Volunteering in Medora: At-a-Glance
The TRMF Volunteer Program began in 1998 when Jean Neshiem spearheaded the effort to create a volunteer program in Medora. Since its beginning, utilizing 44 volunteers that entire first summer, the program has continued to grow.
Today, we typically receive more than 800 applications for our 650 volunteer positions. In 2018, a record number of volunteers accomplished over 25,000 hours of volunteer work in vital areas for TRMF -- and all while sporting huge smiles!
Volunteers come from across the country, each serving as wonderful ambassadors for Medora while enjoying one of “the best weeks of their life”.
So who are these amazing volunteers; where do they come from; what do they do; and how do I get chosen?
Keep reading…we’ll answer all of these and more!
Who can volunteer?
- Our volunteers range in age from 21 to their 80’s, a few even push the upper limits
- We receive applications from all over the country from both individuals and couples
- Each person needs to complete an application if applying as a couple
- Individuals may apply alone & then be paired with another person by us, or may select a preferred partner e.g. – sister, brother, friend, neighbor, etc. on their application
We are asked many times, "With so many applicants, how do you make selections?"
It is the hardest thing that we have to do and we work diligently to be as fair and consistent as possible. We assume each applicant has read and understands what it takes to be selected as a top-notch Medora Volunteer.
So, What Qualities Does a Great Medora Volunteer Have?
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a top-notch Medora volunteer? These qualities, found in a mix of new or “veteran” volunteers from diverse geographical locations, are key factors for your success as a volunteer.
- A passion for and an interest in Medora, the Badlands, and taking care of guests
- A team player; works well with others, both staff and volunteers
- Commitment to benefit organization is greater than self-benefit
- Self-directed and motivated
- Enjoys taking care of Medora’s guests and visitors
- Is a financial supporter of TRMF (an Annual Member or more); modeling Harold’s spirit of generosity, making Medora available for generations to come
- Willingly attends and actively participates in orientation and training sessions
- Knows and desires to fulfill the Vision, Mission, and Values of TRMF
- Completes duties as assigned and/or as needed
- Asks for help when needed and ready to help others
- Eager to learn and willing to adapt to change
- Has a positive, uplifting attitude; a problem solver; someone who rarely complains or whines
- Able to consistently meet the physical, mental and emotional challenges of varied volunteer duties (detailed list on application)
Then, we try to look at the following:
- We ensure that each applicant has sent in a fully completed application, by the due date
- We want and need to achieve a richer blend of new and returning volunteers. In 2019 we are hoping for close to a 50:50 blend, a significant increase in the number of new volunteers
- We look for geographical diversity; promoting a richness of cultures and experience
- We need to consider the preferences of each individual/couple for particular weeks and/or seasons. Each individual must choose his/her first and second choice for date and season
- We consider prior years of service and quality of past efforts
- We must seek a blend of couples & singles that can be accommodated in our lodging facility
Two other specific things are very helpful in increasing selection: FLEXIBILITY and AVAILABILITY.
Flexibility: paraphrasing Pres. John Kennedy, “Ask not what TRMF can do for you, but what you can do for TRMF” shows itself in your willingness to try varied experiences, e.g. - End of Season instead of In-Season, put your preferences in different times of the same season. (Many of you have taken the risk to try out a different season and found it to be equally rewarding, and in many cases even better!)
Availability: Hint: Checking the “No Preferences”/WWWYNM box on the application is a good thing
Are there a lot of different seasons and experiences for me to choose from?
Absolutely! Beginning in early spring through the end of September, there is a little of something for everyone! Whether you are a “born talker”, an “I just want to build something” handyman/woman, a golfer or you simply love to serve customers, we think you’ll find your spot.
Some folks take a different tack and sign up for a session that is totally not them because they want to learn a new skill, try something different, stretch and grow!
Explore the “When To Volunteer” page. There you will find descriptions of each session -- Pre-Season, In-Season, End-of-Season, Tee-Timers and more -- the length and number of spots available and other important info. Please take a look at the volunteer sessions for next season even if you’re a veteran Medora volunteer. Many of the options have been modified from previous years.
Reminder: the number of In Season applications are consistently 2-3 times more than the number of spots available.
So, you’ve made the selections. What happens next?
- A selection letter with accompanying materials is sent to each individual or couple with your season and dates
- If accepting your assignment, you are asked to complete, sign and return your acceptance form and the Medical Release form by the due date
- Upon receipt of your completed forms, your spot(s) are confirmed. If not received by the due date, we will contact the selected applicant(s) to determine the status of his/her selection.
What if I/we are not selected?
- You will be notified right away by mail and given the opportunity to accept a position(s) in another week or season that may not yet be filled
- You will automatically be placed on our “Call for Cancellations” list. I typically need to replace 50-70 volunteers who for a variety of reasons cannot accept their chosen season/date. Hopefully those canceling give adequate advance notice. However, many are last minute and spots are filled on a first–come basis.
- If you choose not to accept another season/date, your name(s) will be placed on a priority list for selection for the following year