Being nominated for any award is an honor, but especially one that focuses on helping others in the community. Every year, the Edina Community Foundation honors volunteers who work with kids as part of their Connecting With Kids initiative. This year, Beth Swanson was one of the honorees, nominated by Annie Schilling, an Edina resident and scout master in the community.
Schilling and Swanson first began working together and cultivating their relationship at Edina’s Historic Cahill School. They worked together to teach field-trip classes and create the curriculum for the summer camps. They still work together on creating living history presentations throughout the Twin Cities. “Working with Beth is always rewarding. She brings out the best in my own abilities. This community is truly better with Beth Swanson’s generous and caring engagement,” Schilling says.
Schilling decided to nominate Swanson for the Connecting With Kids award because she sees a dedication and devotion within Swanson to help all young people she works with to learn. “I have seen time and time again Beth adeptly, calmly and brilliantly lead youth to make lasting connections in history, in leadership and in self confidence,” Schilling says.
Schilling admires Swanson’s ability to research and learn about the subjects she is teaching to both children and adults. She is prepared to answer questions, give more information as necessary and encourage others to continue to learn on their own time and explore subjects they feel passionate about. “Each detail is meticulously studied. No stone is left unturned,” Schilling says.
Swanson is said to be able to build strong relationships and form bonds with the children she is working with because she is inviting and encouraging and allows the children to explore and learn in their own way. She remains calm in stressful moments and allows everyone to express themselves in a way they feel comfortable doing. She never asks for anything in return. She willingly shares with others and genuinely enjoys helping kids.
“Beth has given her gifts to thousands of children while most often offering these gifts for no pay. Her dedication to guiding children through volunteerism is astounding. She is amazingly generous with her time, knowledge and leadership. She has truly made a remarkable difference in thousands of children’s lives,” Schilling says.