Volunteers on our adult residentials
So far I have been on two holidays, one to Blackpool and one to the Isle of Wight. Both have been great fun. Although I was nervous before I started as I wasn’t sure what to expect, as soon as I got onto the minibus on the first day and met the staff and my first holiday-makers, I soon felt at ease. There is a really friendly and excited atmosphere, with everyone looking forward to the week ahead.
Whilst on the holidays everybody stayed in one big house. In Blackpool we were on a small farm and in the Isle of Wight we stayed in a national trust property by the sea. Both had their own kitchens and living rooms and were very comfortable.
Whilst away, it was important that the holiday makers had the holiday that they wanted, and not the one we wanted for them, meaning which activities we did was up to them. Most nights we all had a chat after dinner about what everybody would like to do the next day and made sure everyone was happy with the plan. This might mean that the group split up some days to do different activities. Some popular activities on the trips I went on were going to the zoo, a castle, Madame Tussaudes, a football stadium, going on a steam train or a boat ride or even just doing some shopping or having a trip to the pub. It really is lovely to see how much everybody enjoys themselves and I have to say I enjoy most of the activities myself too.
The element of choice was important for what we ate on the holiday as well. The holiday-makers decided themselves what meals they wanted to eat and we all went to the supermarket together at the start of the holiday to get the weeks food. We tried to get the holiday-makers to cook the meals themselves too, with a little help from us. Some were very capable in the kitchen, others were novices, but everyone had a good time helping and felt a sense of achievement for a job well done.
I had a really good time on my holidays, and genuinely enjoyed meeting both staff and holiday-makers alike. But that’s not to say it wasn’t tiring. Your attention is in demand pretty much all day every day, so your enthusiasm has to have stamina, especially when some people enjoy telling you the same jokes or stories quite a lot. You also need to be patient, sometimes someone won’t understand why they can’t do something they want to do straight away, or two of the holiday makers might not get on too well, or someone might just be tired or hungry and therefore just be a bit grumpy. However, if you keep positive and upbeat, most problems will tend to resolve themselves with a bit of encouragement, and just in case there’s something you think you can’t handle, there is always a staff member nearby to ask for help.
Volunteering with Yellow Sub really is a fun and rewarding way to spend a week and I would definitely recommend it. I’ve already signed up to my next holiday!