“I volunteer because I love connecting with people rooted in the community, as well as those who are visiting the Ely area.”

Give the gift of time

The Ely Folk School is a well known local institution. Volunteerism with the Ely Folk School can help you build new social connections, as well as provide an opportunity for you to give back to our Ely area community.  

Our volunteers enjoy their experience

Ely Folk School volunteers donate their time for many reasons. Some simply enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, while others are drawn in by the opportunity to connect with others. Regardless of what brings them in, our volunteers appreciate knowing that their efforts support the teaching and learning that takes place at the Ely Folk School.

Share your experience

Another way to serve as an Ely Folk School ambassador is to tell your friends and family about your Ely Folk School experiences. Consider submitting positive reviews on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etcetera. You can also tag the Ely Folk School on relevant Facebook & Instagram posts.

How to volunteer

There are infinite ways to help. Review our suggested volunteer opportunities, but also consider your personal interests. We’d love to hear from you if you have an idea for how you can help us serve our mission to build community by providing learning experiences that celebrate the wilderness heritage, art, history, culture, and craft of the people of northern Minnesota.

If you are interested in volunteering you can start the conversation by emailing us at info@elyfolkschool.org.


  • Class host*
    • Every single Ely Folk School class benefits from the volunteerism of a class host. Hosts serve as an Ely Folk School representative present in both virtual and in-person classes; they welcome students, execute some basic tasks (such as securing signed liability waivers and photo releases), as well as monitor and track questions. Hosts answer basic questions about the Ely Folk School, and ensure all participants feel welcome. 
  • Home-stay host*
    • Lack of cost-effective lodging can be a barrier to instructors who are otherwise interested in teaching in-person classes. Volunteers with space to spare can support the Ely Folk School by offering to host instructors. 
  • Support our marketing efforts 
    • Do you like to write? Are you an amatuer photographer? Is video-editing one of your hobbies? Images and video clips from multiple sources enrich our social media presence. Our marketing team would love to include an essay written by you in our Sisu blog, or work with you to submit an op-ed about your Ely Folk School experience to a regional publication. 
  • Event planning & hosting
    • The Ely Folk School loves to serve its mission to build community by hosting events, but our staff must prioritize coordinating the class schedule. Locally-based volunteers can support the Ely Folk School by taking leadership on planning and hosting Ely Folk School sponsored events. 
  • Farmers market representative 
    • Support the Ely Folk School by representing us at the Ely Farmers Market. The Ely Farmers Market takes place on Tuesdays from 5:00pm to 7:00pm throughout the summer. 
  • Enhance the bottom line with your time
    • The Ely Folk School’s annual budget is supported by grants and fundraising. Our board is looking for volunteers to help with sourcing relevant grants, grant writing, and fundraising.
  • Help keep our facilities clean 
    • Join our cleaning Dream Team, offer to run garbage to the dump and/or recycling to the waste transfer site. 

Join the Ely Folk School Board of Directors

Ely Folk School board members are volunteers who give about 10 hours of their time each month to honor their fiduciary and policy responsibilities to our organization. Board members attend a monthly team meeting and a monthly board meeting to develop a strong understanding of the Ely Folk School mission, and thus advise our organization on how to best serve that mission.