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Reap the rewards of being a camp volunteer

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Did you know that volunteering can improve physical and mental health, well-being, life satisfaction and even help you to develop new skills? Here are just a few examples of how camp can enrich and improve the lives of our volunteers… 

Without the generosity and dedication of our volunteers, Over The Wall would be unable to fulfil its mission to provide camp experiences for children with serious illness. This year, we are aiming to take 1,200 children and families to camp, and for that to happen, we need over 700 volunteers.  

Whilst we rely on the kind-heartedness and devotion of our volunteers, we are pleased to say, that camp is also an extremely rewarding and often life-changing experience for them too.   

The physical benefits- Get camp active! 

It’s recently been proven that volunteering can have a huge positive impact on physical health and our camps provide the perfect environment for this to happen. Scientific research has shown that, not only can volunteering lower blood pressure, it can also improve general health and even prolong life! There have even been studies that have revealed that regular volunteering can reduce early mortality rates by up to 22%. 

Depending on their physical ability and mobility, our volunteers can be as physically involved in camp activity as they wish, participating at a level they are comfortable with and assisting campers in meeting their challenges. For those that are less physically able, research has also revealed that those with disabilities or health conditions also show improvement in health after volunteering.   

Happy campers! -Improving wellbeing  

As well as offering physical benefits, volunteering can also counter stress, anxiety and depression. Studies have also revealed that people who volunteer experience greater levels of happiness than those who do not. Supporting children through therapeutic recreation to have an unforgettable and life-changing time, whilst connecting with other like-minded people at camp, can deeply enhance the psychological wellbeing of our volunteers.  

It has also been proven that camp has a significant positive impact on the confidence of our volunteers. After a week-long camp in 2018, our volunteers were asked how camp had affected them, and 92% ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that volunteering with OTW increased their confidence and self-esteem.  

Diarmuid White is a GP that regularly volunteers with the Beach Patrol team. Here he explains why he regularly takes his annual leave to come to camp as an OTW volunteer: “No matter how stressful my life gets, I know that I always have camp to look forward to. It is one time when I can be myself and support a magical cause. It’s all very well going on holiday and sitting on a beach- but there is nothing in the world like camp!”  

Increasing your skills – Advancing your career  

On top of the life enhancing and rewarding benefits of volunteering, many volunteers find that their time at camp provides the opportunity to develop new skills and improve their CV. As well as showing potential employers that you have worked voluntarily for a charity, camp also presents an opportunity for you to experience new  challenges and responsibilities, learn key skills and methods of management, all outside of an ordinary working environment. It also demonstrates that you have worked voluntarily to make a positive impact on children’s lives, whilst connecting and establishing yourself within a community.   

Volunteer, Ellie Pearce describes how camp was instrumental in helping to improve her CV and appeal to potential employers: “Camp’s benefits aren’t limited to the campers. For example, the experience of camp has been great for my CV and Over The Wall has always given me wonderful references that have already been so useful. I have volunteered as both Team Leader and in Activity Leader roles, which have given me confidence in my leadership skills and my ability to work as part of a team. When it comes to volunteering- there’s a lot in it for you too!”  

Bringing camp magic into your life 

Camp is a unique environment where volunteers can experience a great deal of happiness. Knowing that they have made a difference to the lives others often inspires our volunteers to make positive changes to their own lives.   

Camp is a place designed for children with illness to thrive and ‘raise hell’ (as Paul Newman put it) and becoming a part of this world of mischief, magic and new possibilities, is certainly infectious. Retired volunteer, Mike Miller explains how the wonder of camp changed his life:  

“I always remember being in Sainsbury’s on a dreary Monday morning, straight after volunteering at camp. It was all very quiet and gloomy. I had this huge urge to start singing Over The Wall camp songs to cheer everyone up! I wanted to make everyone smile by bringing the camp spirit to everyone around me. There is a great deal of positive energy at camp- and you have a constant feeling that you are doing something so valuable, which is why I find myself volunteering more and more each year.”  

Interested in volunteering?

To join Over The Wall as a volunteer is to join a warm, generous and fun community – all geared towards making a child’s camp experience among the most memorable times they’ve ever had. You’ll be given specialist training for camp and develop skills in organisation, project management, fun management and more. 

Volunteer at our free and fun activity camps and join a community dedicated to making a difference to children’s lives. Our residential camps are held at locations around the UK and we have a variety of roles awaiting you including: Team Mate, Activity Leader, Clinical Volunteer (including paediatric nurses, doctors and paramedics), media crew and safeguarding officer.

Apply below, or contact us for more information: volunteering@otw.org.uk | 02392 477110