Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{November 17, 2009}   Teen Volunteers~understanding this generation

Today I met with 10 volunteers in 7th and 8th grade for a group orientation and training session. This is a great and enthusiastic type of volunteer! The first step in working with Teen Volunteers is to understand their generation. This generation needs to feel purpose. They like to help. They are very generous and caring. They value their time and don’t like to waste it. This generation is very technically savvy. They’ve only known cell phones, cable tv, computers and communicating via social networking and texts. They are very audio and visually motivated. This is a very busy generation, don’t hold them to schedules or you won’t retain them. Give them plenty of tasks to choose from, allowing them to control their opportunity. They like to work in groups in areas that interest them.

They also need to see and understand the big picture. Provide a lesson or lecture on community service outside the library. If your library provides a Teen Area or a Young Adult Area, create a Teen Advisory Board. Colleges, Universities and Scholarship applications like to see applicants in Board positions in leadership and decision-making roles. TAB’s provide this opportunity at the local library. TAB’s plan programs, events, displays. They determine the books in book clubs, movies for movie nights, gaming nights and craft nights.

Watch the handbook with these groups! Cell phone and dress code are the biggest violations. Progressive discipline works wonders! Lots of places aren’t hiring, so a great place to get job experience is by volunteering, and having this age group volunteer is a huge help and lots of fun. Patience,  a Sense of Humor and Understanding are all you need to work with this group, and before you know it, and you’ll be doing your own group orientations with 10 or more teens at a time leading them around the library on a tour like the Pied Piper!


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