Volunteering at events

Volunteering at events

SUGGESTION: I volunteered at a recognized dressage show last year, and I found some of the other volunteers to be quite rude- treating me as if I did not know what was going on, etc. I myself ride, show and have volunteered before, so I am aware of the various volunteer duties. I am not the only person who has experienced this.

Perhaps people would be more likely to volunteer if some of the people involved were nicer. I want to see as many shows as possible in our area, but I will not volunteer at another recognized dressage show after my experience.

RESPONSE: This comment came as a surprise to us. We cannot recall receiving any derogatory comments about our volunteer staff at shows. Quite the contrary, actually. SEDA and the other show organizers in the area make a concerted effort to ensure that volunteers know that they are appreciated and valued. None of the events in our area would be able to happen without the small army of people who step in to make it possible. This is why volunteer appreciation gifts are offered, and, for SEDA’s part, our Volunteer of the Year awards. Unfortunately, no safeguards can be put in place to ensure that individual volunteers behave kindly toward each other. In the higher stress situations of recognized shows, it is possible that some toes may be stepped on or someone may be snapped at unintentionally as people run around trying to make sure everything is done correctly and all the bases are covered. If this occurs, it should be brought to the attention of show management or the volunteer coordinator for the event. Immediately. If an individual is subsequently found to have a history of being problematic, we can do our best to put them in positions where they may be less abrasive. Beyond that, try not to take it personally. Everyone has an off day, not everyone possesses a high level of tact, and the person may be truly just attempting to be helpful rather than mean spirited. And please, don’t let it stop you from volunteering – you really are appreciated!

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