Monday, December 3, 2018

2018 Volunteering Wrap Up

This weekend I volunteered probably for the last time this calendar year, at Loch Moy's Donation Derby. The event took place over those three giant arenas Charlie and I schooled last week, and all the competitors were dressed to the nines in all manner of Christmas decorations. Bells, tinsel, reindeer antlers, elf shoes, horse body paint.... You name it, we saw it!.

Each arena was filled with mostly cross country jumps, but a few stadium jumps too. My role was super easy: I was positioned as a steward in the middle of the three rings, which just had two stadium jumps. My job was to reset dropped rails, adjust the heights for each level, and also to clear out the poles and itsy cross rails from the first ground pole division.

one of my volunteer prizes from Sara this year. hard to express just how much i love this calendar!
It was a super fun event, everyone seemed to have a blast. And it seemed like the perfect way to cap off my busiest year of event volunteering to date.

this does not include the 5 schooling shows i volunteered for at my own barn 
As you may remember, Sara from Roaming Rider hosted a Volunteer Challenge this year. Participants were encouraged on a monthly and quarterly basis to get out and give back at every opportunity that presented itself, in any capacity.

Turns out, it was just the nudge I needed to take this activity I've always enjoyed a little more seriously. I honestly really enjoy being at horse shows. I love the atmosphere, love the vibes. It's just a great feeling being out there to watch so many riders go and Do the Things with their horses lol.

dressage scribin, yo!
Originally I planned to volunteer in some capacity at least once each in 7 of the 12 month calendar year, and ended up getting closer to 10 of 12. It's hard to remember exactly bc the small schooling dressage shows and the starter trials at my own barn weren't organized through the USEA Volunteer Dashboard, so I can't actually remember those details lol.

Suffice it to say, tho, that it ended up being a lot of hours. All told, I spent the equivalent of two full time work weeks volunteering in 2018. This included spending time in a lot of new roles, learning about different classes. Like the FEH and YEH classes, and the cross country vet box at FEI events.

 the two purple boxes add up to my total hours for the year, plus the hours from the 5 shows not reflected thru the dashboard
The most prolific volunteers across the country accumulated many, many more hours than I did lol. The folks at the top of the leaderboards had at least 100+ hrs each, and included folks in roles like EMT, unpaid judge, or TD. The Top 10 nationally had a cumulative total of nearly 2,000 hrs, otherwise known as almost a full year's worth of work. 

But I was still pretty proud to end the year toward the top of some lists. There are different rankings categories, tho I'm not sure each category has any actual recognition associated with it.

jump judgin, yo!
Actually, from what I can tell from my research, there's very little recognition associated with any volunteering outside of like, the Top 10 nationally. Tho the top prize is a pretty substantial chunk of change, I believe.

If it were up to me, I'd probably argue that it'd be more valuable to spread the love a little farther - even if it's just with like, t-shirts or hats or something lol. But nobody asked me ;)

just this, again and again and again
I'm satisfied enough to look at that rankings board and feel like maybe I made a difference at events this year. In an ideal world, my hopes as a volunteer are twofold:

-One is to help organizers feel less stressed and more.... organized lol, so that they continue to want to offer so many awesome events.

- and Two is to help facilitate positive, fun experiences for riders and their horses. Whether this is helping calm their nerves and answer their questions in the warm up ring, or even just taking careful clear notes as a scribe or jump judge.

More than anything, tho, I really enjoyed getting out to so many events this past year and learning so much more about the machinations of how these events work. Hopefully next year will include a lot of volunteer opportunities too. Actually there are still a couple more areas within the realm of event planning and design that I'm interested in pursuing additional educational opportunities.

So we'll see what happens. For now, it's a wrap on the 2018 volunteer year!!


20 comments:

  1. Hell yeah, lady! Way to get out there and make such a big difference this year.

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  2. Way to go! That's super impressive! I think the more seasoned volunteers organizers can get, the better. Takes so much stress off of them! It's great you got to play with so many different roles. That definitely makes it fun and is invaluable experience!

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    1. definitely invaluable, it also actually taught me a lot about which aspects of events interest me the most from an organizational or volunteer perspective! more to come there, perhaps, too haha

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  3. I always feel like I learn so much every time I scribe an event. I should totally do more jump judging, though. So my dogs can come along and enjoy a day outside. Haha!

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    1. yes plz sign up for more jump judging!! it's not my favorite personally except it's MUCH better with friends ;)

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  4. Holy cow!! That's quite a few hours! way to go

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    1. spread out over the course of the year, it was very doable!

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  5. Good for you. As a rider I am guilty for people like you.

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    1. it's honestly super rewarding too!! there isn't really a single day i've regretted spending the time at a show!

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  6. I’m glad you love the calendar still :) Thanks for taking the challenge to heart. Without people like you these events couldn’t run.

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    1. that calendar is seriously the best - what an inspired idea!

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  7. Amazing work, thank you so much for volunteering at these events!

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    1. thanks! of course i love being a competitor at events too, but volunteering is a great second choice ;)

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  8. Girl you were on fire this year when it came to volunteering!

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  9. Ooh, this post is convincting...I'm going to have to find ways to help out in my area!

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    1. if you're interested in helping out at horse trials (no prior experience necessary!) and are located in the States, the USEA has a really excellent volunteer portal. you don't need to be a member to create an account, and from there it's really easy to search for volunteer opportunities by area. there's also a mobile app that you can use to "check in" and "check out" once you're actually at the event to record your hours.

      that's how i sign up for most of my events, and that's also the source of the screen shots above with the rankings and hours recorded etc.

      https://www.eventingvolunteers.com/volunteer

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