So, Wednesday January 21st was my first day volunteering at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. It is only about 10 mins away from my apartment so the drive was very easy.
I worked from 10am-1pm. While first arriving I told the guest services desk that I was volunteering with Facilities. Judging by the response I heard over a walkie-talkie, they were surprised that there was a volunteer. I wasn't sure if this was because they don't get many volunteers for Facilities or they weren't told they were going to have a volunteer help today. I went to check if my volunteer badge was created yet. It wasn't so I kept my id on me just in case.
The first thing I did was pick up trash from behind the visitor center and clean up trash, leaves, and branches from the parking lot behind the visitors center. Working outside wasn't too bad. It was only a bit nippy. When I was brought outside to help with that the job was almost finished so it didn't take me too long to complete it.
Then, I went to the cafe area where the Facilities worker, named Verna, was painting the walls with her two children. By the time i arrived the job was almost complete so i didn't do much except dab a few spots. I helped clean up their supplies and swept the floor.
Afterwards, I was supposed to go with Verna and Susan, Verna's co-worker, to the WOW Children's Garden but their golf cart only fit two people so I waited at the cafe for them to drive down and then come back to get me. At this point, i was a little bit disappointed because I was expecting to be doing a lot more work. The time it took them to go down to the WOW Children's Garden and then back was about 30-45 mins. At this point I was bored so I decided to look around the cafe.
The cafe area is currently under renovations and closed for the winter season. It is planned to re-open in April. I thought it was a nice face with plenty of seating in the building itself and with outside seating for the warmer months. Ironically enough, I noticed decorative items in the cafe from Kirkland's. For those of you that don't know I work at a Kirkland's. I'm so used to seeing the items in the store that now I recognize them used as decoration for other places.
So after the long wait I am driven in a golf cart to the WOW Children's Garden and I walk into the classroom. My assignment there was to clean the baseboards but like the first two assignments I had, the job was pretty much almost done. I spent the last 45 mins of my volunteer hours for the day cleaning the last few base boards and trying not to choke on the cleaning spray fumes that the heat and a/c was blowing back into my face.
At the end of the day, my first volunteer day wasn't good and yet wasn't bad. It was okay. I think I just expected there would be more for me to do. There were times when Susan and Verna would stop to wonder what they would have me do until someone over the radio would ask for their help with something. I might have not had a lot to do because I was there in the middle of the week and it was over cast and pretty cool outside. Apparently, the garden gets more visitors during the warmer months which doesn't surprise me.
I'm volunteering again on Saturday in the library and depending on how that works out I may just stick to volunteering in the library and for other special events that the garden may need help with. Aside from enjoying being with the people I worked with and knowing I helped complete tasks faster for the crew I worked with, I couldn't help but feel like I wasted a little bit of my time. Plus, seeing as today was my day off from work halfway it made me wish I didn't offer to help today and just stay in my apartment all day and just relax.
In the long run, though, i am glad i volunteered. I love the garden, i love the atmosphere, and I just like helping people. Hopefully it gets a bit better the more I volunteer.
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman