The first moment that someone enters GYC, their interactions are with volunteers. Cheyna Ashe, GYC volunteer coordinator, emphasized their vital importance. “The conference literally could not run without them,” she said.
Only some have an official position. Except for outside logistical contractors and one year-round support staff member, everyone who is a GYC staff member is a volunteer. From leading people to meal areas to visiting the convention sites months before the conference, the conference would not be possible without GYC’s driven team of volunteers.
Volunteering can be a great way to be in a position to interact with people, Hannah Evert, a registration volunteer from Washington, said about her volunteer experience. “I had a lot of fun with registration because I was at the registration table and was able to say hi to every single person that came and registered,” she said while preparing to guide buses for outreach. By scanning registration QR codes, taking pictures, or answering questions, registration volunteers engage with the GYC community daily.
GYC’s volunteers begin long before the conference. It starts in the summer once registration opens. From that time on, GYC leadership organizes the details of the meeting. GYC leadership begins their roles in the months leading up to the event, while some start upon arriving.
Attendees can begin to volunteer at any time during their GYC experience. Some, like Ash, have been coming to GYC for nine years and have volunteered for every single one. Even though volunteering can take away from time in seminars and meetings, volunteers say that the experience is worth it. Many see it as a way to serve and give back to the people who made their first conference experience positive. Ash called this a “chain reaction of joy and happiness.” Serving can act as a way to enhance the GYC experience and help attendees experience the joy of giving.
This year, 170 people signed up for conference volunteer positions. While there is gratitude for everyone who offered to volunteer, this is less than in past years. This is a significant trend to look at because of how important volunteers are to helping the conference flow smoothly.
Attendees considering volunteering should try it out. It could be an experience they would never regret. Ash commented: “When you volunteer, it removes that dark shadow of whatever pain a person may be going through, and you get to feel a little bit more of God’s love.”