“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 absolutely love volunteers, and much of what we do would not be possible without them. We also have a lot of FUN working together! This summer, we have a set of particular needs based on our cancelation of our regular summer camps and our launch of an array of VIRTUAL programs! We also have a possible in-person volunteer option for a farm work day, likely either one-at-a-time or in tiny, socially distanced groups.
Explore and ponder, then sign up to help! We will be in touch with you promptly!VOLUNTEER FORM
specific current needs for ONLINE PROGRAMMING during Summer 2020, and LIMITED IN-PERSON WORK DAYS
- Help us run our weekly Community Gatherings on Zoom! We need a core team of volunteers to trade off planning these gatherings. If you feel inspired to help lead a gathering with the theme of Anything Goes, Show and Tell, Games, Dance Party, or Talent Sharing (more information on our Community Gatherings page here), please fill out our volunteer form and let us know!
- Help us run our Family Concerts on Zoom! If you would like to help us schedule performers, host these events, or work the technology side (more information on our Family Concerts page here), please fill out our volunteer form and let us know!
- Send fundraising letters: this is a really important way that CHF funds our scholarship program, which will still be in full-swing this summer as we grant scholarships to campers to attend our online summer workshops! We already have a beautiful fundraising letter ready to know–if you know 1 or 2 or 10 or 20 people with whom you think our work at CHF would resonate, and who might like to support our scholarship program, please consider joining this effort! You can personalize and send as many letters as you want!
We are just beginning to consider what it would look like to bring one or a few people out to Clapping Hands for a socially-distanced work day. We’ll provide more information as we have it, but if you feel inspired or have ideas for us about how this could work, please fill out our volunteer form or send us an email!
Our ongoing volunteer needs are listed below, along with an opportunity to sign up for monthly updates on our immediate needs for volunteers.
overview of GENERAL volunteer needs (to be resumed after COVID-19)
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