects at the museum, including facilitating science projects with magnicubes, which are magnetic cubes that do different things (with motors, lights, fans, wheels, etc.) that you can build amazing things with. They also helped decorate for the holidays with giant wreaths.

The museum gives each volunteer a family pass after volunteering to play in the museum, which is a great benefit for not only Youth Volunteers but also the rest of their family, especially younger siblings.

Beyond the children’s museum, YVC of Washington County helps at all kinds of other projects too.

“The best thing about serving with Washington County YVC is that there is a lot to choose from,” says Ashley Plancarte, a Youth Volunteer with YVC of Washington County and a member of YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board. “Even though our YVC is little you still have many options.”

YVC of Washington County also helps at projects like ringing the bell for Salvation Army during the holidays, cleaning parks, and volunteering at the local county fair. Everywhere they go, they get compliments from community members who are so excited to see youth making a positive impact in their community.

Washington County - Salvation Army 12.4.14Jennifer says that when they helped ring bells with Salvation Army, “One person even had to take a picture with us and came back and donated twice because he was so excited and amazed that there were youth out helping the community!”

YVC of Washington County is unique among the YVC Network because it’s just 45 minutes away from YVC of Iron County, and the two are even hosted by the same organization. The two sites hold joint projects a few times throughout the year, including helping at an air show together last summer.

“The community knows who we are and calls us when they can use Youth Volunteers,” Jennifer says.

Not only does the community benefit, but the Youth Volunteers do too.

“I love making an impact on a person who is in need of a little bit of joy in their life!” Ashley says. “Volunteering is such an amazing thing, and you never regret giving your time to others. It doesn’t hurt to give a little every now and then.”

Ready to tour some other YVC programs? Check out our previous Spotlights on Western Connecticut, Alpena, Anderson County, Ann Arbor, and Corvallis.

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