Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – “How much did you get paid?”

Name: Xavier Antonio Strong
From: Miramar, Florida
Grade: 11th grade
School: Miramar Highschool
Votes: 0

“How much did you get paid?”-Xavier Strong

Often after describing my volunteer experiences with others they ask, “How
much did you get paid?” To which I usually respond with “Nothing
it was volunteer work.” In my essay today, however, I’m going to
explain how much I really got paid, and no it wasn’t cash. My first
answer to the question is “a lot!” Although many people don’t
realize, volunteer work pays great, just not in cash. My volunteer
work has serviced me as much as I have serviced the community. From
my volunteer work I’ve had valuable experiences that have taught me
creativity, responsibility, the need to service our community, and
most importantly self-accountability.

Volunteering at Star camp as a camp counselor taught me creativity and
responsibility. As a camp counselor I was expected to deal with, take
care of, and help children. This put a load of responsibility on my
shoulders to which I rose to accept. I put in a tremendous amount of
time at star camp as a camp counselor, I spent two summers and at
least 40 hours a week volunteering, not because I was forced to like
many of my friends, but because I wanted to. I wanted to help out the
camp that I went to from kindergarten till eighth grade, so that the
kids attending the camp could have as enriching an experience as I
did. At first making decisions on my own about what do with my group
of campers, and how to keep them behaved was difficult. After a
couple weeks I was coming up with new ways to keep my group
entertained and using old tricks to make sure that they were behaving
and soon other counselors were asking me for advice and to help them
handle situations. Volunteering at Star camp taught me the pressure
of responsibility and the need for creativity.

After Star camp, my volunteer work as a junior lifeguard at CB Smith Park
paid me in lessons of self-accountability and the need for service in
our community. Volunteering at CB Smith Park was closer to a real job
where self-accountability was a huge lesson. I didn’t have the
family relationship I had with the counselors at Star camp, so if I
failed I failed by myself. The amount of appreciation shown by the
patrons I helped and the lifeguards whose job I made run smoother
made me realize that the community needs volunteer workers to help
grease the gears and make life run smoother.

These volunteer experiences have helped me move forward in attaining my
goals. My position as a junior lifeguard helped me get my lifeguard
certification and save lives. In 20 years I’m sure my experiences
as a counselor will help me as a university professor. I’m positive
my volunteer work now has helped shape children’s minds in a
positive manner. So the next time someone asks me how much I got
paid, I’ll say, “my future.”

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