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Review for Out Of The Woodworks Productions, Woodbridge, VA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

My family has been involved with volunteering with OOTW Productions as cast members (my children) and just in over all help, either with various product contributions, financial contributions and labor/time contributions for several years now. This effort doesn’t end with the last faire day either. There is research, input into the show and how to improve things throughout the year. Also throughout the year there are volunteer opportunities whether it is a school event, a parade, site work, or whatever comes our way. As a parent, I’ve watched my children, age ranges from 7-18, grow as people, look forward to volunteering and searching out other volunteer opportunities due to their great experience with OOTW Productions. As a homeschooling family, I can’t even fully express how our experience with OOTW Productions has been an asset in our children’s education. Our children have learned public speaking skills, research skills, acting skills (with emphasis on improvisation), team work, how to have pride in one’s endeavors —giving 100%--, whether it’s doing the site work or the joy on a faire day interacting with patrons, a personal love of volunteering in the community, and they’ve even learned practical skills from the Elizabethan era from hand sewing, paper making, leather work, weaving, knitting, crocheting, basic archery, games, storytelling and creating those stories, and so much more. Our children have worked hard, and with enthusiasm, on their characters; uncountable hours of research, reading, observation and practice on and off season, to improve their knowledge base and performance. In turn, this has developed a great love of history and literature over all, and they see how everything that has happened is so intertwined with other parts of the world and spans all times, including today’s world. The camaraderie between the staff/cast and the patrons makes for a great experience all around. The staff/cast is like one big family, and the patrons are welcomed in as if they are long lost family members. When a patron walks through the gate, they get to have a unique experience of being drawn into the show (on the “street” or on a stage), or not, if they so desire, for an interactive learning and overall enjoyable day on a reasonably low budget. We have an eclectic selection of vendors, food, games, entertainment troupes(many are volunteers themselves), to go along with the volunteer staff (first aid/security, gate duty, clean up duty, parking duty, information and education…) and volunteer actors, where the need for both to have a “home” and so our patrons have a choice of activities, shopping and nourishment. We’re always working on improving the site to make it a more comfortable and attractive event for patrons, vendors, and volunteers, but it does take funds and time. Overall, I can’t think of a better place to volunteer as a family, and even if we weren’t on staff, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day in an interactive educational humorous way.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing how others, when learning facts and skills from the Elizabethan era, have that light-bulb moment and their eyes light up with enthusiasm to learn more.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

control the weather LOL.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

watching mine and other children (and adults even) grow as people and see that learning can be, and is, so out of the box and outside of a textbook.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

like family.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand its educational opportunities, improve the site for a more comfortable experience for both patrons and staff, and take the financial burden off of the volunteers who not only donate their time, but their own money.

Ways to make it better...

it wasn't such a financial strain on our family.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the limited funds/donations and volunteers that can do improvements on the site so we can expand, we are just slowly.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Volunteer & My minor children have been, and continue to be, volunteer cast members for several years now. I also assist where, and when, I am able.