I can’t believe it is summer time already and for the world of many volunteer professionals that means…..junior volunteers!! While we all know that our junior volunteer programs are such a good opportunity for young people to see inside the world of healthcare and help shape their future career decisions, we also know how much extra work these programs require. I don’t know about you all, but I am always looking for new placement areas, projects, educational experiences, etc to make the program more valuable for the students who want to spend their summer with us.
Over the years I have found a few ideas that have proven successful for me and since most of these ideas were learned through our NCHVP family, I thought I would share for anyone looking for new ideas.
- Each summer I have our youth volunteers select a department or area within our hospital system and host a fundraiser for their benefit. They have to plan, prepare, advertise, and work the event. They love it and raise a few dollars for a good cause.
- We have a long-term care facility on campus so last year we hosted a “Back to the Fifties” party for the residents. The youth had to prepare a slide show featuring popular music, movies, actors, clothing, hang-outs, and local pictures from the 50s. The youth had to dress in full 50s attire and present the slide show including singing, dancing, movie clips, commercial jingles and more. We ended the celebration with ice cream floats for all. This was an amazing experience for our youth and loved by residents of all ages. We plan to choose a different era and do this again this summer!
- For returning youth (2nd, 3rd summer youth) we offer ½ direct shadowing opportunities in areas that traditionally we do not host youth volunteers. The youth are required to apply for this experience with their initial paper work for the summer.
- Every summer we try to offer at least one or more educational sessions for the youth.
- When available, we allow youth volunteers to take advantage of our BLS classes for free.
Anyway, just a few ideas to add a little fun and meat to your youth volunteer program this summer. I would love to hear your ideas too.