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Youth tell it like it is: What makes a great volunteer?

Posted Jun 29, 2015 by Stacy Ashton

Can you be a great volunteer at 14?  We work with youth in a volunteer program called CVC Flying Squad. Most (as in 85%) of our Squad volunteers are under the age of 19, and they volunteer with the Squad to help out at community events all over the Tri-Cities and New Westminster.

We asked our Squad volunteers to tell us the top characteristics of a good volunteer. They did a great job of describing themselves! What they told us about volunteering shows the wisdom that comes with meaningful contribution to community. 

Some youth broke it down list-style:

What a great idea! Here is my little list (in no particular order):

Eager to take initiative and help out without being asked
Collaborates with other volunteers, and compromises on methods to achieve project goal
Open to new tasks and brings enthusiasm to table
Respectful to the constructive criticism of peers and coordinators, and attempts to integrate the feedback
Is punctual and seeks clarification when uncertain of a task or in a situation

Here is my list of what makes a great volunteer.
Someone who is passionate about the cause
Someone who motivates others to do their best
Someone who is a true leader
Someone whose reason goes beyond the normal "I’m doing this for a program requirement or graduation transitions"
Someone who walks away with a better understanding of their surroundings

Others had some important insights into some key characteristics:


As a volunteer, you are responsible for the facility, people and organization that you are volunteering for and people trust you to take care of them. When people are sincere in their everyday life, it enriches their volunteer work in a way that speaks louder than words. The way you serve really show how much you care and those you serve see it.


Volunteering is sacrificing one's time, energy, and services without anything in return. But once you reach that point where you spent a lot of time and effort into something, you feel satisfaction and happiness because you know that you have made someone else's life better. Volunteering itself is not for your personal reward, but it's for someone else.


Volunteers must expect the unexpected at all times. One's job shift or plans may be modified or changed at the last minute due to certain circumstances. That's why a successful volunteer must be engaged, attentive, and adaptable.


Even if one volunteers a lot, if one is unenthusiastic and tired, peers will be affected as well. But even if a volunteer stays for a little but is enthusiastic, that volunteer's presence, attitude, and actions will leave positive impact to his/her peers.

The only thing youth need is the chance to volunteer - if you have a volunteer opportunity, open it up to young people, you won’t be disappointed. Thank you, Coast Capital Savings, for helping us connect great youth to great opportunities.



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