Some volunteer events are just plain fun. When I signed up to volunteer at Snowy Nights, I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
I arrived at the Memphis Botanic Gardens around 6:00 in the evening and knew that I’d be spending the evening outdoors, so I made sure to wear my warmest coat. It seemed that all of the volunteers arrived at the same time and filed into the warm lobby to receive their assignments for the night. I’ve been through the gardens in the day time, but it’s an entirely different experience when the entire area is transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland. As we were escorted through the garden, people peeled away in small groups and headed for their stations. Eventually it was down to just two of us and the volunteer leader asked for my name. When I replied, he said “OH! You’re the Snow Queen!” I’m the what? “Let me get your costume.” Costume?! He quickly returned with a bag marked “Snow Queen” but I still hadn’t quite registered what he was telling me. Then I started laughing.
I dropped the warm coat and then donned the regal Snow Queen costume: a long white dress with a hoop bottom, hand warmers, and a white hood. This was definitely the weirdest thing I’d done so far this month.
Once I got dressed, they handed me a basket of snowflake candy and escorted me to the Snowflake Forest.
As the kids arrived at the Snowflake Forest, my job was to introduce myself as the Snowflake Queen and instruct the visitors to count the snowflakes hidden in the forest. Countless parents wanted their children to have pictures with the Snow Queen in her throne.
I got snot on me at least twice, candy cane goo once, and I had one kid look at me and shriek with terror. All in all a pretty successful night. Overall the little kids loved it and the big kids got a kick out of it too. When I invited my friend Ben and his new fiancé Jamey to stop by, I thought I would be meeting her for the first time while I was making s’mores or running the giant light brite. When Ben and I bumped into each other, I’m not sure who laughed harder.
I have to admit that I felt pretty ridiculous at first, but after the first few kids came through, I really warmed up to the idea. After each kid went through the forest, they would proudly run out and tell me how many snowflakes they found in order to earn a piece of candy. Inevitably, the older kids would ask how many snowflakes were hidden in the trees. I would look side to side and then crouch down and lower my voice. “Can you keep a secret?” I’d ask. Incredibly, they all responded the same way – they’d move in, wide -eyed and nod intently. I whispered the answer to them and they’d exchange looks and exclaim, “That’s so many!” By the end of the evening, I was having a lot of fun.
If you ever dreamed of being a princess in the Disney parade, this is the perfect gig for you. Can you also build fires, make s’mores, manage the hot chocolate, run the giant snow globe or work at the giant light brite. If you’re looking for a fun volunteer experience for yourself, as a couple, or with your kids, this would be a great fit!
How to Help
Attend the event or volunteer to help! Contact Page McCoy to volunteer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snowy Nights Friday and Saturday November 23-December 15. Daily December 17-29 from 6:00-8:30 pm. Closed December 20, 24 & 25.