Reliving History at Living History Farms

 Living History Farms Whether or not you’re a history buff, at some point you’ve probably wondered what it would have been like if you had been born in another time period. But we’re here to tell you that that doesn’t have to be just a daydream. Recreating historical lifestyles is exactly what Living History Farms, an outdoor museum in Iowa, is doing. With live people and lots of land, they’re completely redefining the phrase “history repeats itself.”

Living History Farms’ own history started back in 1970. The 500-acre interactive museum is located in Urbandale, Iowa. Since it’s founding, it has worked to educate, entertain, and connect people of all ages to Midwestern rural life experiences. Using both staff members and volunteers, different time periods are recreated to demonstrate a variety of lived lifestyles from the year 1700 to present day. Within this huge outdoor museum, visitors can view an Ioway Indian Farm from 1700, an 1850 Pioneer Farm, a 1900 Horse-powered farm and a small rural town dated 1875.

“VolunteerLocal has been such a gift.”

In the year 2016, we know how important agriculture is. These recreations of the past are a powerful wayLiving History Farms to enrich public understanding and to engage conversation about the significance of past and present issues in agricultural and rural life. The Living History Farms offer a safe (and not to mention gorgeous) place for individuals, families, and groups from all over the world to view change through time.

For Jan Milroy, Manager of Volunteer Services at Living History Farms, there are a lot of favorite times to enjoy. “I love our historic special events, such as suffrage debates taken from real historical documents between two women. Or our recreation of an 1850 pioneer wedding, including a dance and a special cake! Halloween nights are also a special opportunity for families to trick-or-treat safely, and allows them to view our museum and enjoy our uniqueness.”

“I strongly recommend this to others. I’ll never go back to my old system.”

Living History FarmsBefore switching to VolunteerLocal, Living History Farms was using somewhat prehistoric methods for scheduling volunteers. “I was spending hours upon hours emailing or calling potential volunteers. Often we’d go back and forth and they might end up not getting the slot they wanted,” says Milroy. “Having VolunteerLocal allows potential volunteers to decide on their own, whenever they want and how they would like to participate.”

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to make a change and view changes in time. Sign up now to help with Halloween night!

Photos courtesy of Living History Farms

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Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

Ask anyone who has ever attended Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and they’ll probably agree: it’s an unforgettable experience.

BonnarooOver the course of this four-day event, Great Stage Park (the name of the festival site) becomes the eighth largest city in the state of Tennessee – and a veritable township blossoms in the General Admission campground. Amidst a sea of tents and tarps, flags are hoisted high, lifelong friendships are forged, and the deep reverberations of bass guitar, the rhythmic pounding of drums, and the soulful echo of vocalists can be heard all through the day and night.

“We work year round to watch thousands of people come together and enjoy a complete experience. Not just the bands on stages, but the food, the campgrounds, the artwork, even the new flushable toilets, but especially the people all make this an incredible time.” – James Shinault, Vice President of Festival Projects and Fan Experience at AC Entertainment

A ticket to Bonnaroo grants attendees access to performances by world-class comedians and mega-stars in the music industry, alongside exclusive (early) showings of movies in the Cinema Tent, local artists in Centeroo, and many other miscellaneous attractions (an iconic fountain, a Christmas Barn and a Broo’ers Festival). The Bonnaroovian Code encourages all attendees to “radiate positivity” – and the good folks at AC Entertainment (aka the production wizards behind Bonnaroo) make that pretty easy.

AC Entertainment is internationally recognized as an innovative leader in creating, producing, booking, and marketing first-class live entertainment experiences. James Shinault is the Vice President of Festival Projects and Fan Experience.Bonnaroo

“My job centers around making sure that our festivals are being executed at the highest level while maintaining a set budget and ensuring that our fans have an amazing time,” says Shinault. “A big part of that deals with fan interaction, which is where our volunteers come in.”

Each year, almost 2,500 volunteers participate in helping to make Bonnaroo the phenomenal experience that has become for so many. “Volunteers are extremely important to Bonnaroo because they are often times the most fan facing part of the event,” says Shinault. “They are some of the first people you interact with when you enter the site and they can be seen on each and every corner of the site ensuring that our fans are having a great time.”

“VolunteerLocal essentially acts as a one-stop shop for everything that I need to recruit the volunteers, organize them, and communicate with them.”

For a job this big, Shinault and his team trusted VolunteerLocal. “I’ve used pretty much every basic form of online recruiting from Google Forms and spreadsheets to just emailing to sign up, and I’ve even used other volunteer management softwares,” he explains. “VolunteerLocal is by far the most organized, consumer friendly, seamless way I’ve found for online recruiting of volunteers.”

We’re definitely feeling the love, too – Bonnaroo has become something of an annual company retreat here at VolunteerLocal. Look out for the #HappyVolunteering flag in Guest Camping next year!

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Meet Scott McBride

Hello there! Scott McBride here, freshly returned from Fort Worth, Texas to Des Moines, Iowa to spread the good news that is VolunteerLocal. And I’ll tell you what – I’m pumped, y’all!

