Volunteer FAQs

Got a question? Check our FAQ's below​

Residential Camps FAQs

To volunteer at Over The Wall, you must be 18+ before you attend camp. Former campers must be aged 21+ before the first day of the camp you’re attending.  
 
Here at Over The Wall, we strive to be diverse and inclusive within our team of staff, campers and volunteers. We welcome and encourage volunteers of all ages, genders, ethnicities and backgrounds to join us.  

No, you don’t need to have previous experience to apply. We value enthusiasm, a sense of fun and a genuine desire to empower children and young adults with serious health challenges.  

When you apply online, you will be able to choose your preferred camp/dates. If you want to do more than one camp, you can select the camps in order of preference!  

We will try to accommodate your preferred choice as much as possible, so we recommend submitting your application early to avoid disappointment. Camps vary from 3 days up to 6 days in length during the school holidays, but you can choose which camp/dates suit you.  

We ask that you commit to an entire camp session. This is because you will be part of a team alongside campers and other volunteers for the whole camp journey. From a safeguarding perspective, this ensures there is adequate volunteers to support campers. It is also vital you attend training which happens the day before the campers arrive at Health Challenge and Siblings camps and earlier on the day for Family camps. 

We have a new role for volunteers living close to camp. You can come to camp from 9am-5pm for every day of camp, you will not require accommodation and can go back to your home each evening. Non-residential volunteers will need to commit to the full training and camp dates.  

We think it’s great that you have had such a good time as a camper that you’d like to come back!  

That being said, volunteers have a very different role compared with campers. We ask that former campers are 21+ years old before applying to volunteers with Over The Wall. This is to allow time for a transition period before changing roles. As part of the support we give to volunteers who were previously campers, we will check in with you throughout your volunteering journey. 

After you’ve submitted a volunteer application, we will review it.  If we need additional information we will contact you. Following this stage, you will attend a fun, informal group orientation or interview which will give you a chance to get to know about life at camp whilst we get to know you. The orientation dates and locations will be on the application form for you to select to suit your availability. An interview will be arranged if you cannot make any of these dates. 

Following your orientation/interview, you will be sent a conditional offer of a place at camp subject to a satisfactory police check, at least two suitable references, confirmation of your MMR and Covid-19 vaccinations and assessment of any medical information you have provided. 

Many of our campers and their siblings have compromised immune systems which means they are at high risk of contracting many illnesses, which could prove to be life-threatening. For this reason, all our volunteers must have been vaccinated against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) and be up to date with Covid-19 vaccinations and the booster jab. We will ask you to provide proof of having had these. 

All meals and accommodation are provided at camp so there isn’t any need to have much money with you. We will provide lockers and keys for any valuables, including money, for you to store safely during camp.  

We provide a pick-up and drop-off service from the train station closest to camp or you can drive as there is plenty of parking available. There may be an opportunity to car share with other volunteers and we encourage you to do this through our closed volunteers Facebook group. 

There is an E-learning course that you will be sent to complete before coming to camp. The E-learning course covers elements such as Emergency Procedures, Camper Behaviour Support, Safeguarding, Policies and the Therapeutic Recreation Model. You will also be sent a Camp Handbook before you arrive that has all the information you need to prepare for volunteering with Over The Wall! 

Activities at camp vary depending on the type of camp and camp location, but there is always a range covering high energy and low energy activities to suit all campers, including physical and more creative activities. There is something for everyone! 

As a volunteer, you will be present at camp activities helping to engage and support campers. The focus is on the experience and participation of the activity for the campers, so volunteers shouldn’t come to camp expecting to have a go on the Climbing Wall or Zipwire! That being said, there may be times when you will be asked to participate in an activity to support campers (i.e. accompanying them up the Climbing Wall. However, you will never be made to do anything you are not comfortable with. 

Volunteers prescription medication and over the counter medication must always be locked away in the provided lockers during camp (unless it is required to be carried with you). You must also have informed us of any medications you are taking on your application form, but if there are any changes after you submitted your application, please let us know. 

Campers are not permitted to bring their electronic devices with them to camp so they can be fully absorbed in what we call the ‘Camp Bubble.’ Whilst volunteers can bring their phones and laptops/tablets with them to camp, they are only to be used at appropriate times and not in front of campers. Although the sites we visit do have Wifi, signal is however often weak or we do not have access to it, so please come prepared for the fact there may be limited Wifi available at Camp. You’ll be too busy having fun to need it anyway! 

