In June 2018, Olga Hansen retired as an Inspector from Police Scotland after 30 years of service. It was not long after her retirement that Olga decided that she wanted to work with children and young people and later discovered Over The Wall and its camps in Fife and Perth.
“It was actually through the Retired Police Officers Association of Scotland (RPOAS) newsletter that I discovered Over The Wall,” says Olga. “They had publicised the need for volunteers and explained how Over The Wall were actively seeking more mature candidates. I was seeking new opportunities and experiences, so the idea of camp appealed to me. It was something different and I knew it would challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone!”
“I’m so glad I did apply, as camp was a unique experience. I was able to see the children arrive as shy and reserved people but as camp progresses, they gradually blossom, gain confidence and make friends. You witness them having more and more fun before completely coming out of themselves, singing, dancing and wearing face paint. As a first-time volunteer I went through a similar process and as the week progresses you become engulfed in the camp fun!”
The camp Olga attended was for six nights, however, in a bid to encourage more volunteers to apply, Over The Wall has recently introduced non-residential roles, so that staying at camp is not compulsory.
“It was great to do something completely different from my job,” adds Olga. “My role in the police force was obviously a very serious one, so it was rewarding to do something so different. It was great to just have fun with the campers and support them in achieving their goals and enjoying themselves. The people you meet at camp are also truly inspiring – as many of them are giving up their time despite having full-time jobs too.”
“Before camp, I was worried I’d be the oldest, but I wasn’t – and it didn’t matter anyway, there were volunteers from all walks of life and many parts of the world, and I met some amazing people! Volunteering provided me with a whole new experience and view of life. There is a lot to be gained from camp and I have no regrets about getting involved. I have already signed up to volunteer in 2020.”
If you are looking for a new challenge in 2020 and would like to try something completely different from your day-to-day life, consider volunteering for Over The Wall. Our camps are life-changing – for children and volunteers alike.