Scenes from a Volunteer Mixer

This is the Laflin Building.

Laflin Building

It’s a fairly prominent facility–it’s in Lincoln Park, facing one of the major roads that boarders the park, and pretty much alone. The building once held the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum; in the late 1990s, the museum traded it with Lincoln Park Zoo for the museum’s current location, and the zoo now uses the Laflin Building for offices. I’ve seen it plenty of times, but never been inside until yesterday.

The occasion? A mixer for volunteers at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Zoo, and the Chicago History Museum.

It was a great time, organized by the Nature Museum’s fabulous volunteer coordinator Jill, as well as the volunteer coordinators at the other two institutions. (Who I’m sure are also fabulous, although I really didn’t meet them.) Nothing too complicated; a bit of food, a bit of conversation, some very cool historical photos from the three institutions, and a surprisingly cutthroat trivia game. (Which my group, ahem, won.)

It also gave an opportunity to learn about some of the other institutions — one of the zoo volunteers talked and shared photos from the enrichment activities they create for their animals. Also, my co-volunteer Claire won a stuffed panda.

Claire and stuffed panda

There was talk of naming it after me, although that may have just been party chat.

Obviously, this event didn’t have anything to do with marketing. But there are a couple of applicable lessons that, while not shockingly original, are worth repeating. One is the value of meeting new people. The other, the value of showing–rather than just telling, or claiming–people you appreciate them.

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