A graduate of Iowa State University, I’ve traversed an eclectic road to VolunteerLocal: a former electronic component sales guy, a forever camp counselor and even a receptionist (aka front desk attendant).

I’m a big fan of being literate and I love to read. I also love to cartoon, draw caricatures and illustrate. If you see me I’ll probably have ink on my fingers, just letting you know! I also enjoy cooking, spending time with my family and serving as a human jungle-gym for my two year-old nephew, Ben.

If you’d like a demo of VolunteerLocal or you have any questions about the functionality of the product, I’m your guy. You can shoot me an email at scott@volunteerlocal or call directly at (515) 608-4711. I look forward to working with you!

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The Detroit (Rocks!) Marathon

Detroit Rock CitySome of us (we won’t name names) are old enough to remember when KISS came out with their hit song, “Detroit Rock City.” But Gene Simmons isn’t the only one that thinks Detroit rocks. As the lead singer says, “Get up, everybody’s gonna move their feet.” And that is exactly what our friends over at the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon have been doing.

In 1978 Neal Shine, the managing editor of the Detroit Free Press, watched the Falmouth Road Race and was overwhelmed by the event. He suggested that the newspaper sponsor a similar event in Detroit, where he knew such a race would benefit the city. And that was how things got (rock ‘n’) rolling, eventually growing into Michigan’s largest road race.

“We often like to refer to the third week in October as, ‘Detroit’s Marathon Weekend,’” says Leah Yanuszeski, Digital Director of the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon. “Meaning it’s not just an event for runners. It’s an event in Detroit, about Detroit, for Detroit.”

Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank MarathonThe marathon involves multiple distance events, including a marathon, half marathon, disabilities & relay divisions, 5k walk/run, and a Kids Fun Run. The course goes through many different neighborhoods, where residents come out to cheer and support the thousands of runners passing by. That foot traffic impacts the city economically, bringing in waves of athletes, family and friends to Detroit each year.

Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon

The all-encompassing event embraces participants not only from Michigan, but from across the globe. It also welcomes elite runners and casual walkers alike (it’s been called one of the 10 best events for first-time marathoners by Rodale Publishing). One of their secrets to managing that amount of activity? Volunteers.

Each year, the Detroit Marathon has over 3,500 of volunteers putting their best feet forward. And they’re all run through VolunteerLocal. “VolunteerLocal has kept our volunteer lists and information organized and handy,” says Yanuszeski. “It’s a great resource for our staff, and helps us to easily see how far along we are in recruiting volunteers each year.”

You might not be a fan of rock music, but few things rock harder than volunteers. Sign up to become a Detroit Marathon volunteer and get a free t-shirt, an invite to a post-race volunteer thank you party, plenty of free smiles and high-fives from the race participants, and more.


Photos courtesy of YouTube, Detroit Free Press, and Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon

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Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series

ROCK N ROLL MARATHON-LWReady, set, Rock ‘n’ Roll!

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is a one-of-a-kind running festival experience. The concept behind this series began as a simple, fun idea: what if the race director could book live bands to perform along the course as runners passed? Perhaps the finish line, too?

The year was 1998 and the first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was born. It was an unforgettable experience, a huge hit amongst both runners and artists in San Diego, CA – and something that decidedly could be scaled and shared with other runners around the world. Today, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series produces 5k races, half-marathons and full marathons in more than 30 cities annually – including Las Vegas, Chicago, Nashville, Washington DC, Madrid and Mexico City. The finish line concerts feature hugely popular artists such as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Goo Goo Dolls and Train. We’d run a marathon to see those shows! Well, we’d try.

RocknRoll“While entertainment and the energy of a festival weekend define the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series experience, runners have raised more than $310 million for participating charities shows our heart and soul,” the website reads.

In addition to the impressive charitable component to each race, these events also rely heavily on the helping hands of local, community volunteers. For this, the team at Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon trusted VolunteerLocal.

The volunteer coordinator can easily manage multiple events at once – and with most of these marathons recruiting volunteers concurrently, the task of ensuring jobs and shifts are filled to capacity is almost nonexistent.

Interested in signing up to volunteer for an upcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon? Peruse those opportunities here – and happy volunteering!

Oh – and rock on!

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Governor’s Ball Music Festival

The subway is packed, the buses are full, and even the water ferries keel and tow with fired-up music lovers. They’re wearing purple lipstick and neon sunglasses, carrying LED hula-hoops and giant beach balls, gleefully interspersed between the usual pedestrian traffic. It’s an open invitation, a shock of color and vibrancy, a reminder that “you’re doing great.”

Credit: Paraiso Adventures
Credit: Paraiso Adventures

It’s festival season in the city that never sleeps – and Randall’s Island in Manhattan is host to the largest of them all: Governors Ball Music Festival.

