The Historical Village has officially opened for the season. Everyday until Labor Day from 1:00 – 5:00pm a volunteer docent is there to unlock all the buildings and explain a bit about the valley to anyone who happens to stop by. There are handmade items in the museum shop for sale: quilts, embroidered pillow cases, pine needle baskets and cards. Today when I went over there were a few Canadian visitors meandering through the various buildings and a young child on the swing set. The grass was so soft and green it surprised me. The child looked completely happy urging her mom to push her again and again. It felt like summer had officially arrived although it is still only May. The seasons change. There are things to miss about our regular Fridays in the winter when we mostly had the Village to ourselves. But then there is the child so thoroughly enjoying her moment on the swing. The lawn which was treacherous with ice and snow just a few months ago is now this lovely carpet that begs you to sit down for a spell. Some good friends have left the community. Some new babies have been born. The seasons change.
Every Spring during mid May, second graders from the local school come to spend a day at the Historical Village. They learn how to make butter and wash laundry by hand. They ring the bell in the old school house and climb on the old caboose. They learn some about the valley’s history and they watch how people spin and weave. It’s a lovely day for them as they wander around the grounds and buildings talking to the volunteers, trying various things from a different time. And obviously it takes a lot of volunteers to teach the children all these things. There are people with specific skills like Cheryl who has her loom set up. And people with knowledge like Connie who patiently told each group of young ones about the Baney house. These folks were at the Village all day as gaggles of children came through. I was so pleased for the second graders that not only did they have such lovely weather to be outside but they got to spend the day with these community people who took the time to be with them.
I am putting together a talk about volunteering for the Montana Nonprofit Association and I can’t help but marvel at all that volunteers do to make our community thrive. In some ways I think volunteers are the glue in a community. It doesn’t matter what religion they are or which political party they vote for or how much money they might have in their savings account, each person who volunteers makes our community a better place. It’s that simple.