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As a moderator, I'm often trying to figure out what forum to put certain threads in...and in in the case of internships/volunteering/work exchanges/etc, I really don't know the distinctions and differenences. I figure I'm probably not the only one.

I'd like to make this thread a wiki for those trying to discern the differences...but I don't know them!

Can you help?


Here's what I've got so far (with links to the forums about such things):

Volunteering: Volunteers do not get paid and do not expect anything in return. There is often room & board, though.
  • Volunteering Forum: For discussing volunteering
  • Volunteer Forum: For those that want to volunteer.
  • Volunteer Offering Forum: For those that want to host volunteers.


  • WWOOFing/helpxing/worktrading: the first 2 are just specific organizations linking people to hosts, ie facilitating work exchanges. WWOOF stands for a few things, depending on the organization; here's some of the terms "Working Weekends On Organic Farms," "World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms," "Willing Workers On Organic Farms". The normal arrangement is room and board in exchange for 20-35h per week. Time frames are often 2-3 weeks. WOOF is supposed to be farms as hosts, Helpx more flexible. There are other sites as well.  
  • WWOOFing Forum: For discussing WWOOFing in general
  • WWOOFers Forum: For people who want to WWOOF
  • WWOOF Hosts Forum: For those who want to host WWOOFers


  • Work Trade: Person works in exchange for room and/or board, and maybe a small stipend.
  • Jobs Wanted Forum:For those looking for either a typical job, or a work trade
  • Jobs Offered Forum: For those offering both typical jobs, as well as work trades.



  • Internship/Apprenticeship: Work in exchange for training and education. Apprentices often get pay, while Interns usually do not get paid.
    Internship & Apprenticeships Forum: For those offering internships/apprenticeships, as well as those seeking them.


    Jobs: Get paid a legal wage for doing contracted work.
  • Jobs Wanted Forum:For those looking for either a typical job, or a work trade
  • Jobs Offered Forum: For those offering both typical jobs, as well as work trades.



  • We also have a Careers Forum: For those discussing long-term work/jobs, usually ones that require skill, training &/or passion.


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    pollinator
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    Volunteering: doing something for someone else without getting paid.

    WOOFing/helpxing/worktrading: the first 2 are just specific organizations linking people to hosts, ie facilitating work exchanges. The normal arrangement is room and board in exchange for 20-35h per week. Time frames are often 2-3 weeks. WOOF is supposed to be farms as hosts, Helpx more flexible. There are other sites as well.

    Interning and apprenticing seem to be used fairly similarly. The implications are generally a longer commitment, at least a few months, and a fair bit of learning. Some are paid positions. Some you pay to be there.. there is probably some technical distinction, but the people using the terms don't seem to know it!
     
    master steward
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    I spent the last 6 or 7 years of my professional life working with volunteers.

    Like Dillon said "doing something for someone else without getting paid."  Though some of the ones I worked with were given some benefits that amounted to about $300 to $500 a month if money had changed hands. Something similar to "The normal arrangement is room and board in exchange for 20-35h per week"

    Until I looked it up I had no idea what a woofer was.  It sounded like a helper to me though the definition is very specific.

    When I think of Interns, I think of someone being given the opportunity to learn the job while working for free.

    Apprentice in many trades is someone who is learning a trade or skill while working for lower wages.
     
    gardener
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    As someone looking for these, I see the differences like this:

    -Volunteers do not get paid and do not expect anything in return.
    -Work-Trade is usually time spent doing work in exchange for non-monetary rewards, like food and housing.
    -Internships are usually more "professional" and might range from being purely volunteer work to work-trade to getting money in return. I find the distinction of internships to be more of who is providing the opportunity than what the conditions for said experiences are.
    -Apprenticeships, in my mind, are typically geared towards some type of career path and involve someone more experienced and well-known in a field taking the time to train someone less experienced. The exchange here is typically getting the chance to learn from someone so amazing.
     
    Dillon Nichols
    pollinator
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    I mean, I dont see this current version as wrong per se, but it seems to result in too many forums.

    I guess the main gripe I have with all these nuanced forums is that when I have an opportunity it could readily be described as at least 4 things needing to be in 4 forums. I think this isn't uncommon; if I'm looking for labour, it could take many forms. I'd certainly have a Helpx ad up, I'd be seeking longer term worktrade arrangments, I would be open to tenants with a mobile dwelling  paying rent in either cash or work, and if 'volunteers' sometimes get room and board you could slot it in there as well...

