Giving New Meaning to Family FUN

August 16, 2011 at 9:25 am Leave a comment

Emilly, working at the archaeology cart.

We have FUN at Fernbank. Literally. We have a group of about 60 youth volunteers that are members of the FUN (Fernbank Ultimate Naturalist) guild. Of those sixty volunteers, you might notice 3 seem to have a lot in common (beyond those bright blue t-shirts).

Meet the Bunce Girls, or as I like to see it, the closest Fernbank will ever get to a girl band: Leslie (17), Emily (15) and Shellie (12). All are members of FUN and are daughters of Fernbank’s Human Resources Coordinator, Lisa Bunce.

The girls transitioned into the FUN program after they outgrew Fernbank’s summer camp. They all started out attending Fernbank’s summer camp and shortly after they outgrew that program, they became FUN volunteers.

And no, Lisa didn’t make them become FUN volunteers (really, I asked). “I did encourage them to join [FUN], but no. I didn’t make them. They all loved summer camp so much and the museum in general, it just made sense for them to continue to be involved.”

Like all FUN volunteers, the girls support the Museum in a variety of roles – from providing critical support during busy Museum event days, to providing one-on-one learning opportunities for guests at one of 3 science-themed carts.

Shellie, as the youngest, is the most recent to join FUN (this is her first summer in this role), but is quickly catching on. At least, when she has a chance to talk. When I asked Shellie what her favorite part about being a FUN volunteer was, older sister Leslie jokingly answered “Not working with her sisters, so she has a chance to talk.” (Note: Shellie did not disagree with that comment.)

Leslie (left) and Shellie (right) took time from working a cart to pose with Giggy.

While this is Shellie’s first summer, it will also be Leslie’s last. She will be a senior in high school this year and will (for lack of a better phrase) outgrow FUN.

Emily plans to continue with the program as long as she can. “It looks good on a college application,” she said with a grin.

When not FUN-ning it up at Fernbank, Leslie enjoys being a member of her school’s color guard with the marching band. Emily enjoys reading and hanging out with friends. Shellie likes to spend her free time reading and writing. (Perhaps we can get her to author a future blog post?)

For Lisa, almost every summer day is a “bring your daughter(s) to work day.” But she doesn’t mind. “They’re good kids. I don’t worry about them,” she said.  And she shouldn’t.

“They are all dependable, reliable, and fun to be around. And through the course of the program, they have been able to help with extra programs,” remarked FUN program supervisor Kristy Richardson.

All comments I can agree on. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Leslie and Emily at event days, and most recently helping to stuff the 5,000+ eggs for last April’s Dinosaur Egg Hunt. And I was able to get to know Shellie while she was attending summer camp over the years. I can tell you, they are fun—in every sense of the word.

We will begin accepting applications for the 2012 FUN program next spring. To receive a notification when that process begins, be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter.

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing


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At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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