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Why I Volunteer and My SVW Experiences

I have been volunteering with Vteam, my university's volunteering team, since the first year at university and I have been asked by them to share my experiences as it is Student Volunteering Week for the rest of the week. 

Over my experience of university, I have had many experiences of volunteering including at the Colchester Film Festival which I have done which is basically volunteering, knowing the schedule and marshalling people as well as watching films on some occasions which is the best of both worlds. 

Over the past couple of days, I have also been taking part in volunteering opportunities myself and although I had some bad experience as you will read later, the skills and enjoyable that I have had generally are a great way to get skills without having a job and you have fun too. 

So let's get started with my volunteering experiences...

Sunday 18th March: Junior Park Run 

For this volunteering opportunity I decided to help out at the Junior Park Run because although being an early start, I knew that by doing a couple of hours in the morning, then the whole day would be ahead of me. It is therefore great for when you want to do volunteering but you don't really have time which is great for everyone. 

So waking up at around 6am, I got ready to go to the park to help, which lead me to walk to the location quite early on a Sunday morning but I didn't mind as the weather was quite nice and the route was quite easy.

At around 9.30, we were told that we would be doing marshalling around the Junior Park Run which allowed us to monitor the children as they ran around the park in a mini-marathon type of thing. 

I really enjoyed my experience, it was just really lovely seeing the enthusiasm of the children as they ran in the run. I have to give them credit because there is no way that I would be able to do that at 9am in the morning. It was also nice to see the encouragement of the parents and there were dogs in the parks which made it even better.  

Monday 19th March: Shelley RDA

So on the next day, I decided to volunteer again which is kind of where it all went wrong but weirdly I still had a good time and trust me I will still be volunteering again. 

So it was another early morning, waking up a little bit later than I did on Sunday. I then saw that it was raining outside, not being scared of a little rain, I knew that would still go. 

It turned out that I went to the wrong place for pick up, so running across campus, I found the bus and got on, after having a little trouble opening the door and found that there were only two of us at ready for volunteering. Although a small number I still hoped that it would be a good day.

After the thirty minute drive, we finally got there and sorted out our stuff, I was advised to wear wellies but they didn't fit so I wore my boots, they were fine after a little wash in the washing machine, which did get slightly muddy but I was fine. 

The aim of the day was to find the plant, ragwort, and dig it up so it doesn't poison the horses. So let me set the scene, it was raining, it was a little cold and armed with gloves and things to dig out the ragwort, the five of us were on the hunt to find some to dig up. After a few fields where we didn't find any we finally found some!

After a couple of fields where they were in abundances we had some, I dug some myself. I wasn't really complaining, it was I it would be better had the weather been good but... It was also kind of fun, trying to find it although it did take some time.

After a couple of hours of searching, we were offered cake which was always fun and tea and the cake were really good so I can't complain. After lunch, we switched jobs and got to look at the centre which was cool as it is run by volunteers and gives them so therapy for horses. They also have a mechanic horse which is really cool and must be great for everyone who needs it. 

After this, we had other jobs included grooming horses which are kind of scary for me as I am a very small human being height wise and I feel intimidated by me. This leads the other volunteers to start grooming horses and I just watched from the sidelines and I started to sneeze... a lot. 

I was not really ill before at all, by being surrounded by hay and horses kind of freaked me out as I knew I had hay fever but I didn't think it would be a problem today... It's fair to say I was wrong...

I was then tasked with buffering the saddles which I was totally fine which is away from the hay and or horses and it was fine and was enjoyable. 

We then went for lunch which was totally fine. But it was after lunch that things got worse. Basically, I ended up grooming a horse, my sneezing got worse, I started wheezing heavily and ended up going inside which meant that my eye started swelling up and I was having trouble breathing. 

To cut the story short, I was having a localised allergic reaction to something, maybe the hay, maybe the horses that meant that I needed to go to a medical centre. I was OK, the medical centre gave me an antihistamine and I went home. The ironic thing was that I actually had fun combing the horse. It is safe to say that it will definitely be a memorable experience.  

Conclusion:

So if you are wondering whether I will be volunteering again, the answer is of course, yes but maybe I will just stay again from hay and/or horses. 

The thing about volunteering is that you can get experience whether this is marshalling, time management or just communication, these are still going to be great for you in the future. You can also get experiences that will last a lifetime, for better or for worse. 

Have you volunteered? Or would you like to volunteer after reading this post?

See you soon, 

Amy

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