“It takes a village” in many ways means, “it takes a village full of volunteers” to make all parts of local government run. Village of New Paltz Trustees have been thinking about how to best recruit, celebrate and acknowledge volunteers.
Among the ways to thank volunteers discussed at the July 13 board meeting were giving them certificates and giving them questionnaires. The certificate would be reserved until the end of a volunteer’s tenure and could be given retroactively, as well. A favored design was displayed during the meeting, and received positive feedback.
Stana Weisburd called it a “really lovely thing to do for our volunteers.”
Agreeing with that sentiment, Michele Zipp also sees publicly thanking an outgoing volunteer as a way to announce an opening.
Calling it a “big step in the right direction,” Alex Wojcik lamented that “we can’t . . . feed every one.”
While providing a meal plan for volunteers may be out of the question, there is precedent for feeding them. During the 20-aughts, a food-filled volunteer appreciation event was coordinated for several years by Kitty Brown (who was deputy supervisor) and Rebecca Rotzler (who was deputy mayor). The tradition fell out of practice as elected officials changed roles and memories grew dim.
Rogers explained that the idea of a questionnaire is to give volunteers a forum to provide feedback that might not otherwise be collected. “It feels like it has to be a decent length,” the mayor said: not long enough to feel like a punishment, but meaty enough to provide an opportunity to share.
Trustees also passed into law expanded eligibility for serving on most village boards and commissions; anyone residing in the town — which has always included village residents — may now be considered.