About Me

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Semi-Bad Volunteering Experience

As some of you may know I am a Brownie Leader (younger than Girl Guides). This is my second year (every week for 2 hours, for 10 months). I love it but dislike it at the same time.

I love....the kids! They are a hilarious group! They have a lot of fun and enjoy the programming. There are also a few girls in the group who see this as a getaway once a week from their life. It's great to see them smiling, encouraging one another, and making new friends.

What I don't love....the other leaders. Blahhhh. They do program with me but they chat about other random things (mostly themselves) far too much and it's extremely frustrating. I have better things to do and we could be way more productive with our planning time. They are also not very involved with the kids, I end up leading most activities while they do the paperwork, they hardly smile and the kids come to me for EVERYTHING (if they have something to share, if they have something to ask, etc). Kids gravitate to those that give them structure and are friendly. I wish we worked better as a team. There are so many things I could tell you about this one leader I work with that I won't even get into.

Another thing that I don't like is that I end up paying to volunteer. Grrrr. A minor issue but still it's annoying. I had to pay money to take an online course. I also had to transport myself and take another face-to-face course which was 5 hours and very political. Things I did not need to know. Also I have to pay to go on the camping activities. It is at a reduced rate, but still I am paying $25 to volunteer 30 hours of my time this weekend. I don't think that is right. Minor, but I think the dues the kids pay each week, plus the cost of their registration and cookie money should be able to more than cover the cost for leaders and even reduce the rate of their own trip.

I don't know if I will do it next year, I may look into volunteering with a different Brownie or Spark group. I need new leaders. It's a great program for the kids and I really do enjoy volunteering! Have you ever had this sort of issue? Ever have a poor co-worker? Am I being cheap with the paying to volunteer thing?

What sort of volunteering do you do?


  1. That does sound pretty frustrating. I would look into other troupes and not give up on the kids. I was involved in brownies/girl guides/pathfinders for 8 years or so and loved it!

  2. I've done my share of volunteering but most of it I was the only leader. It's really hard to get leaders to run groups around here. Parents don 't want to be involved. My husband volunteers and has good coleaders. The kind you speak of exist though. Sorry it wasn't a good experience for you.

  3. I don't think volunteers have to pay to do so. What bothers me is that organizations profit/non-profit advertise to have people pay for courses etc. with the pretense that you can use it to obtain jobs but the real intention is to have them volunteer at their own locations. There tends to be very little support but a lot of limitations for many volunteers in general. Paid training programs with a volunteer component with performance evaluations (more feedback sessions) would be much better especially for those who are starting out and at the very least willing to try and actually work for it etc. In society it is considered admirable to do free labor for the sake of helping others but really at the same time many do look down on you and wonder why weren't you able to get a paid position doing the same thing. If you are considered a good volunteer why should you have to pay for anything but maybe travel expenses if that? Many also are subjected to mandatory volunteering and will do as little as possible plus socialize when they should be doing something or they feel what a waste of time it is if they nothing is learned at all. Also if organizations are demanding more skilled "volunteers" or that there has to be a very formal interview process there should be honorariums, perks, or free training, help you on a career path or something etc. I am actually starting to feel shame volunteering because of the lack of support and even at times respect from others. Some good volunteers have left because they feel that they are not helping others but the organization do work they rather not do, cover for them or just want to save on operating costs. Volunteering for community events may be ok depending.