The WOW factor began building momentum for me when we called upon the directors of Mills and Fairchild Halls at The Unviserity of New Hampshire (UNH) this year to recruit students interested in volunteering for our 2009 – 2010 programs. This request wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, since On Belay’s inception students from UNH have volunteered to bake treats for breakfast and help out at our programs, but the response is what caught my attention.
Forty-two college students arrived for our first meeting! Forty-two college students who have exams to study for, friends to gossip with, activities to participate in put their community first. These thoughtful and energetic twenty somethings not only wanted to help with the program, they wanted to build a relationship with our organization.
After the meeting I received a flurry of emails with ideas for fundraisers and offers of long term volunteer commitments.
Less than two weeks after the meeting I sat in awe of UNH’s only co-ed accapela group, Alabaster Blue. The group had spent the day on the other side of the state, performing and return to campus more energized then ever to hold a benefit concert for On Belay.
The very next morning, a the crack of dawn, fifteen bright eyed college students pulled into the parking lot at Camp Lincoln, site of our fall program. The forecast called for rain, sleet and snow and it delivered. In spite of the frigged temperatures and falling snow each and every volunteer rose to the occasion. Participants were absolutely joyful and unaware of the weather.
I left the program amazed at the selflessness I expereinced in the company of our college volunteers. In front of me is a generation of young people who believe it is their responsibility, their duty, to give back to their community. I look forward to seeing how this generation will continue to change the world.