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Aislinn, 2nd Year, Science & Engineering UL Student
Organisation: C&S Outdoor Pursuits Club
Volunteering Role: Climbing Officer and Wall Supervisor
Gold President’s Volunteer Award recipient with over 100 hundred hours volunteered
"Volunteering with the OPC has shown me the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in the club to make it the success it is. Members of the committee put in countless hours and some dedicated members to ensure activities are organised and run smoothly. The OPC has been running for 25 years now and continues to do so on account of the passion for the club and the outdoors passed down from year to year. The club provide trips and training in 5 main disciplines; hiking, climbing, caving, mountaineering and orienteering. The main objectives in the club revolve around enjoying the outdoors and having fun but we strive to improve and push ourselves with competitions and worldwide expeditions. The OPC attracts one of the biggest memberships among clubs and societies in UL, with active members including current students, Erasmus students, local residents and alumni, all of whom contribute to the unique OPC experience.
Being involved in the club has helped me to figure out my main interests and priorities and this has aided me in my studies. Being involved in C&S has created focus in my life and creates a good work/life balance, which in turn creates more enthusiasm towards both college work and other activities.
This role has developed many of my skills. Working as part of a committee enhances skills such as communication, teamwork and delegation. Which are all key skills in the workplace. As climbing officer, I have also enhanced my skills of organisation and teaching and leadership through running frequent trips throughout the year and training newer members.
I first joined the OPC as an ordinary member and quickly became very involved in its activities. I enjoy the outdoors and had previous experience in some of the activities. I wanted to become more involved in the club and help in its running, so I joined the committee. Being part of such a dedicated group of people and working in such an active club is very rewarding. Seeing people enjoying events that you have organised or the development of members gives me a great deal of satisfaction. From joining the club, I immediately felt welcome and this this encouraged me to stay and feel like I could contribute to change in the club.
In my time in the club I feel I have contributed to developing a few aspects of the club. During my role as climbing officer the club has seen a huge boost in the numbers of climbers thanks to the work of myself and hugely the work of the team of climbing leaders working with me to encourage, motivate and develop our new members. One way this was achieved was by running extra training nights at the wall for interested members.
This experience has definitely changed my outlook on volunteering. I didn’t realise the amount of work and challenges that would be involved, but more importantly that this amount of work would be done of my own accord. In a volunteer organisation you can choose to put in as little or as much work as you feel like and it is surprising how many people choose to put in huge amounts of work. This work is done based on respect for your peers and co-workers and the simple enjoyment we all gain from contributing from the club. Working with others who are devoted to the club encourages you to work had and do jobs as best you can. Often, I don’t think you see the same level of commitment or passion in a paid working environment. I didn’t realise before how much enjoyment I would get from this volunteer work.
Working as part of a large committee has greatly improved my communication skills. During committee meetings, you need to listen to others attentively and communicate your own points effectively to ensure you convey what you are trying to say. I have learned to be confident in my opinions and suggestions and to be open-minded when listening to others. Through my role on committee I have also developed my written communication skills through frequent contact by email and also submitting various applications, either for funding or awards.
I consider my volunteer experience to be a valuable asset to my future. I have gained many new skills from this role that will definitely aid me in my career, such as teamwork, communication and organisation. These are all key skills in any workplace. From this experience, I have also gained a lot of confidence, a new passion and many friends, all of which will continue to impact my life for the better".
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