Hoot Work! Preparations for the Hootenanny: Heather Gillich

Education and Volunteer Coordinator Heather Gillich describes her preparations in the weeks leading up to the annual Harvest Hootenanny, a celebration of the year’s farming and fundraiser for CCUA affectionately known to staff and volunteers as ‘the Hoot’.  This year’s event is scheduled for October 4th.

In preparation for this year’s Hootenanny, I have worked closely with General Manager Billy Polansky to develop a comprehensive list of event volunteer needs. These needs are divided into sections ranging from event hospitality and dishwashing to staffing the auctionhaus and stages. Each section has a volunteer leader, assigned and trained, with a volunteer staff for multiple shifts. Recruiting and coordinating Hootenanny volunteers takes me 10-12 hours per week in the months leading up to the Hootenanny and will amount to nearly 1,000 volunteer hours served throughout the event.

Volunteers serve as the backbone of the Hoot.

Volunteers serve as the backbone of the Hoot (here at the 2013 event).

Event shifts range from 8-12 hour section leader shifts to 2 hour event staff shifts, and everything in between. With 140 shifts to fill, there is quite a bit of variation. We have advertised our volunteer needs for the Hootenanny on our website and social media, at local colleges and universities, via email blasts to supporters, and at various community events and online volunteer databases. We could not pull this event off without the dedication of our volunteer section leaders and our volunteer event staff!
A volunteer (standing at right) helps staff members Adam, Billy, and Carrie conduct the fundraising auction.

A volunteer (standing at right) helps staff members Adam (left), Billy (center), and Carrie (seated) conduct the fundraising auction.

Many of our Hootenanny volunteers return year after year to participate in the community feel of the event itself. I always look forward to seeing our past volunteers return this time of year and welcome the opportunity to meet our new volunteers as well! Each event volunteer receives perks such as a meal at orientation and during the event, a biergarten wristband for the event, an event T-Shirt, and exclusive invite to the Hootenanny Volunteer Appreciation Party!
For information on volunteering, you will find a form on the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture website.
See you at the Hoot!

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