Reaching for the Stars: Volunteering Beyond the Expected
Reaching for the Stars: Volunteering beyond the Expected
Do you think about giving back to the community, while having fun, beyond the requirement for credits or college admission? Volunteering can be way more exciting and interesting than just completing the required number of hours to graduate. SWFL SpaceCon, an annual Sci-Fi, Comic and Gaming Convention, aimed at bringing together fans and stars from all realms of fandom for one exciting weekend, is a perfect example of alternative thinking when it comes to volunteering. Choosing a cool place that taps into your own interests is about more than just clocking-in the hours. It can give you real-world skills and perspectives, and lead to long-lasting friendships with people who get you and are excited by the same things you are.
Want to feel like you’re in Hollywood and gain some leadership and time management skills? Volunteer as a Guest Pathfinder and keep the throngs away from guest speakers as you escort them to the panel discussion area. Maybe you’re into tech and crew jobs or engineering and set up. The Panel Set-up Assistant/Tech Support is the place to start to get real on-site experience with setting up events for techs with both physical and electrical builds. There are jobs for extroverts as well, volunteer as an announcer and use those drama-class skills. Costumes and cosplay are encouraged, so go in character! If the idea of picking and sticking to one job makes you want to yawn, then try a General Assistant role. They will have you running around doing anything that needs doing all day long. There won’t be any time for boredom in this role. It will hone your expertise with teamwork, communication and ability to be a creative problem-solver who can think on their feet. There are positions that require previous expertise as well, signing up as the Sign Language Translator will give you the opportunity to finally show off your ASL and KSL (Klingon Sign Language) skills.
As a for-profit organization, you won’t get high school credits for the work, but taking on these positions can be a real resume builder when looking for summer jobs or internship placements. The type of experiences you gain working across various fields make for a more well-rounded and interesting individual; the type of person who gets noticed for college admissions and real-world employment after graduation. Skills like leadership, teamwork, adaptability, communication and planning are exactly the skills you need to succeed in work environments outside of school. The social aspects are not something to be overlooked either. Sometimes, these interests and hobbies can be very solitary in nature. Spending time in the real-world with people as passionate as you are, will give you a chance to make new friends, feel a part of a larger community and meet like-minded individuals to share your ideas and excitement with. One of the most social places at SWFL SpaceCon is the game room, full of gamers, both board and video, taking on challenges and teaming up for campaigns. Volunteering as a Game Room Assistant will give you a natural in to make connections with other players as well as keep you in the thick of the excitement.
There are so many advantages to taking on unusual and fun short-term volunteer positions. Set yourself apart form your peers and meet new people while contributing to your community. These are the experiences that last a lifetime.
Shilo Morton is an entrepreneur, marketer and writer, currently working her magic in digital marketing. In a former life, Shilo worked as an artist, co-founding The Bored Collective, a performance art collective and founding Shine, representing over 100 artists. She now uses these experiences to teach and mentor new entrepreneurs on how to create their own businesses and make their dreams a reality.
You can find her at www.shilomorton.com