For the past few years Youth Volunteer Corps hosts a lock-in allowing new and old volunteers to bond for a few hours. It was held at Emerald City. People will think of Emerald City as the green, glowing city that Dorothy has to travel to in The Wizard of Oz, but this Emerald City is much different. It’s infamous for its rock walls that go as high as the ceiling itself, the tall rope swing that leads into a foam pit and the convoluted jungle gym which seemed too small for the high school type kid I am. In reality, Emerald city is for everyone regardless their age or size.
The best part about lock-ins is that I get (at the most) 4 hours of sleep. Many others, besides me, didn’t get the minimum hours of sleep needed to be a healthy kid, but we had our reasons. The most active thing was playing dodge ball. Dodge ball was especially exciting when we played boys v. girls…the girls won. That really got me pumped. My favorite part was climbing the rock wall. There was perfect “work hard, play hard” music playing in the background. It was a big motivator to reach the top and not let my slight fear of heights get in the way. The staff at Emerald City was also a huge motivator as they could not be sweeter and more interactive. In fact, one of the staff members and I created a bond over cross country and sports. It was fantastic.
Team leaders and volunteers were great to be around for 10 hours straight. The team leaders are like outgoing parents that you never get bored of. They were even the peace keepers during our intense, sweaty and injury causing game of capture the flag. During the Disney movie Aladdin, everyone was pretty tired but their spirits were alive and alert while team leaders sang “One Jump Ahead” and “A Whole New World”. Within every activity, both the leaders and volunteers were always smiling and were energetic. It was one of the coolest all-nighters I’ve ever had.
-E-beth Leach, 14
For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been volunteering alongside the Youth Volunteer Corp of Kansas City. In short, my experience has been great all around, but I don’t think that will do any justice to the group at all. My experience ranges from helping senior citizens play active activities to helping children create crafts at the Mahaffie Farmstead on a brisk winter day, and serving a heart-warming heap of turkey and potatoes to the families of residents at Homestead on a cool Thanksgiving night. I’ve had a great time here, and would like to spread the word of all the awesome activities as well as the awesome people that you get to work.
Seeing the residents’ faces light up at the sight of our youth and presence is probably, if not definitely, one of the best feelings around. Every Monday, I make the 20 minute drive from my high school to Homestead along with the other volunteers on that day. Our team leader has no problem interacting right alongside us with just as much, if not more enthusiasm than most of us volunteers. The residents are some of the most interesting people that you will ever meet. All of the residents have stories from their past that they don’t mind sharing with you; one of my personal favorites came from a Veterans Day question session in which I met a man that was part of a tank squadron in the Battle of the Bulge. Mind you, this was one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, nothing to take too lightly. After we were finished, we talked to his daughter outside of the room who told us that he doesn’t usually talk about his time in the Tank Corp, which just goes to show the effect that youth volunteers can have on these seniors and how they feel they can open up to us.
The team leaders are undoubtedly some of the most enthusiastic and outgoing people that I have met, ever. They never fail to put a smile on my face or lighten up the mood whether that be by a casual discussion about how the day has been so far or by some random questions to get a discussion going. All of the team leaders that I have interacted with have seemed to take an actual interest in me and my peers at all levels, something you don’t get everywhere.
YVCKC is the best, end of story.
-Nick Goss, 17
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