Did you ever think we would be talking and planning for the year 2020? What do we see our chapter evolving into in a short five year period? What will we look like? How will we plan to continue the mission of the American Red Cross? What role will we play in making sure our communities are prepared when we are called upon as an organization for help when thousands need us?
As we plan for our five year vision, I believe that in order for us to be successful in the long term, it will involve sharing our vision with a younger generation. It is up to us to teach and instill our love for the Red Cross and all it stands for. If we can teach our children to give back to others it will ensure that the next generation will carry this mission forward.
I have a perfect example of a young volunteer spirit! Madeline Thompson called me to set up an appointment for an interview. Madeline is a middle school student who was doing an exhibit for “National History Day.” She had chosen Clara Barton and the American Red Cross as her subject and was eager to find out what role we played in this community. She left with a greater knowledge and a different way to look at helping others.
The next day Madeline came back to visit me with a huge smile on her face! She had something that she wanted to show me…her metal! She had won third place in the contest and barely missed being able to go on to the state level. Her dad said she wanted to come straight to the chapter to show me her award. It took time out of my day to answer Madeline’s questions but when she said… “I just wanted you to know that I will never forget what I learned here. I will continue to learn more about this organization and will someday come back to volunteer,” it was definitely worth my time!
Mentoring our youth should be at the forefront of our goals for the future. Whether it will entail welcoming interns into our chapter, or starting a Red Cross club in our high schools and colleges, it will be time well spent.
As I sit down with our board to make our five year plan for this chapter, at the top of our list will be to increase our presence into schools. Sharing the time with Madeline opened up a realization that our future, the future of our mission, lies in the hearts and the hands of our youth. Sharing the Red Cross story with Madeline that day was great….seeing her understanding and excitement of the mission….priceless!