by Katherine (Kate) Egleston
Cushioned by the wonderful memories of last summer (2014) as a Hollyhock volunteer I arrived at Hollyhock in July (2015) looking forward to another season as a volunteer. It was everything I anticipated plus much more. I felt something take root in me as I both reached out and surrendered to the magic of Cortes Island – the forest, the ocean, its inhabitants – with Hollyhock at its heart situated in a pivotal place in the lives of many including myself. What I came to appreciate is that everyone there whether volunteers or staff or guests strives to bring their best self forward in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. This bounty of goodwill is the exception rather than the rule in the larger world where the stresses of modern life are often met with complacency and indifference. In this Hollyhock is very special and honours its mission to make the world a better place. This was perhaps the most revelatory and important part of my volunteer experience.
Other highlights there included:
- The multi generational aspect of the volunteer group with ages ranging from 19 to 69 which was enormously enriching
- The educational opportunity for volunteers to attend a variety of workshops offered during a networking conference
- The volunteer session length extended from 4 to 6 weeks which although physically demanding was an opportunity to deepen my connections to people and place
- Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing particularly in the grove of the old growth trees on the bluff of the Hollyhock campus
- Smiles and Laughter. The light does shine both ways.
I reflect on both of my volunteer sessions at Hollyhock with gratitude. I am in a very different place than I was last year prior to my first volunteer experience and I know that Hollyhock was a beacon in that process.
With thanks I offer these three words that sum up my 2015 Hollyhock volunteer experience:
Transformative >>> Heartfelt >>> Gratitude
Please visit our website, for more information on our Volunteer Service Program.