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Why Volunteer at Wonderstruck this Summer?

What role do our volunteer staff play at Wonderstruck? Why do our volunteer staff love participating?

Are you a high school student (or parent of a student) who knows that you need volunteer hours to graduate? Or maybe you’re in college or university, early in your career, or contemplating a career switch. Maybe you just want to give back and plug into a community or find a creative outlet. Whatever the case, volunteering can be the bridge between where you stand now, and a more successful future. How does volunteering help you attain success? 

quote from Wonderstruck staff

Volunteers build skills, including soft skills and leadership skills. Soft skills are very important for future career and educational success. What are soft skills? Soft skills are what help us interact successfully with other people

85% of job success is related to soft skills, according to Harvard Business Review. Whereas you can go to school to learn technical skills, a lot of soft skills have to be learned practically. They only come from experience. If you really want to develop these, volunteering can be a great way to start. Volunteering offers the opportunity to practice soft skills in a safe and nurturing environment.

On top of all these benefits for your career and skills, there are emotional, social and mental benefits to volunteering. Volunteers get to feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves. There is a sense of community and belonging that comes from putting together a program or fulfilling a goal with a team of people. Volunteering builds hope in the future and increases satisfaction in the present

Keep reading to see what Wonderstruck volunteer staff had to say about our March Break day camp. Volunteer Staff love the immersive story approach at Wonderstruck.

What makes Wonderstruck unique? 

Check out what happens at Wonderstruck for a description of how our activities are woven into the fantasy story of each week. Wonderstruck Camp is a Summer Day Camp in North Vancouver where campers (and staff!) live each week inside of an immersive fantasy story. That means there are actors dressed as fairies, elves, wizards and mermaids that guide campers through various activities, from arts and crafts to wide games to forest exploration hikes. Each session can have a few or many characters, depending on the storyline. Some characters are invisible to the kids. For example, Giants leave the campers notes to interpret and campers hear the sound of Giants’ footsteps via bluetooth speaker. Campers only ‘see’ Giants when they look at the trees, which Giants can transform into. What makes Wonderstruck unique is this story-led approach to summer day camp. Campers are encouraged to use their imaginations and think creatively throughout each day of camp.

Why volunteer at Wonderstruck?

What are some of the benefits of volunteering at Wonderstruck Camp? 

Wonderstruck volunteers get many of the same benefits as Wonderstruck campers. These benefit align with Wonderstruck’s core values. Wonderstruck exists to nurture the power of dreams in the next generation. Community, creativity and play are three values that support this bigger vision. When you volunteer at Wonderstruck, community, creativity and play are also some of the benefits that you will experience. 

Community: How does volunteering at Wonderstruck build community? 

Living inside of a story together is the ultimate way to combat loneliness and social isolation. When we have shared experiences, we experience connections that can last a lifetime. When we share our stories with one another, we are connecting and building empathy. These are crucial building blocks in making community. 

Psychology scholar Joshua Gowin, PhD explains this in Psychology Today: When you listen to stories and understand them, you experience the exact same brain pattern as the person telling the story.” 

Volunteers at Wonderstruck spend time getting to know one another and campers. This builds relationships through shared experiences and storytelling that inevitably happens over lunch breaks or while hanging out in the forest together. The fact that Wonderstruck is all about living inside a shared story gives volunteers a sense of common ground right from the start.

Creativity and imagination: Why is creativity so important and how does this apply to volunteers at Wonderstruck?

Here’s what one of our staff during March Break had to say about volunteering at Wonderstruck: "The joy of imagination carried us on a magical journey through the week... There were Faeries, Giants, Mermaids and Centicorns all in a story of mystery with clues and puzzles for the kids to solve." 

Creativity is core to building a better future for ourselves and our communities. It is also essential for human expression. The ability to look at problems in different ways, find inspiration and innovate is core to being human. Imagining is the first step in making change or in achieving anything. Every great thing that exists in the world started with a dream. Wonderstruck exists to cultivate this dreaming ability. Volunteers experience the ability to let go of some of their inhibitions and have new experiences in a creative context when they help make magic at Wonderstruck. Just as importantly, they help cultivate imagination and creativity in the next generation through interactions with campers. 

Play: Why is play beneficial?

Play is not just something kids do. Adults need to play just like kids do, and we often forget this. Research shows that people who are satisfied in life do things that are just purely enjoyable, without a productive output. According to Stuart Brown, a medical doctor and researcher: “Play -- doing things just because they're fun and not because they'll help achieve a goal -- is vital to human development.” The ability to solve big problems also requires us to take breaks and allow our brains and bodies to recuperate. It is important to include play in your life on purpose - and Wonderstruck offers a great opportunity to do just that. 

What do volunteers do at Wonderstruck?

There are various ways to volunteer at Wonderstruck. Actors dress as fairies, elves, wizards, mermaids and other characters for the campers to interact with. When you volunteer as an actor, you need to understand the Wonderstruck world and the storyline, but you can make up your own dialogues and get creative with exactly how you play your character. You can get a better idea of the various characters at Wonderstruck on our Staff and Volunteers page

There are also volunteer counselling positions. These positions are for people who want to guide the campers through the program and lead activities. Counsellors are responsible for camper safety and thriving throughout the camp. Counsellors can also play acting roles, depending on the session and storyline. You don’t have to dress up to take part in the magic. As one volunteer counsellor put it: "Working with camp wonderstruck was a new and unforgettable experience for me. We went outside as much as possible, kids had all sorts of tasks and games they should do, and it was nice to see how kids liked all the magical characters and were eager to learn more about them and spend time with them, they even started to invent their own spells at one point!"

Wonderstruck also has the opportunity to volunteer in a supporting role. This can mean being a camp photographer, doing administrative tasks, or even meeting with leaders and founders to improve the marketing of Wonderstruck. Supporting roles are open year-round at Wonderstruck, and are a great way to gain experience for a future career, or explore a new area of interest. Wonderstruck supports internships for college and university students. 

Whatever your motivations for volunteering, Wonderstruck has great options for you. You don’t have to dress up and play a character (but you can!) You can gain skills and experience necessary for work or simply engage in the joy of play and creativity. Regardless of how you participate, Wonderstruck offers a chance to feel connected while trying something new and building community. 


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