Why Volunteer?

Why volunteer as a young adult? James shares some thoughts about what you might gain from volunteering, and what skills you might you be able to take from ATE specifically to help you make your decision:

I don’t really like being the bearers of bad news, in fact I think it’s pretty miserable, but it’s difficult to avoid the current economic climate, especially when we’re talking about young adults. The majority of our staff sit between the 17-25 age bracket – by no means the only victims of ongoing financial difficulties but definitely some of the hardest hit.

This probably all sounds a bit serious and that’s because it is. Jobs are difficult to get at the best of times but in recent years the levels of competition for every single opportunity has risen.

Could volunteering be the answer?

You won’t be surprised to hear that from a financial point of view the answer is obviously no. Whilst volunteering can provide you with a lot of things (more on those later), financial remuneration is not one of them. Every organisation that asks for volunteers is different but we reckon the vast majority of them would love to pay their volunteers if they could!

However, what volunteering can definitely offer you is a chance to experience things you might not otherwise have the opportunity to take part in through employment. It also lets you be involved with something that you’re genuinely passionate about (at least that’s the idea).

You might be looking to gain experience in a certain field or investigate something as part of a career decision-making process. That’s sort of a long way of saying you might just want to try something out. You might want to use some of your spare time ‘productively’, you might even just want to get out of the house for a bit.

So with that in mind, what might you gain from ATE?

Confidence, responsibility, time-keeping (ideally), experience of working with/understanding/caring for children, team-work, ability to deal with sustained pressure, the chance to try out new ideas, the chance to add to an organisation that is always growing, tips from professionals, tips from enthusiastic non-professionals, enough material to turn you into one incredible babysitter… you get the picture.

The other people that really care about our Monitor volunteers are the parents of the children. We spoke to one parent about how using volunteers as opposed to paid staff makes her feel and this is what she had to say;

You have to be a bit mad to volunteer to spend all that time with children and not get paid. And that’s a good thing. Usually only relatives do that. Maybe that’s why the monitors seem more like older cousins. I have huge respect for volunteers both on Superweeks and behind the scenes. I’d much rather send my children on a holiday where the staff are volunteers and the organisation is an Educational Trust because I know that the volunteers believe in what Superweeks are all about, understand the benefits for them as well as the children which can’t be measured in financial terms, and are really keen to be there, and because being a bit mad is good.”  – Josephine Henderson, Superweek mum

We’re never going to be able to make an exhaustive list because everyone’s different. The best things that I have gained from ATE might be skills you already had in abundance before you came but I think we all end up taking what we need to from it.

If you’re unsure about training, or about volunteering in general then all I can do is urge you to go for it.

You can read more about it here and get in touch with the office should you have any questions.


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