We have a strict Media Policy at camp and require photo permission from both campers and volunteers before we can take pictures of them. As a result, we are very careful about controlling the pictures taken at camp. We have specific ‘Media’ volunteers who are the only people able to take photos of campers. We understand that volunteers will want to share their Over The Wall experience so volunteers can take pictures of themselves and other volunteers, with their permission, away from the campers 

All meals are provided for you whilst you are at camp. At camp we may have campers and volunteers with severe food allergies. To protect against life threatening allergic reactions, we have a list of foods which volunteers can bring to camp. You will be sent this food list in advance of coming to Camp. Please DO NOT bring any food items with you that are not on the Food list. This food cannot be shared with Campers.  There will also be designated areas where you can eat this food to minimize risk to our Campers. 

For a Health Challenge or Sibling Camp, once you have been allocated a Camp, you will also be assigned a team before you arrive. Our Campers are divided into teams of mixed gender campers of a similar age. Your team will be made up of around 8-10 Campers and 7-8 Volunteers. There will usually be two teams in each colour group e.g. Red 1 and Red 2.  

You will become an amazingly close unit throughout your time at Camp, helping your team of campers with activities, sharing a common area and sitting together at mealtimes. For activities, you will be joined by the other group of your colour. 
 
Each team also has a Team Leader (experienced volunteers) who will support you throughout your time at Camp.  Your Team Leader will contact you in the weeks leading up to Camp so that you can get to know each other, ask any questions, share ideas and come up with your Team Theme which can range from ‘Under the Sea’, ‘Space’, ‘Music Festival’ and much more! 

At Family Camp you will be assigned a family for the weekend, sometimes with another volunteer, and you will be with them for all the fun activities. 

Although we call them camps, you won’t be sleeping in tents! For the duration of a residential camp, you will be sleeping on site in comfortable accommodation with other volunteers, this will be in the same accommodation block as your Campers, but never in the same room.   

If you live near to the site, non-residential volunteers can leave camp at 6pm and sleep at home, and then return the next day ready for more fun to start at 9am.  

A typical day at camp varies depending on what camp you are supporting. Activities may also vary depending on locations. Here is an example schedule for a day at a past Health Challenge Camp:  

7.30am: Wake-up 
8.15am:  Any trips to the Beach Hut (our Medical Area at Camp) for medication                      
8.45am: Breakfast 
9.45am – 12.20pm: Two different Activity Sessions (e.g Zipwire and Arts & Crafts) 
12.30pm: LUNCH! 
1.30pm – 2.30pm: Rest hour for Campers (Campers have the chance to chill out for an hour before the fun continues!) 
2.30pm – 5.15pm: Two Activity Sessions 
5.30pm: DINNER! 
6.45pm: Chillax time 
7.00pm – 8.00pm: Evening Programme (This could be anything from Disco to Movie Night!) 
8.15pm – 9.30pm: Cabin Chat (The chance for you and your team to get into pjs, drink some hot chocolate and reflect on all of the amazing things you’ve done that day.) 
9.30pm: Any trips to the Beach Hut for medication etc. 
9.45pm: Lights out for campers … and then we do it all again the next day! 

At camp, you will be joined by a fantastic group of Clinical Volunteers. These are trained Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics who come along to Camp as our ‘Beach Patrol’ team. They have a designated ‘Beach Hut’ at camp where Campers will go to get their medication if necessary. We also have a Wellbeing Coordinator for any wellbeing needs. So, unless you are a Clinical Volunteers, you will not be responsible for helping Campers with their medical needs.  

Volunteers are responsible for the general safety of campers. You may need to carry your campers’ emergency medication, but you will rarely be expected to administer it- and if you are, you will receive full training in advance. 

At camp we want the focus to be the camper as an individual, not the illness that affects their lives.  As such, volunteers are not told details about camper’s medical condition and will only be given enough information about their medical history to keep that camper safe whilst they are with us.  

 
If the camper chooses to talk to you about their condition, or the condition of their sibling, that’s fine but a vital part of the volunteers role is to help a Camper realise that they are not defined by their illness, and that they are capable of going beyond their self-perceived limitations, have fun and achieve amazing things. If the camper doesn’t talk about their condition, that’s absolutely fine too! 

On site at every camp there will always be a team of Over The Wall staff. They are there to ensure camp runs smoothly and everyone has an amazing time, so if you have any questions, or if you need any help, the Support Team will be there for you. 

Camp includes both indoor and outdoor activities, so you should pack clothes that are comfortable, weatherproof and appropriate. You will be sent a full packing list before you arrive at camp to give you an idea of what to bring. From the arrival day of the campers, volunteers are expected to wear their team’s Over The Wall t-shirt which will be provided when you arrive at camp. Washing and drying facilities are on site so you can wash team t-shirts throughout the week.

Each day at camp, you will get one activity session off, which you will decide with your team. This is your free time to rest and have some time away from the camp schedule. It is important that everyone uses their time off as self-care at camp is very important. If you think you need more time off on a certain day, you can discuss this with your Team Leader or the Support Team. 

