Volunteering can make a World of Difference
This week’s blog posts are brought to you by volunteers who are supporting local play projects involved in the Free Time Consortium’s ‘Get Involved in Play’ programme funded by the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund. We want to celebrate the amazing work done by the volunteers – children, parents and grandparents – who Love Outdoor Play. And, as this week is National Volunteer’s Week, what better opportunity to showcase their efforts and to say thank you. We hope you enjoy their stories and they motivate you to get involved in your local play project and support Love Outdoor Play!
Guest post by Daniel Best.
When I started my placement with Vodafone Foundation’s World of Difference to deliver a John Muir Award for Play England. I was hoping the experiences I was organising would make a difference to the young and old adventurers participating in these first hand nature experiences, which make up the award.
We are hoping their involvement and participation in these project will:
- Develop a greater understanding and awareness of the natural world around them.
- Develop a connection or relationship with the natural world around them.
- Breakdown barriers and raise awareness of local wild places, were they can visit and play.
What I hadn’t really thought about, was how this opportunity would affect me and change my outlook on life and work etc. I have always had a passion and drive to get children and people outside connecting with nature, because what is the point of conserving wildlife if we are not informing and involving people to appreciate it?
As a result of this placement, it has made be realise not only that I am capable of doing more through the knowledge developed through organising this project, which has had me delivering an outdoor skill workshop at a national play conference: Explore.Play.Connect or social media skills for example in writing blog posts and tweeting. This in turn, has boosted my self-esteem and confidence.
And now I find myself in the exciting but scary position of setting myself up as a freelance environmental playworker educator, under the name of Sylvan Adventures. This is something which I have been thinking of for along time but been worried to take the step, however, this placement has given me the strength and drive to try. Instead of worrying about it failing, I have come to think I will kick myself later if I don’t give it a go.
Finally, I am also only in this lucky position of delivering the John Muir Award project because I have done voluntary work for other charities and organisations.
Daniel Best volunteers at Play Torbay.