“Every child is known and cherished, with his or her needs and preferences taken into account. It is this care—and the children whose lives I have seen changed by it—that inspire me and keep me involved.”
—Eloise Grathwohl, parent, volunteer, donor
join us! sign up to volunteer!
Thank you SO much for your interest in Clapping Hands Farm! We’re excited to get to know you! We absolutely love volunteers, and much of what we do would not be possible without them. We also have a lot of FUN working together! Below you’ll find first a list of current volunteer needs and then an overview with brief descriptions of the big areas where we can use help. Explore and ponder, then sign up to help. We will be in touch with you promptly!VOLUNTEER FORM
specific current needs!
- Send fundraising letters: this is our big fundraising project for November and December. If you know 1 or 2 or 10 or 20 people with whom you think our work at Clapping Hands Farm would resonate, and who might like to support our scholarship program, please consider joining this effort!
- Chief bottle washer: we need someone to pick up loaned water bottles, wash them really well, and return them clean. It would be ideal for this to be someone coming to Tuesday Art Camp who could do it every week.
- Lost-and-found wrangler: we need someone to pick up a bin of lost-and-found lunch stuff, wash it all, and take it to a donation site. It would be awesome for this person to be on call for this duty on an occasional basis, but we particularly need it right now!
- Firewood brigade: we need to fill our wood shed with firewood for our winter art classes upstairs. This involves dragging branches out of the woods, throwing cut wood into the truck, and stacking it in the wood shed. If you have a CHAIN SAW, we could sure use you! A team of 4 people, one with a chain saw, can get a lot done in a few hours.
- Clean and organize at the farm: meet Louise or Mardi at the farm to deal with the piles and messes in various places! This involves lots of sorting, dispatching stuff to the dump or other locations, cleaning, and putting stuff away.
- Test projects: Louise has projects she would like to test for art camp during the month of December. She’s working from two books—one called Duct Tape Engineering, the other about making baskets and containers out of recycled materials. Picture painting corrugated cardboard, then cutting it into strips and making a large laundry-sized basket out of the colorful strips!
- Volunteer at our Tuesday Art Camp for homeschoolers: we have 20 campers coming every Tuesday from 9-3:30 to make art, explore outdoors, and make music together. It is very difficult to find counselors this time of year, so we have found adult volunteers to be our best resource for the one-on-one attention we like to provide to campers, as well as assisting teachers in leading projects. It’s fun!
overview of volunteer needs
Clapping Hands Farm is located 3/4 of a mile back from the paved road, on what was until recently a working farm. The mingling of cleared land, camp structures, and forest leaves us with continual upkeep chores, which have been known to include clearing barbed wire, building trails, taking down fences, pruning the orchard, cutting privet, bringing in firewood, poison ivy control, tick control, painting picnic tables, ETC! If you enjoy putting doing hands-on work outdoors, this is the volunteer group for you!
Beauty and Order
Since starting camp in 2000, we have expanded a LOT–in the areas of both camp supplies and space! We would love for our camp areas (the art shed, the shelter, the cabin, the office, the wood shed, etc) to be better organized, and for all our many camp supplies to be easily accessible to counselors and lead teachers during the camp week. If you enjoy tasks related to creating BEAUTY AND ORDER out of what some might call a “mess,” this is the place for you.
Camp Project Prep
This is Louise’s personal favorite: getting ready to make camp magic happen! We do TONS of creating during camp weeks, and we use a whole lot of natural and recycled items to make that happen. Tasks here may include: collecting bamboo, collecting wisteria, making play dough, making bubble soap, collecting cardboard boxes, and testing projects to make sure they work!
Clapping Hands is all about building connections between people, and one great way to do this is by attending fun family events around the area. We have hula hoopers, poets, singers, storytellers, and an awesome ukulele band, and we love to perform and meet people at events like First Sunday, Chatham Mills Farmers Market, Clydefest, Bynum Bridge Fest, Day of the Books, ETC! We can ALWAYS use volunteers to staff tables, pass out fliers, lead art projects, and (most importantly) meet people at these events!
By this point, it’s probably apparent how helpful volunteers are to Clapping Hands! And a totally crucial piece in the puzzle is linking potential volunteers up with specific jobs and needs we have. We would love to have “team leaders” that help coordinate specific volunteer crews. So, volunteer coordination is actually a volunteer opportunity unto itself. If you enjoy getting in touch with people, aligning schedules, and orienting people to new tasks, we’d love to have you help us out!
For an organization so committed to outdoor experiences, hands-on art projects, and person-to-person connections, there is an ASTONISHING amount of paper and computer work that goes on behind the scenes! It’s critical to making our programs run smoothly, and hopefully, for the right person, satisfying in its own right as well. Because this work builds upon itself and gets easier over time, we are looking for volunteers who can make a regular weekly commitment of 1-2 hours at minimum, or a bi-weekly commitment of 2+ hours.
Over the years, the Clapping Hands community has sustained a number of painful losses. We have campers who have lost a parent, and campers who have lost a sibling. Because of this, we have developed a vision of a Remembering Garden, a beautiful, interactive art installation in which to remember these people. This project is still in the visionary phase, but it is a priority for us; the goal is to make this happen in 2019 if at all possible. For this project, we welcome artists, visionaries, hands-on laborers, and anyone else who feels moved to participate.
Clapping Hands has a HUGE scholarship program and fundraising is essential to being able to maintain that program while at the same time keeping staff paid and Clapping Hands operations running smoothly. What’s more: when it’s going well, fundraising not only raises money, but is actually fun! We have four main fundraising efforts:
- Each fall, we launch a LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN. Volunteers host letter-writing parties, and attendees add personal notes to letters and send them to their friends and contacts.
- FUNDRAISING PARTIES are one of our most effective ways to raise money and make new connections. Volunteers HOST fundraising parties and invite their friends to come and support Clapping Hands and get a taste of camp at the same time. We talk about camp and especially about the scholarship program, provide entertainment (and children’s activities if appropriate), talk to guests, and raise a lot of money in the process.
- Each summer we run a CROWD FUNDING campaign. For this, volunteers are needed to create a video, create slideshows, and to spread the word to all of their friends and contacts via email and social media sites.
- Camp volunteers have sometimes introduced us to major donors, matching donors, or grants. These connections are invaluable.
If being any part of that process is appealing to you–writing letters to friends and family, hosting a letter-writing party in the fall, hosting a fundraising party, providing food for a fundraising party, helping run activities or provide entertainment at a fundraising party, putting together a video for our crowd funding campaign, or anything else we haven’t dreamed up yet–please sign up to help with fundraising!
Volunteering at Camp
Last but CERTAINLY not least, we can always use volunteers who’d like to help out at camp itself! Camp is a big, raucous party of arts and crafts and nature and games and friendship. Whether you have a special skill you’d like to share or you’d like to assist in a more support-oriented role, we’re excited to have you.VOLUNTEER FORM
“I’m HIGHLY impressed with everyone that either volunteers or works for Clapping Hands Farm. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for what you do with children and especially my daughter.”
—Morleen Steen, parent