- The economy is struggling and whereas before many of the older teens would've gotten part time jobs, now they are competing against (and losing out to) adults with work experience.
- The 2nd largest teen volunteer organization in Escondido, Education COMPACT, lost its funding and was forced to disband their summer volunteer groups.
- We throw a fabulous thank you party at the end of the summer complete with lush goody bags, delicious food, and letters of recommendation verifying their hours that they can use for scholarship applications and school requirements. :)
I want to provide as many teens as possible with volunteer opportunities, but at what point does the program become more work than it's worth? Recruiting, screening, training, scheduling, and evaluating volunteers is a huge task. On top of attending a training session, teens often need to be reminded of the basics over and over again before it truly sinks in, and it often feels like once they finally get it their parents take them away on vacation or their summer band camp begins and you never see them again. So here are my questions to you YA librarians out there:
- How do you screen your applicants to make sure they will be an asset, not a detriment, to your program?
- What is your scheduling procedure? Do you allow teens to choose their own shifts or do you work with their availability and then create a schedule for them? If you allow them to choose their own schedule, do they do it for the whole program at once or just a few weeks at a time?
- Do you guarantee them a minimum # of hours over the course of the summer?
- Do you require that they commit to working a minimum # of hours in order to participate?
I appreciate any comments or feedback on this as I'm always looking for ways to improve the program for next summer.