Over The Wall have a number of policies that are in place to protect our campers, but also our volunteers. These include our Safeguarding policy and the adult to camper ratio policy. We go through our policies during the volunteer e-learning and at camp training. 

Very occasionally a camper may need help with certain aspects of personal care, such as washing, showering, dressing. No volunteers will ever be left alone to help a camper with their personal care; in line with our two-to-one ratio policy you will always have someone with you.  

We understand that some people can potentially be nervous about how to correctly assist with personal care, but you will be given information before you arrive at camp and ongoing support whilst at camp too. You can always talk to a member of your team, the Support Team, or Beach Patrol (our Clinical Team) if you do not feel comfortable or confident with personal care and they will be able to assist you. 

Many of our campers will have lowered immune systems or will be coming into close contact with those who do, and so we cannot risk the possible spread of infection at camp. If you are feeling unwell in the run up to camp, it is vital you contact us so that we can assess whether you are well enough to attend. This includes symptoms of the flu, diarrhoea, vomiting, a temperature, rash, sore throat, cough and cold sores etc. Depending on your symptoms we may ask you not to come to camp or you may be asked to go home. We understand it would be disappointing not to be able to come along to camp at the last minute, but we hope you understand the safety of our campers must be a priority. 

Camp in the Cloud FAQs

Camp in the Cloud is an online platform made especially for Over the Wall where Campers can experience the magic of camp from the comfort of their own home.  All camps have a jam-packed and engaging programme including pre-recorded and live activities, dance parties, Cabin Chats, interactive games, a message board and a gallery. We send Campers a “Seriously Fun Box” which contains every resource they need to participate in all aspects of Camp in the Cloud, meaning they do not need to go out and buy anything!  

The purpose of Camp in the Cloud is to create the fun of camp for campers as well as to help prevent isolation, improve self-esteem and to allow young people the opportunity to interact with people in similar situations to their own. This would not be possible without our incredible team of volunteers, who empower and encourage campers to embrace their amazing qualities and strengths.  

Your role on Camp in the Cloud is dependent on which camp you volunteer for. The structure for our Health Challenge/ Siblings camps are different to our Family Camps but they can all be supported from the comfort of your home. 

Health Challenge/Siblings Camp 
You will need to be available for the 3 evenings of Health Challenge/Siblings Camps to help facilitate Cabin Chats. These are a Zoom call with a team of volunteers and campers to reflect on the achievements campers have had during the day on Camp in the Cloud, play some games and discuss reflective questions. You will take part in challenges set by other teams, lead games, bring up fun and interesting topics and reflect on the campers’ successes throughout the day. 

Campers are split into age-appropriate teams, and for each team there will be 3 Volunteers who will help run and facilitate Cabin Chats. There will also be an Over the Wall staff member on every call so that they can resolve any issues that may arise, which gives you the opportunity to focus solely on your team and having fun in Cabin Chats. 

 Family Camp 

Family Camps happen over the duration of one day on the weekend. You will need to be available for one early shift or one late shift (9.45am -1.45pm or 5pm – 8pm). You will be responsible for  engaging with families via live calls, dance parties, game shows, message boards and galleries.  

We will try to accommodate your preferred choice as much as possible, so we recommend submitting your application early to avoid disappointment. Camps vary from 3 days up to 6 days in length during the school holidays, but you can choose which camp/dates suit you.  

You will be joined by a couple of other volunteers who you will meet in training prior to camp.

You will need a device that connects to a stable internet connection. You’ll need the latest version of Zoom and up to date anti-virus software installed on your device. Everything else, we will send you in the post including a Camp t-shirt and face paint!   

In the lead up to Camp, we give you the contact details of your designated member of staff who will act as Volunteer Support. If you have any concerns, you can contact this person and they will help resolve the issue. Staff will always be around, either monitoring the platform or supporting with live calls and Cabin Chats. There will also always be an experienced team of Volunteers on every camp who can offer support and advice. You are never alone! 

Yes! We will send you a link to a brief e-learning course which will provide you with an overview of key information you will need to support camp. A few days before camp, you will be invited to join us and the rest of your team on Zoom for your Camp in the Cloud training. We will show you round the platform, outline the schedule, talk through our Therapeutic Recreation model and also give you a chance to get to know your team. We will discuss online safety and safeguarding and what to look out for and who to report to if there are any issues.  

This is a very common issue, but not to worry! If your internet does decide to cut out whilst supporting camp, give the Volunteer Support member of staff a call and keep them updated on the situation. Once your internet is back up and running, simply hop straight back on the call and join back in with the fun.  

Get in touch

Can’t see your question answered?
If you have any questions or you’d like to know more, we’d love to hear from you. Contact the volunteering team by emailing volunteering@otw.org.uk or call 02392 477 110. 

Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation Family Over The Wall Camp