Volunteers: lighting the bulb together
The Vision into Action (VIA) conference was a massive hit. When my co-coordinator, Sarah Broscombe, told me about the VIA conference, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to interact with new people who are already working for Save the Children and to get familiar with the operational side.
However, the two-day conference was a real revelation, not only allowing me to interact with volunteers from all over the country, but also revealing how vital volunteers are to an organisation like Save the Children.
The basic, echoing message of the conference was how raising money and creating awareness goes hand in hand with achieving Save the Children’s goals of providing children all over the world with a better, healthier life.
The conference was attended by more than 80 volunteers and 20 staff members. It began with talks from various speakers about what and how Save the Children is doing.
New friends and new ideas
I found that the most intriguing and exciting part of the conference was the ‘Rapid Fire Ideas Exchange’ – a concept loosely based on speed dating, where volunteers either listened or spoke to each other about the work they’re doing.
After switching seats every time the bell was rung. We ended up with dry throats, contact cards from fellow volunteers, 40 new friends and 40 new ideas.
Different workshops on awareness-raising, engaging new people and regional reflection time were also held during the conference.
One of the main agendas during the workshops was engaging new people. Luckily for me, falling in an age bracket which could be labelled ‘young’, I took the opportunity to explain my point of view on engaging the younger audience.
For me, a younger audience is equally enthusiastic to be part of our campaigns. All they need is some encouragement and some working opportunities which can be beneficial for them to develop their careers.
Lighting the bulb together
In the opening plenary, Nigel Briggs demonstrated how local shop members can light their shops without waiting for the health and safety team to arrive from the head office and change the bulb for them.
It’s not a single volunteer making things bright, but all the volunteers helping each other to light the bulb together. One is bringing the ladder, the other is holding the ladder while someone climbs up and changes it.
VIA was massive hit because in between all those sessions of workshops and talks, we volunteers got together over a cup of coffee or at the dinner table and discussed how we could help each other in lighting the bulb and making things brighter.