Photo courtesy of: Gallery Forty-Seven
Recently, a colleague and I were discussing our most awkward volunteering experience. She told me a story about her experience at a pet cemetery with her former employer. “It was a hot, horrible day of weed-whacking and pulling weeds around graves of animals that had died dozens of years ago. And you know the owner had been long gone as well.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of her cleaning overgrown shrubs around old, worn out headstones with names like Muffy and Trixie. She felt, and I agreed, that there were just more pressing issues that she could have handled with her time. She later learned that the cemetery went bankrupt and the animals removed.
My story? Well, mine was more about being ill-prepared then not doing something exactly worthwhile. It was my first Days of Service with AARP and I signed up to build a playground with KABOOM! It was an amazing project building a playground for a local elementary school. I thought I’d get outside, interact with my colleagues in a different way, and make a difference. Instead, I wound up having an allergic reaction to the pollen in the air. My eyes swelled shut, and I couldn’t breathe and the care I needed took my colleagues away from their volunteer efforts. I had to leave mid-way through the service day.
Although I was taking medications for my allergies, little did I know that the pollen count would be so high that by the end of the day, it covered everything with a green shimmer. I didn’t do my research and I left feeling that I used up the time of colleagues and let down KABOOM and myself. Lesson learned? Always do research before volunteering for an activity.
So what is your most awkward or worst volunteering moment? If you haven’t yet volunteered to share your story, you can get started at our site HERE.