Our Man Says…

Over at the very excellent VSO blog our man in cameroon Steve has posted about the recent thank you from VSO to all volunteers for curing world hunger, poverty and the like.

You should check out the original post which is very balanced but here, totally out of context, is one of my favourite bits:

Doesn’t this seem like an excellent opportunity to send something heartfelt rather than a badly laid out set of cliches from a person who doesn’t even say what their position in VSO is (I checked on the website and Googled but was none the wiser).

I don’t want fawning and I don’t want to be patronised but it would be nice to think that I am part of something bigger.  It would be fantastic to hear a little of the achievements that we volunteers have made this year. I would like to hear how that fits in with VSO’s future.

Excellent stuff.

Why Do VSO?

As I was pondering what to put in this post another intriguing post popped up on the same blog regarding Apprentice nutcase Lucinda Ledgerwood apparently going off to do VSO in India.

Steve tracks down an interview Lucinda did with PA in which she gives her reasons for volunteering as:

“I’m going first of all because, obviously, our climate at the moment is not great in the UK and as a management consultant the work’s simply not there. Secondly needing to stretch and develop my skills.

“I got to the top of where I needed and wanted to get to within my work place and there was no where really left to go.”

Genius. As Our Man rightly then points out, on this basis a new tagline for VSO could be:

VSO – for when there’s nowhere really left to go

Check out the original post here

I’ve always said VSO should consider the following to attract new applicants:

  • Can’t get paid for it? Volunteer instead.
  • Court case looming? Why not volunteer in a non-extradition country.

Volunteers’ Week

Which brings me back to the aforementioned volunteers’ week.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s all very worthy and admirable stuff and I would be the last person to discourage anyone from volunteering but some of the areas seem to be stretching it a bit.

Such as defence volunteering to name one. I quote:

While the Territorial Army figures prominently in defence-related volunteering, it is not the only game in town.

Erm. Well. Now there was me thinking the TA did two weeks a year, or whatever, on regular army pay. By this token the regular army is a voluntary service (we don’t have conscription so they are indeed all volunteers). In fact, any job or task for which you are not required by law do perform would be voluntary.

Not a prisoner? Congratulations and well done for volunteering.

There are a range of other items such as faith-based volunteering on the site as well that I shan’t comment on other than to say I’m a bit surprised VSO would want to lump itself into the same pot.

The basic premise seems to be volunteer – it’s good. One of the areas listed is “political volunteering”. Surprisingly the example given is someone who helped Obama’s campaign rather than a door-to-door BNP canvasser.

Anyway have a look yourself, if only for the Britains-most-Wanted-alikes on the front page (only joking).


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