    Often things on permies do end up in multiple places. It's not my favorite from a browsing perspective, but perhaps as it's the way things are working here, this aspect is a feature not a bug?
     
    Posts: 307
    Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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    Wwoof.org, ic.org, craigslist/volunteers, lots of other "connection" sites all have specific requirements and uses and purposes, ….according to the folks that established them. But what I have found from many years of having folks come to our farm from any of these, is that no matter how people find us they're all pretty much the same. Wwoof'ing (for example) is "supposed" to provide a way for people to make short visits, learn some and move on. But what actually happens is each person does what is best for themselves. Some stay long, some only short, some come and go. It's the same with all of the people from the different sites. The sites are just a way to connect. They are rarely the perfect and intended way to connect, for the people using them. The sites just happen to be the way the seekers happen to find in order to connect.  The individuals do as they and the hosts wish (no matter what the site says you are supposed to do).
     
    master steward
    Posts: 10008
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    Dillon Nichols wrote:I mean, I dont see this current version as wrong per se, but it seems to result in too many forums.

    I guess the main gripe I have with all these nuanced forums is that when I have an opportunity it could readily be described as at least 4 things needing to be in 4 forums. I think this isn't uncommon; if I'm looking for labour, it could take many forms. I'd certainly have a Helpx ad up, I'd be seeking longer term worktrade arrangements, I would be open to tenants with a mobile dwelling  paying rent in either cash or work, and if 'volunteers' sometimes get room and board you could slot it in there as well...

    Often things on permies do end up in multiple places. It's not my favorite from a browsing perspective, but perhaps as it's the way things are working here, this aspect is a feature not a bug?



    We're actually working on trying to make the Experiences forum more "user friendly." Years back there was only one forum for ALL of these threads, the wwoof/organic farm volunteers/interns/jobs forum. It was really hard for people to wade through ALL the different types of threads in the forum, so it was decided to split it up...but since there were SO MANY threads in "wwoof/organic farm volunteers/interns/jobs" forum, it would have taken hours and hours and hours to put all those threads into the new forums...And, well, "ain't nobody got time for that!"

    I can tell you honestly that it would take hours and hours to sort through all the threads (THOUSANDS of threads) in that forum, because that's what I've been doing for the past week: sorting the old threads into the "new" forums. I've sorted through 1,000 threads now, and I'm only 1/5 done. As I've worked my way through the forum, I've noted there's a lot more of, say, volunteer opportunities than there are apprenticeships/internships or jobs offered. So--before the newer forums were made--if someone only wanted to find paying jobs, they'd have to wade through a pages of results to find those threads. It wasn't terribly user-friendly.

    But, I don't know how user-friendly the Experiences category is now. Since many of us moderators don't really use the forum, we don't know how easy it IS to use.

    We do really try to add threads to all the forums that they fit in, so it's easier for someone who's looking for an opportunity to find it. But, it's harder to do this because a moderator has to spot the posting and add it to the forum, and it's easier to spot things that have replies...and threads in the Experiences forum don't usually have too many replies to bump them, and they're often started by people very new to permies and who don't know they can "report" a post to get it added to new forums.

    Anyways, this is all to say we're actively trying to make this forum shine.

    If you (both Dillion and anyone else reading this) could re-work the Experience category's forums, what would you have them be? What would be the easiest for you to use? What forum organization would make the most sense for you?
     
    Dillon Nichols
    pollinator
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    My ideal method for this is probablying not practical from an implementation perspective. I'd love to have all the worktrade, wwoof, volunteer, and jobs lumped into 'positions wanted' and 'positions offered', but with a lot of granularity; people posting would tick boxes for 'volunteer', 'work-trade', 'internship', 'paid internship', 'employment', and provide searchable location information.

    ..of course, once you do that, you're now in the same line of work as Helpx, wwoof, etc...


    More doable option? Consolidate volunteer, wwoof, and worktrade into one set of offered, wanted, discuss forums, as already mentioned there is a lot of blur in practice.

    Im torn about throwing internships/apprenticeships into the same bin, but from a user perspective, if its not included there it should definitely be split into wanted/offered as it's miserable to browse when both are mixed.
     
