YSPN Volunteer Opportunities Fair

This week I represented the ISM at a volunteer fair hosted by the Young Springfield Professionals Network (YSPN). The YSPN’s mission is to “foster a community for young professionals to have the opportunity to engage in networking, community service, and professional development.” The YSPN Volunteer Opportunities Fair did just that. Nearly thirty non-profit organizations from the Springfield, Illinois area were represented. To help show how attendees could give back to the community by volunteering with the ISM, I set up a display on the provided table. The table cloth, range of brochures and booklets, as well as some hands-on opportunities helped the display stand out. This display may remind you of the one we used at another fair.

Learn about volunteer opportunities with the Illinois State Museum!

Learn about volunteer opportunities with the Illinois State Museum!

It was wonderful to meet so many interested community members and representatives of so many organizations in the area. Among the vendors I spoke to, it was great to see representatives from genHkids, a frequent partner with the ISM. Our involvement with genHkids is one way we continue to support the Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens program. I also met the volunteer coordinator from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and it was great to discuss how many of our current volunteers work with both museums! It was incredibly rewarding (and fun!) to speak with both attendees and vendors and see such a strong commitment to community service.

One highlight of the evening event was when a nine-year old daughter of a vendor visited my table and recognized hands-on items from The Play Museum. We had a great conversation about the gallery, and the girl shared her favorite parts of the gallery space – the dig pit and video microscope. Her presence at my table drew several other attendees over to the display, and really helped highlight how one of the goals of the The Play Museum is to learn about Illinois’ natural, cultural, and artistic heritage through play. As one of the only children at this event, it was warming to see her make a beeline for the ISM’s table!

By participating in this fair, I continued to uphold best volunteer recruitment standards as developed by the American Association of Museum Volunteers. During this recruitment process, I highlighted volunteer positions with our exciting hands-on children’s gallery, The Play Museum. I presented clear descriptions of the duties of Play Museum volunteers and had sufficient applications at hand. I also made sure the materials present at this event were welcoming and engaging to individuals of diverse age, socioeconomic status, and educational background.

Do you or your institution(s) utilize volunteer fairs to share community service opportunities? Have you attended a volunteer fair recently or in the past to learn more about your community?

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