Al Ross spent a year catching up on all his jobs around the house after being employed for 22 years at Bristol Aerospace as a Process Planner. It was then that he realized a need for something new to do because he was retired from work, not life. A Metro One ad for a School Program Leader at FortWhyte caught his eye. He had no experience with public speaking, but loved the outdoors and enjoyed working with youth. After some training and shadowing, he soon fit comfortably into the new volunteer role of School Program Leader.
After 22 years of volunteering and leading over 700 school programs, Al still enjoys seeing the childrens’ excitement as they stop and watch a caterpillar inch across the path. His favorite school programs are “Getting Ready for Winter” and “People of the Prairies.” Al gets satisfaction from sharing his experience and helping the children learn the different ways that plants and animals cope with changing seasons. He has continued to learn about the connection between the people of Manitoba’s past and the prairie ecosystem during yearly update training with the education staff. Volunteers then share ideas and teaching techniques with each other and with new volunteers that shadow their programs. Al Ross is a calm, natural leader, ready with a good story and big smile. “Make everything a game,” Al says, “especially if you want the group to be quiet at the bird feeding station.”
“If you are thinking of volunteering at FortWhyte,” Al says, “Go for it! It’s wonderful to feel appreciated by the staff and you always have good resources to provide assistance for unforeseen questions or concerns.”
Because I’m retired from work, not life.
Because I have experience to share.
Because I like learning.
Because the exercise is good for me.
Because I’m appreciated!
...and because it’s fun!