    Nicole Alderman
    master steward
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    The  internships/apprenticeships forum is actually only a day old. I made it yesterday as I was sorting though the wwoof/organic farm volunteers/interns/jobs forum. We're currently planning on turning the wwoof/organic farm volunteers/interns/jobs forum into a Landshare Opportunities forum, as those types of threads currently have no where really good to go.

    Anyway, what if every volunteer oportunity, WWOOF host, work exchange, internships ALSO got put in the Jobs Offered forum? That way, those that only looking to volunteer could find those opportunities, but those open to more possiblities could see everything in one forum?

    And, all the volunteers/interns/WWOOFers/etc would also have their posts posted in the Jobs Wanted forum? That way those looking for a broad range of applicants could find them easily, and those that only want, say, interns could find them easily?

    Of course, this would require constant effort on the part of 1 or more moderators, kind of like our review grids do, but I'm thinking I might be able to remember to keep doing it.

    I do think that combining WWOOFing and Volunteering into one forum might be a good idea, (1) because there aren't that many threads in them, and (2) they're kind of vaguely named forums. If we do keep them separate, we're going to need some sort of better defined names..but what?
     
    Dillon Nichols
    pollinator
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    It's not just vaguely defined names.. we could get real specific and nail down perfect definitions for all these terms.. but in meat space they're all blurred together anyhow.

    Even 'apprenticeship', which has a very clear and quite specific meaning outside permie circles here in Canada, is hopelessly vague within them. Every half-baked homesteader evidently feels entitled to offer an apprenticeship, even if the only thing they're qualified to teach is a doctorate level course in How Not To Homestead with a special emphasis on Poor Impulse Control.
     
    steward
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    To restate what others have explained a bit above, if you are operating legally and within labor laws, in the U.S. these definitions apply:

    internship - a position offered that is affiliated with an accredited educational institution for which the intern receives course credit. Interns often take more time being educated/trained than being a productive worker.

    apprenticeship - a position offered that is affiliated with a registered or licensed trade association or organization (such as carpenter's union, biodynamic farming group, etc.). Apprentices typically follow a specific outline of learning trade skills (sort of like a curriculum, only more hands-on, trade school type skills) and might be tested at the end.

    Many, many homesteaders and farmers call their helpers "interns" or "apprentices" and it does not fit the actual legal definition of what that means in terms of labor laws.

    Bullock Brothers Homestead dodges using these terms by calling their summer learners/helpers "skill builders," and at wheaton labs we have had "gappers" (people Goofy About Permaculture) in the past, and now have "boots" in our permaculture bootcamp.


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    Looks great! My feedback while having the various categories to organize the individual posts is great but if I wanted to see say all of the posts in community when I click community it just shows the other categories. So really it can be both. On CR when you click community it shows all the posts under the various categories in community and then if you want to browse one specific category you have that option. Sometimes the specific category isn't as important as the date posted if you are looking for current posts or have a time sensitive need.

    Also just a note that WWOOFing is very different than a work trade where that a work trade is defined time for pay or boarding where as a WWOOF host we offer food and boarding as a means for people to obtain experiences not a means for labor. It's more of a cultural exchange and very different than a work trade.
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Trinity Outpost wrote:My feedback while having the various categories to organize the individual posts is great but if I wanted to see say all of the posts in community when I click community it just shows the other categories. So really it can be both. On CR when you click community it shows all the posts under the various categories in community and then if you want to browse one specific category you have that option. Sometimes the specific category isn't as important as the date posted if you are looking for current posts or have a time sensitive need.



    I was about to say, "That's how it works! When I click on the Experiences category it shows all the posts from all the forums under it." And then I thought "Maybe mobile view is different?" So, I switched to mobile view, and you're right! Going to category only shows the forums in the category, not all the posts within it! ACK! If you scroll to the bottom of your screen, you can click "desktop view" and you'll be able to see what you're wanting. And, I'll add this to our list of things that needs to get fixed with the mobile view.  Thank you!
     
    Trinity Outpost
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    Yep! So I forgot I had been using the mobile app living off grid that is my computer lol
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Not a problem! We've recently realized that almost 50% of permies are now accessing it via their mobile devices/cell phones. It's one of the reasons we're actively trying to create a better mobile version...or even just one version that can seamlessly adjust for various screen sizes.
     
