Today in the New DRE (Director of Religious Education) workshop, one of the topics we addressed was volunteer management, and we focused on volunteer teachers. I said that the way I think about volunteer management is that it is a cycle that begins with supporting your current volunteers, then moves to recognizing volunteers at the end of a semester or year (or for volunteers completing service), then moves to recruiting new volunteers (or recruiting current volunteers to volunteer for another semester or year), then moves to training volunteers beginning service.
I asked workshop participants to brainstorm ideas for ways that we can support, recognize, recruit, and train religious education volunteers (especially volunteer teachers). Below is the list of ideas they generated:
Here at Ferry Beach Conference Center, the Ferry Beach Ecology School has established an organic garden that also serves as a place to teach children. I’ve uploaded photos of this outdoor classroom to Flickr, with lots of explanatory captions. It’s both attractive, and well-designed for teaching.
Seeing this has really gotten me excited. Now I want to establish something like this for my own congregation!
We’re sitting on the porch of the Quillen building at Ferry Beach, with a cool sea breeze coming off the Atlantic. Helen Zidowecki is explaining the religious education credentialing process for Unitarian Universalist religious education professionals. We found a great summary of the program here.
Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be leading a workshop for new Directors of Religious Education (DREs). With the thought that this workshop might be useful to others, I’m going to post summaries of what we cover each day. To start off, I’ll post the three key handouts which I’ll hand out at the beginning of the workshop. These three handouts attempt to provide a broad overview of what the DRE job can encompass.
Dumpling restaurant in Little Seoul in Manhattan. The cooks stand in the front window making noodles and dumplings, and E—— decided to photograph them.
Carol and E—— on a moving walkway beneath the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.
At midday, my old friend W—— and I packed sandwiches and water, got into his canoe and paddled up the Concord River, and paddled upstream. It wasn’t as hot as yesterday, but it still was in the 90s. Sometimes we’d catch a light breeze, depending on where we were along the bends of the river. The hot sun was straight above us, and there was no shade except over water too shallow for us to paddle in. We saw Daniel Chester French’s statue of the Minuteman, passed under the Old North Bridge, passed the replica of the boat house where Nathaniel Hawthorne had tied up the rowboat he bought from Henry Thoreau,* and at last got to the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury Rivers, which is the beginning of the Concord River.
“Which way do you want to go?” I asked Will. He didn’t have an opinion, so I suggested we got up the Assabet River because it was likely to be shadier. We passed some people fishing, and I asked them if they were catching anything. “Nothing,” they said, “just a few little sunfish. It’s too hot.” They were standing waist-deep in the water to keep cool.
The Assabet River is narrow, and just a little way up it we were in the shade. We went up stream just a short way before it got too shallow to go any further. We drifted downstream until we found a bend in the river that was in the shade, and which also caught the desultory breeze. Fish swam under us, and a Spotted Sandpiper bobbed on the opposite bank. It was the perfect place to beat the heat, and we talked about our families for a good hour until it was time to drift back downstream to where we put in.
* For my Unitarian Universalist readers, French, Hawthorne, and Thoreau were all raised as Unitarians, although Thoreau resigned from his church in his early twenties.
At about five o’clock, it had cooled off enough that I was willing to go out for a long walk. I walked out of my sister’s air-conditioned house in Acton, Mass., into the heat. At least it wasn’t unbearably humid; it was merely mildly humid and oppressively hot. When I got off the main road onto a side street, away from car exhaust fumes, I could smell the warm earth, the roadside plants and weeds, the occasional tang of pollen. I passed a hay field that had just been mowed, with all the cut hay raked into rows so the baler could scoop them up, and the sweet smell of fresh-cut hay overwhelmed all the other smells. Then I got back onto a main road again, and once again the hot summer smells were lost under the exhaust fumes. That evening, Dad said his digital thermometer had recorded a high temperature of 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
My younger sister, my father, and I all went down to the island of Martha’s Vineyard to visit family today. While there, I saw these Ospreys on their nest at Katama Point in Edgartown. You can see one of the chicks to the right, and the two adults to the left.