I always sit quietly processing the thank you, because I always think, "but it is me who should be thanking you because without you, we couldn't have done...." (insert here: whatever the job was).
But this past month, we had some amazing, one of a kind opportunities that volunteers were quick to sign up for, and they were not disappointed with their experiences.... not at all.
One of these activities was assisting with the opening of the 25 year time capsule that individuals were allowed to add envelopes to, 25 years ago. I have had comments from the volunteers who attended the official removal from the ground as a representative of the museum, and from the volunteers who were distributing the envelopes to those who had one to pick up, that have let me know that this was a very special day for them. To me it is wonderful that we were able to offer something that made a memory for them - remembering the pouring rain as they all stood out there watching the time capsule being lifted, or the memory of the sincere and warm thank-you from someone who received an envelope that was left for them by someone who maybe now is deceased.
The other activity that has caused so much positive feedback in my office is the opportunity to assist with the Blackfoot Shirts workshops. The Shirts have arrived from England, for an exhibit that opens here this weekend. But for 2 weeks the shirts have been studied by invited guests, almost all Blackfoot people, in workshops. They have been able to see them, handle them, learn about them. During the workshop, a Galt volunteer is on hand to assist with information (ie where the washrooms are located); comfort (ie ensuring there is coffee made for the workshop participants); and also, security (ie ensuring that those not invited are not coming into the workshop by accident).
But the volunteers have raved to me about the actual workshop - everything from the information that was being exchanged was so informative to the emotional impact that these workshops had on some participants. They have all kept details to themselves, because what they were part of was pretty special, but some of them have noted that it was the first time they ever experienced the use of Blackfoot language for more than a few minutes - that listening to this language for 30 minutes or more was astounding (the person who shared this with me also told me it was astounding because he thinks it is one of the most beautiful languages to listen to, now that he has had the opportunity to listen to a true conversation in this language - not just a one or two sentence exchange).
Most of these volunteers, I think, feel that they have been a part of something so special that they will treasure it for a long time, if not forever. It has been emotional for some of them, too, with tears filling their eyes as they first lay eyes on the shirts.
I love my job - I really love my job, but it is months like this where I know that the opportunities that we at the Galt can offer our volunteers, are so impacting on the volunteers that they are, to some extent, life changing. We are fortunate to be able to have these types of activities take place and to be a part of so many special things....and I am fortunate because I think that I receive the most feedback in general, as the volunteer coordinator, and, well....it feels great to be me and to be a part of this museum!
Thank YOU volunteers - every single one of you!