A few days ago, we attended a training course for campsite stewards. For a VERY popular festival which takes place nearby at the end of June most years. (Forgive me being slightly cryptic, I don't want to be sued here).
Our local primary school supplies volunteer stewards each year, in return for a substantial contribution to our PTFA fund. These placements are in great demand and you have to be in the parents' Circle of Trust to be invited.
This has never bothered me in the past, as I had no desire to return to the festival after my toilet experience of 2003. I won't go into detail, you just need to know that it involved sunglasses, me being drunk, a portaloo, lots of wet wipes and an early exit from the festival. It all taught me that I was too old for these shenanigans. A brief return to the genre at Camp Bestival last summer just reinforced my decision.
So, I'm not sure how Husband and I ended up sitting in a sports club hall for three hours at the weekend. I think that I was touched that we were asked and that someone had considered us in their summer plans. Something like that. And we would be mad to turn down free tickets to the main music event of the year, wouldn't we? Even if we had to walk around a campsite for a few hours, wearing a fluorescent tabard and a smile. It would still be worth it. Right?
Er, not sure. There were fifty of us locals, all of a certain age, all linked in some way to local schools. That was the only thing we had in common. As there was so much information to disseminate in a relatively short space of time, the trainer had hit upon the excellent idea of splitting us into twelve groups and asking us to present on certain topics.
You need to bear in mind that the majority of the delegates had not presented or spoken in public before. This made translation of the important messages a little difficult, but here's what I learned:
1. The busy time for campsites is arrival and exit times.
2. It sometimes rains. Bring wellies.
3. Interact with the Public. Smile. (This may be my biggest challenge).
4. When someone is shouting at you, don't look them in the eye - it may turn to violence.
5. Disability means that some people may be in wheelchairs.
6. If someone has a heart attack, radio for help before filling in the Incident Form.
7. Learn the hand signals. (This one resulted in us signalling Attention, Medical Emergency, Fire and Violence to the tune of The Village People's 'YMCA'. A truly surreal moment in a surreal morning).
8. If you find a lost child, 'Don't touch 'em, right, don't touch 'em. You can ask for their name, right, but don't touch 'em. Just ask them their name and ask them where their parents are to'.
9. If someone is suffering from sunburn, put them in the shade.
10. If you are escorting a vehicle through a crowd, don't walk in front of it. It may run you over.
11. If you see an unattended fire, smaller than a waste paper basket, stamp on it with your foot.
12. If the fire is bigger than a waste paper basket, you may need to call the Fire Brigade.
There didn't appear to be a test at the end of the training, just biscuits. So I guess I'm in. See you all in June. I'll be the one in the fluorescent tabard, scowling behind the toilets.
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2 days ago