Volunteer For Your Local School Today...or Not!  

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I might have mentioned that I was going to be a camp counselor for my son's 6th grade camp. The parents were informed that without volunteers the children would not be able to have a 6th grade camp, so a few of us were more than happy to jump in.

I was told that all I need to do is get my fingerprints taken to verify that I'm not some sicko child molester in hiding. Fair enough I can understand that, and I fully agree with the concept. I was told to head down to the local Unified School District office to get this done.

I show up at the office to get my fingerprints done. The woman behind the counter ignored me for a few minutes first (about 5). I figured she must be busy, but I soon realized she was just killing time, so after clearing my throat without response for the 3rd time I simply said "Excuse me". She turned around and acted like I was really interrupting her work schedule. Strike one... I was then told that I needed to get a TB test before getting my fingerprints done. I didn't realize that, mostly because NOBODY bothered to tell me. I figured what the heck, it's for my son I can handle that. Well the county health department only does that on two days and that wasn't one of them. So now I'm having to wait an extra couple days to get the TB test before I can get my fingerprints. Still no problem, I can work my schedule around it and take care of the TB test then the fingerprints. I'm then told that fingerprints will cost $62.00. I stood there staring at her for a minute letting that sink in. "Excuse me?", says I. She explains that it will be $62.00. $15.00 for them to do the fingerprints and $47.00 for the district, to I guess process the fingerprints??? She didn't know why the district charged all that money when the people that are actually going to print me are charging $15.00. I maintain some level of calm and say ok, and out the door I go.

I get my TB test done, the following Tuesday and have to wait for the end of the week so they can read it and verify that I'm tested negative. No problem there and Friday I get my little receipt showing that I'm A OK ready to go. I show back up today to get my prints done, and I'm informed that I need to schedule my fingerprints and it will cost $47.00 in cash, check, or money order. Exact change only. I have had just about enough of these people at this point. I calmly expressed my opinion that maybe they should make that information known when telling us that we will be paying this money to VOLUNTEER in the first place. She has the nerve to laugh and tell me that they wouldn't get nearly as many volunteers if they did that. I am forced to go across the street to a liquor store to get change, since I'm a guy and as most guys will tell you we don't carry check books usually and I'm pretty sure I don't have the means to make a money order in my truck. I'm a cash and debit card kinda guy. I bring her the money in small bills and some change (a little payback). I'm then told that I can go down tomorrow to get my fingerprints done. I leave with a controlled thank you.

Is it just me or does this seem a bit extreme for somebody who is a volunteer? I've always been of the opinion that if somebody is going to volunteer their time, the least I can do is try to make it as simple as possible. It seems to me that they go out of their way to make it harder, almost to the point of disuading you from offering to help. They have already had one father drop out and I'm sure that will leave me with more kids in my cabin which is no big deal since I'm sure we will have a good time.

So here is a little bit of advice to all of you administrators looking for volunteers. How about you have the district foot the bill for the fingerprints, and how about if you give clear, concise instructions regarding EXACTLY what is required and then maybe just maybe you could manage to allow us to get these things done in a couple of visits instead of 4 or 5. Perhaps you could even tell the person at the window that they are meeting the public and some social skills are helpful. You could maybe even go a step further and tell them that social skills are required and a bit of knowledge about your job is also helpful. Some professionalism would be greatly appreciated.

The bottom line is my son is going to have his dad there as a counselor, but I'm quite sure the principal is going to get an earful from not just this parent, but at least 3 others that I know of. We don't mind stepping in, but I'll be damned if I'm going to jump over hoops when they could handle all the footwork beforehand.

Wake up schools and school districts you could get so much more from your community if you would listen a little bit, and actually take what we think and want into consideration. Volunteer today, but make sure you know what you are getting into before you sign that paper....

This entry was posted at Tuesday, April 27, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

11 comments

Hahaha.

I don't know if I could do it.

April 27, 2010 at 10:49 PM

How odd. You don't have to do any of that, to be a parent, interact at the school, play ball, have sleep overs. They sure as heck don't make it easy for you to volunteer!

April 27, 2010 at 11:11 PM

Number 1 they should fire her ass. And two why the hell should volunteer's have to pay for anything? No wonder no one wants to do that crap. Not only are you not getting paid for it, they are charging you. What a racket.

April 28, 2010 at 1:10 AM

Good luck with that one. I wouldn't be able to weather the storm. You are brave. And I'm surprised they didn't make you give up your first born for that gig.

April 28, 2010 at 1:22 AM

I guess it depend on how long this camp is. If you are going to spend money, you might as well put him in a 'real' camp.
I agree though, volunteering for stuff is hard...not because you don't WANT to, but you really don't have the time. So when you make the effort, it sucks to get shot down like that.

April 28, 2010 at 5:07 AM

That's ridiculous. Especially the bit after she laughed. I think I would have flipped her off and walked out... I don't have the patience.

April 28, 2010 at 11:07 AM

margg...I'm starting to wonder if I can..lol

Ms. Anthropy..I get the feeling they don't want us to volunteer so they can ask for more funding to have actual "employees" go on the camp outings...So much for family being involved in education.

Jerry...You're preaching to the choir :) Totally agree..Volunteers should get some assistance to make this as smooth as possible. We are trying to help, but they just don't want to understand that.

Momma Fargo..Somehow I think you would end up being the most popular counselor at the camp. You could show all the young girls how to kick the crap out of any unruly boys as they get older... I was beginning to wonder if my first born would be part of the bargain :)

Joe..Camp is for a week, and it's "outdoor school", according to the school. I think it's a great opportunity for my son so I'm all for it, but by the same token, I'm quite sure I could take the boys up to the mountains and give them a better understanding of nature and wildlife then these "teachers" will. BUT he gets to be with his friends for this, so I guess that is the trade off.. Hmmm Maybe I'll just have to run for board of education ...lol

Kristy..How much I wanted to just sock her right in the nose, BUT my mom's voice can crawling in my ear telling me not to hit a woman no matter how much she deserved it. My sister told me that I could call her next time and she will do it for me, so the offer is on the table at least :)

April 28, 2010 at 11:44 AM

My mouth is still open because of the fingerprinting thing..and the TB?!? They really ask for both of those?? I can't believe it! It's so weird!

Thank goodness you're a good person, because I would've felt like shouting a long list of swears and insults..!

April 28, 2010 at 3:35 PM

A lot of parents will not lift a finger to help in any activities for their children and those who actually want to help are treated this way, whats wron with this picture?

April 28, 2010 at 5:51 PM

My hat's off to you my friend!

If that "cow" behind the counter, treats parents that way, just imagine how rude she is to the students!

May 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Great post Bendigo.... I'd rather have the parent's go through a background check rather than a TB test....

You'd think the lady whose job it is to provide a service to parents would actually provide good service....

May 2, 2010 at 1:24 AM

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