Saturday, 28 September 2013

Welcome and Week 1 - What IS volunteering?

Tuesday 24th September saw the start of this year's Cultivate training programme, run by Aberdeen City Council's Creative Learning Team. This is the second time the course has run, and the team are excited and hopeful that this round will prove to be as successful as last year's pilot project. For those who are new to the course, Cultivate is a free training programme  centred around a volunteer exchange, which brings a mix of 10 people together in each programme, all working towards a Volunteering Skills Award level 4. People volunteer for all different reasons, and Cultivate aims to enable participants to increase awareness of their own motivations and skill set and how that can be applied whilst learning and volunteering in a Creative Learning context. They will also be able to find out about other volunteering opportunities and creative pathways available within the city. 

This Year's Volunteers along with the Cultivate Staff team

 Each week the Cultivate blog will be updated with all the goings on of the Tuesday sessions. This week the new crop of volunteers arrived and, after a short formal induction, got stuck in straight away creating their own journals, which will be used to record their learning throughout the eleven weeks of the course. 

 After the diaries the team moved on to the real hard work. The first big question the course asks is "What IS volunteering?" 

The team talked about their own experiences of volunteering and considered the benefits of lending your time to others, both for the volunteer and the organisation or person you volunteer for. After thinking long and hard about what it means to volunteer, each member wrote a definition of volunteering in their hand-made diaries, which will count towards one of their learning outcomes.

" We define volunteering as any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives. Central to this definition is the fact that volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual. This can include formal activity undertaken through public, private and voluntary organisations as well as informal community participation. " -

Talking about the different kinds of volunteering that a person can get involved with
hopefully got our participants thinking about why it's important to volunteer. This issue will be covered as part of the session for next week - "Why volunteer?"

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