(Multiple birds, actually.) I volunteered at this event because I think it’s great to foster curiosity (and learning) in children (and everyone).
Also, let’s get real. It was pirate themed, and I really wanted to wear some super cool pirate accessories.
It never dawned on me that I might be doing anything with animals!
As the coordinator of the event led me out to where my post would be, she dropped me off at the exotic birds exhibit.
Usually, I like to go with the flow and be a good little volunteer, but you know, animals.
So, I tried to ask as politely as I could, “uh, is there perhaps anywhere else I can go? I’m not that great with animals.”
As sweet and helpful as the volunteer coordinator was, I could see she didn’t want to have to start moving people based on preferences. She told me I wouldn’t have to touch any animals; I could just help corral people if the exhibit got too crowded.
Sure enough, there ended up not really being a line to corral as the bird expert game out from the gazebo and made it easy for medium-sized crowds to all be engaged with birds at once as he spread birds out throughout the area.
And who do you think he used to help with that? Ah yes, the volunteers assigned to the exotic birds gazebo got to hold birds and help put the birds on other people.
He was respectful of my fear and all, but when he asked if I wouldn’t mind helping, I took a deep breath and did it. (The night wasn’t about me, and it didn’t want to make it so.)
Usually, I think my fear of animals is pretty okay, because I find it very logical and sane. Why do I want to hang out with things that can pee on me at any moment, and much more importantly could turn on me any moment? I don’t see the upside in hanging with animals. So, I don’t see the downside in being afraid.
However, I saw this one girl who was very afraid. And while I always think I come off cool and logical when I stay away from animals, when I saw someone else in that role, I saw that she didn’t necessarily seem super cool. She kind of just seemed afraid.
So she inspired me to try to be cool. In the words of that Jason Robert Brown song, I’m not afraid of anything! (Or, at least I tried not to be today.)
And that basically covers it. Holding birds. Being cool. Helping out. (And I actually learned a bit about bird. Plus, bonus – I got to lead a second of a round in the show later. Anytime I get to sing, I’m pretty much on top of the world.)
It’s always a great day when I get to push myself (as I did with the live animals). I left feeling invigorated! *high fives all around*