Today was not only National Service Day, but also Martin Luther King Jr. Day both of which are perfect for organizations to allow staff to get out in the community and give back.
With a large virtual team, it was more difficult to plan a project to include everyone as our offices are from Stockholm, Sweden, to Portland, Oregon, with many points in between. Instead, we let people take the day to work in their own community resulting in projects such as Della starting and leading a beach clean up (while on vacation) and Carole taking her children to the local humane society to help out.
Here in the Portland office, we decided to volunteer in the great outdoors planting trees.
Being outside in the sunshine would have been wonderful if the temperature hadn't been below freezing when we arrived. It didn't take long to figure out that the harder we worked, the warmer we were. Shawna and Britta also quickly learned that standing in the steaming pile of compost while shoveling it into buckets kept their feet nice and toasty. True nature girls!
As sustainable planners, we were thrilled to see that even at this outdoor event, the Friends of Trees had ceramic mugs for our coffee and no disposables in sight. They are definitely, "Friends of Trees."
As event managers, we observed the volunteer coordination from sign-in, through training,
and onsite management. Being on the volunteer side was an important reminder about how to use people's valuable time most effectively and giving them the necessary tools.
At the end of the day, each of us felt we received more than we gave and were thankful for the opportunity to make a small difference for our planet. One tree at a time.