Complete with four stages, 60+ musical acts, local food vendors and beer tents, mini golf and (why not?) a fun-sized Statue of Liberty, this massive gathering promises attendees the weekend of a lifetime and “an endless supply of high fives!” Governors Ball has become an annual urban celebration of music, sparkling lights and bodies in motion – and to make things even more magical, this event is produced in the heart of Manhattan.

“It’s awesome to have a festival in the middle of New York City,” says Sami Slovy, Volunteer Coordinator at Governors Ball NYC. “The line-up is extremely well curated and the festival always puts a huge focus on the attendee experience.”

Now heading into its seventh year, ‘Gov Ball’ (as it is affectionately coined) is a logistical feat that requires the administrative prowess of many talented staffers like Sami Slovy, in addition to approximately 500 volunteers – all of whom Slovy directly oversees.

“[VolunteerLocal] is a user-friendly, sophisticated software that was customizable for our needs at Governors Ball.” – Sami Slovy, Volunteer Coordinator at Governors Ball Music Festival in NYC

“Volunteers are critical to the festival,” explains Slovy. “They put so much in – they’re awesome. Our volunteers are extremely hard working, dedicated and motivated. They’re driven.”

Credit: Paraiso Adventures
Credit: Paraiso Adventures

She adds, “They want everybody to experience a great time at the festival.”

We can relate. Prior to VolunteerLocal, Slovy and her team at Governors Ball managed volunteers using several third party organizing tools. “It was very extensive and extremely tedious,” says Slovy. “We saved hours by switching to VolunteerLocal.”

Slovy leverages the credit card processing tool to collect application fees (and temporary deposits) from her volunteers at the time of registration. No usernames, no passwords, and a single-step signup process have kept her volunteers happy – and the on-site check-in/out tool keeps Slovy informed on-site.

We at VolunteerLocal are special fans of the Gov Ball Gives Back program – an initiative of the festival in conjunction with New York area nonprofits. This program provides an opportunity for New Yorkers to volunteer at local food banks, kitchens and public parks to earn their free GA ticket to the festival.

Volunteers receive a free t-shirt, ticket to the festival and a “rocking good time.” If that sounds like a good deal to you, the 2017 Gov Ball dates have been released – and the volunteer registration will go live next spring. Happy volunteering!

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Ice Cream Cones, Hamburgers, and the Akron Marathon

You might not know it, but a lot of great things have come out of Akron, Ohio. Oatmeal, the waffle ice cream cone, caramel corn, and the legendary hamburger are all said to have originated in the city. Even more impressive (and exponentially healthier): the Akron Marathon.

Akron MarathonThe Akron Marathon is a world-class race organization that puts on The Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. The three races in the series are The National Interstate 8k & 1 mile, The Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k, and the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay. The race was founded by avid runners Steve and Jeannine Marks. While traveling the country for various races and marathons, they noticed the need for a marathon in their area. Akron had a lot to offer and the founders knew that the community would embrace the opportunity to come together on the race track.Akron Marathon

The marathon is widely known for its devoted and encouraging supporters. “We would never be able to give our runners the race experience they’ve come to know and love without the support of our community,” says Katie Kline, Project Manager for the Akron Marathon. “People come out at 7am to cheer on runners they’ve never met in their life and never will.” With 13,000 runners, 2,000 volunteers, and over 100,000 spectators, the race is a way to unify the community, promote health and fitness, stimulate the local economy, and benefit charitable organizations.

Before using VolunteerLocal, that community was managed by using a volunteer platform that was a shoot off of Akron Marathon’s runner registration platform. The platform worked but wasn’t easy to navigate and didn’t allow for volunteers to see or update their registration. “Since moving to VolunteerLocal, we have gotten so much positive feedback from our volunteers on how easy it is to register and view their profiles,” says Kline. “As the main user of VolunteerLocal for our organization, I cannot say enough nice things. The system is user friendly and intuitive.”

“I’ve been amazed at how much time VolunteerLocal has saved me over the last two years. I would absolutely recommend this system to anyone who manages large groups of volunteers.”

Feeling energized and ready to join the community? Find volunteer opportunities for the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon and more.


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How To Get Happy (Volunteering)

As you’ve probably heard, our motto is happy volunteering. And that’s not just because we’re positive people (have you seen these hundred watt smiles?). We want to make volunteering as easy as possible for our volunteer coordinators and volunteers alike. That’s why we created our Happy Volunteering page, where vivacious volunteers can find nearby volunteer opportunities in their state.

Happy VolunteeringReady to have your events listed on our happy site? We’ve made that pretty easy, too. To get started, go to Account in your navigation bar, and select Organization Info. Hit the link to upload your logo, which will appear above your organization’s name on the Happy Volunteering page.

Now that you have your selfie in order, shoot us an email with a list of your live events, and their locations. We’ll assign them from our end to make sure they show up under the right state. When a volunteer clicks on your organization on the Happy Volunteering page, it will take them directly to your public landing page. You can list your events on your public landing page by going to Event Detail (under Events -> Your Events).

It’s as sweet and simple as that! Got questions, or want your events listed? Shoot Lucy an email at, and get happy!


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