Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yeah but how do you make a living?

Yesterday at Antietam National battlefield i gave my second 30-minute orientation talk to a large group of visitors.
It was great. I really found my presentation groove right out of the box. Man, I love this gig! My volunteer day, Monday, is my favorite day of the week.

Then there's the other six days a week. So how do I pay the rent without becomeing a souless wage-slave? Tomorrow I start my new gig as a Washington county substitute teacher. Its a hundred dollars a day with lots of flexibility.

I'll post again tomorrow after my first day.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Volunteers In Parks

Deep Background

I've always been involved in volunteering.

I volunteered for the Navy when I was 17. I've volunteered for the Lung Association. I've volunteered to tutor reading, I was a volunteer tour guide at a museum, I've volunteered to paint faces and emcee youth film festivals...I've always been a volunteer. I like volunteering. Its like having a job where I'm still kind of like the boss. Its also very satisfying to decide which projects I want to give my time, energy, and creativity to. Its fun.

It can also have unexpected payoffs. When I decided that I wanted to become a teacher Ishopped around for a college with a good education program where I could get my 28 (or so) additional credits. I chose Aquinas College in Grand Rapids Michigan. AQ (as its called) is a very expensive school, however, I went there for free! I was the first recipient of the Norbert Hruby scholarship awarded to nontraditional (old) students with a history of community service. All of my volunteering had paid off in a very unexpected way. I guess you could say that my BA from Michigan State University was a benefit of volunteering as well, my tuition was paid by the good old GI bill for my service in the Navy.

So, here I am at 53 years of age, still volunteering and having a ball.

I think that my days of being a 9 to 5 wage-slave are behind me. I had a well-paying job a as museum educator at a very large midwestern museum. I was there for twelve years running the education department. It became less and less fun. As my blood pressure went up my job satisfaction went down. So, I bailed and resolved to do what I need to do to have more fun and satisfaction.

Now, I’m a substitute teacher in Washington County Maryland with a volunteer gig at Antietam national Battlefield, and I couldn’t be happier!

My first visit to Antietam was with my dad when I was 14 years old, I think I knew then that one day I’d like to come back to settle down. Now with one career behind me, a full grown child on her own, and a very talented and cool wife, I’ve come back to Maryland.

Boy are we glad we’re here. Life is too short to spend six month of each year shoveling snow and working at tedious jobs. we are having a ball!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Volunteers in Parks

Hi, my name is Mannie and I'm a volunteer for the US National Park Service. When I was first considering becoming a Volunteer in Parks (VIP) I searched high and low on the web for first-hand experiences from other VIPs, to no avail. Its my hope that this site can be useful for individuals who are considering volunteering for the NPS.