Why did I decide to volunteer with Friends of the Rappahannock? The short answer is, because my mother told me to. FOR was the perfect volunteer opportunity for me. It was nearby, focused on water, and most importantly, it was a volunteer thing which would look good on college applications. If you ask any high school age kid why they started volunteering somewhere, this will be the reason they tell you. However if you ask them why they continued to volunteer somewhere, you will get a much better answer. So, why did I continue volunteering at FOR?

Volunteers Shelby Warrellman, right, and Ben Raterman relocate a mounting pole for a river gauge, part of FOR’s new, live-streaming River Safety Cam.

I continued volunteering at FOR because I liked it. When I am at an outreach event, I talk to people of all ages and walks of life about things that I am interested in. How awesome is it that these people let me babble on about aquatic life, and they are interested in what I am saying? That’s normally an audience I only have at home. Even after this year’s public outreach events ended, I have continued to volunteer simply because I enjoy it. I never know what the day holds for me when I come to volunteer at FOR. I could be catching bugs, helping dig a ditch, fill in the ditch, clean up the path, paddle out across the river to retrieve a rope, or even go on a kayaking trip. No matter what I do when I am with FOR, I leave feeling like I have accomplished something big. That is not a feeling I could get by sitting at home on the couch watching TV.

By Shelby Warrellman, FOR Volunteer

Colonial Forge High School Class of 2017

Coastal Carolina University Class of 2021