    Posts: 61
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    From my experience it seems that what most farm/homestead/community type places are looking for is people to come and help out, hopefully learn something, and probably not get paid. I've seen all these terms used to attempt to describe this exchange. I appreciate Jocelyn's post that clarifies the legal definitions because that was always something that bothered me when I saw places throwing around those terms.

    Do you think many people use this site to find true volunteer opportunities where there isn't even camping/meals provided? It seems like you'd get more of that from your local community and people looking online would be needing at least a place to pitch a tent. Maybe if your project is close to a larger metro population.

    Seems like most places will take whatever help they can get and you can call it whatever you want.

    -WY
     
    Dillon Nichols
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    Trinity Outpost wrote:Looks great! My feedback while having the various categories to organize the individual posts is great but if I wanted to see say all of the posts in community when I click community it just shows the other categories. So really it can be both. On CR when you click community it shows all the posts under the various categories in community and then if you want to browse one specific category you have that option. Sometimes the specific category isn't as important as the date posted if you are looking for current posts or have a time sensitive need.

    Also just a note that WWOOFing is very different than a work trade where that a work trade is defined time for pay or boarding where as a WWOOF host we offer food and boarding as a means for people to obtain experiences not a means for labor. It's more of a cultural exchange and very different than a work trade.



    Perhaps this is an important legal distinction. OTOH, the sorts of experiences that WWOOFing provides often look a lot like work... and it's a little hard to see what's in it for the host, if these experiences aren't quite... work-adjacent, say.

    Also... what does the second 'W' in the acronym stand for if not 'workers'?
     
    gardener
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    I’m going to get a bit dreamy here, and add this:

    As a young person, my relationships with mentors have been very important. Our culture has definitely evolved away from certain traditions, and I think that we have lost an important element in doing away with master-apprentice relationships. They provide a sense of self within our community and also some element of rite of passage that is rare these days.  I think that the bond between mentor and apprentice is really special, and hard to describe. We as people are usually more open to guidance from an adult who is not our parents. I think that being a mentor and/or educator brings people into a new stage of life and ways of thinking as well.

    In the context of the bigger picture these relationships are important because of the passage of time and the passing of responsibilities from one generation to the next. In my area, I see a lot of retirements on the horizon. Farmers, beekeepers, arborists, etc. There is a big and valid concern of who will take their place. Some have trained replacements, including me, but the loss will still be big. Even at my age I’ve already decided that I want to be more organized someday when I pass the torch, so I’ve started to involve myself with teaching a local youth group about permaculture, food forestry, and natural beekeeping.

    To me, the definitions of intern, apprentice, and volunteer are less important than the actual relationships and knowledge passed on. I want to take this time to thank my mentors, teachers, and friends
     
    Dillon Nichols
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    James Landreth wrote:I’m going to get a bit dreamy here, and add this:

    As a young person, my relationships with mentors have been very important. Our culture has definitely evolved away from certain traditions, and I think that we have lost an important element in doing away with master-apprentice relationships. They provide a sense of self within our community and also some element of rite of passage that is rare these days.  I think that the bond between mentor and apprentice is really special, and hard to describe. We as people are usually more open to guidance from an adult who is not our parents. I think that being a mentor and/or educator brings people into a new stage of life and ways of thinking as well.

    In the context of the bigger picture these relationships are important because of the passage of time and the passing of responsibilities from one generation to the next. In my area, I see a lot of retirements on the horizon. Farmers, beekeepers, arborists, etc. There is a big and valid concern of who will take their place. Some have trained replacements, including me, but the loss will still be big. Even at my age I’ve already decided that I want to be more organized someday when I pass the torch, so I’ve started to involve myself with teaching a local youth group about permaculture, food forestry, and natural beekeeping.

    To me, the definitions of intern, apprentice, and volunteer are less important than the actual relationships and knowledge passed on. I want to take this time to thank my mentors, teachers, and friends




    This is both good and nice to hear. My own experiences while interning, wwoofing, worktrading, etc have never yielded up such an individual.

    I like to think I learned a lot anyhow, but sometimes it feels like I have invested in a library of books with titles like 'Precisely How Not To Do The Thing', 'The Overachiever's Guide to Overreaching', and 'Type 1 Errors: How to Stack Them'!
     
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