Published: 22 August 2018
We introduced this at Sagittarius last year – allowing everyone to have a paid day volunteering and doing something for “the greater good”
So, why is this selfish? Let me explain…
I have volunteered with RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) for the last 10 years – every July my best mate (she is an Instructor) and I go up to Gloucestershire for a long weekend to help at the National Championships hosted at Hartpury Agriculture College and University - it's a privilege on so many levels to be able to get involved with this event and these people.
I first volunteered in 2006 and at the last moment I broke a leg (horse related incident) and the job of " runner" looked like it might be tricky for me, so we swapped our job to Scorer’s - this involved hanging around the scorers cabin and writing scores upon the board in the prize giving tents. The cushiest job at the Nationals as we actually only did five minutes of work per hour and we got to watch the dressage and the show jumping from the stands most of the day.
Occasionally, we had to answer questions and explain scores and placings to the waiting competitors - but this was the best bit really - helping them understand what they had achieved and how good they should feel about this. The surge of emotions and pride watching riders and families achieve and overcome, enjoy and compete stays with me every year – rain or shine!
The opportunity to volunteer at RDA every year is such a life lesson to me - it makes me feel humble and lucky, ungracious and spoilt as well as happy and positive about life - we see the best in people at this event - people from every walk of life, with every range of physical and mental limitations - working together to achieve something. We never see tears and tantrums, blame or unacceptance.
The team spirit and camaraderie is amazing to watch – us “ground crew” integrating with the riders and their families (many of which are non-horsey – let’s not forget this is often therapy for them, and respite) It reminds me about some of our core values here – collaboration, being remarkable, humble and helpful, and innovation – you would not believe how inventive we have to be sometimes – e.g. how do you explain to a blind rider about riding a perfect circle when she can’t see the markers? And how to communicate differently with riders that just don’t quite see the world the same way I do.
Thank you Sagittarius for giving me the day off, paid, to do this and thank you RDA for including me in this - you have no idea how important it is to me and what a difference it makes to my life. I can only begin to conceive the difference it makes to the riders and their support teams.
Everyone has the ability to make a difference – our CSR days are designed to help you grow as a person – learn stuff that you may not come across in a digital agency world, and to learn about yourself as well as others. You can do this individually or a small team. It's great for us as a business too, it's good to put something back into our communities.
It is selfish….. as it will make you feel good about yourself – trust me on this.