When I learned how to cross-stitch many years ago, I was told that the back side of a canvas should look almost as beautiful as the front side.
The theory is that if a piece of work is chaotic on the side that no one is supposed to see, that will be reflected on the side of the canvas that is finished and framed.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about our epic project to prepare all of our data and records to be imported into Salesforce, which will help us be much more efficient and accurate in tracking dozens of active volunteers and dozens more in the process of becoming part of Braid teams.
This project that has occupied so many hours of my recent weeks is definitely the “back side” of our operations at Braid, and at times I have wondered if it was worthy of so much effort.
I wish I could spend all day every day doing the front-facing aspects of this work: hosting monthly All-Braid events, leading trainings, speaking at events and organizations to recruit new volunteers, launching teams, catching up with all of our amazing team members.
But I know that tending to administrative details behind the scenes is equally important to our work. Keeping good records is part of honoring our faithful volunteers’ commitment, and it is essential for keeping our youth safe.
We love hearing about and seeing photos from our mentors’ weekly outings with their youth, but we know that our volunteers do a lot of work behind the scenes as well.
Behind every great mentor outing is a lot of comparing schedules, trading texts and emails about details, arranging transportation, and juggling other commitments to make your Braid work possible.
Behind every great mentor team is a facilitator who has been helping arrange these organizational aspects, and who checks in with the team regularly and to lend support and make sure that everything on the reverse side of their work is running as smoothly as possible.
These are not the moments that our youth sees. These are not the moments that we share in Instagram. But that lesson from embroidery applies here as well: if a piece of work is chaotic on the side that no one is supposed to see, that will be reflected on the side that they can see.
Good communication and organization and collaboration in our mentor teams will translate to our youth (and, unfortunately, the opposite is true as well).
We are grateful for all of our mentors’ attention to these less glamorous aspects of being part of a team.