Dear Volunteers,

It’s strange to think that 7 months ago I knew none of you.

Oh sure, I assumed that people volunteered at the Battlefield down the road from my house. I enjoyed history and nature, and guessed that anyone who helped on these grounds enjoyed the same. I even signed up to be a volunteer literally 1 week before I heard about this Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position. I thought I would get to know you all as a fellow volunteer, until one email informing me about this job changed my plans! I’ll never forget the day that I received the email from a friend while I was at the library doing homework for a spring semester class. A position reaching out to the public, and recruiting, coordinating, and interacting with volunteers? Sign me up! I was sure excited to meet all of you.

 

In the past year, I have been able to interact with most of our seasoned volunteers, and build a relationship with you guys through various events, such as our Centennial Celebration, Clash of Cultures, Rally Point on the Raisin, and Spirits of the River Raisin events. In fact, I came just in time for parade season to start! From the Monroe County Fair Parade to the Christmas in Ida Parade of Lights, I have been able to work alongside many of you learning how to build and handle power tools, decorate a float, face deadlines (and just a teeny bit of stress), and ultimately walk in each parade. Some of my favorite times have also been simply bonding through physical, outside work, like picking up trash, working on our trail, and set-up and tear-down of tents.

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Building the Float with Great Friends!

 

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Monroe County Fair Parade Centennial Float 2016

Now, a little over halfway through the year, I look at the next 5 months with excitement and more confidence than when I started. I hope to continue feeding the sense of camaraderie that I felt at our Volunteer Potluck, when we all joined together for food, live music, karaoke, and fun! That can continue through special project groups, where us volunteer program heads help join people of similar interests together to lead an endeavor, so that staff or overtaxed volunteers do not need to carry the whole load.We as a group will be encountering events like the Commemoration, Open House, Cosplay program, and field trips galore!  The goal is sustainability, as Athena (my CVA co-worker in Detroit) and I will not be with you much longer. We will continue to need your help as we strive for complete transparency and communication in such matters.

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Karaoke at the Volunteer Potluck was a hit! (I’m on the far left)

Thus, I end my letter to you with a hypothetical toast! To all who have made me feel welcome at the Battlefield… to my sweet coworker, Athena, who has made me laugh, hauled wood with me, and got me to drink some coffee… to my supervisor Jami, who has taught me the ins and outs of the program, and always has a pen on hand… to Molly, Emily, and Ernestine for all your guidance at the Las Vegas orientation before I started… to each and every staff and volunteer at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park and Battlefield Foundation… THANK YOU!

Let’s face the rest of the year together.

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Athena (left): CVA of Wayne County; Kara (right) CVA of Monroe County