Volunteering at GovCamp Cymru (and why you should)

This is  a guest blog post about GovCamp Cymru written by our long-standing (and favourite but shhh! don’t tell her, she might blush) volunteer, about what her experience has been like. Written by Kate Williams. 

GovCamp Cymru 2017 will be my fourth year of volunteering at the event. And, as with every year, I’m excited to be helping out. So why do I keep returning each year and why do I volunteer?

Firstly, why do I keep coming back to GovCamp Cymru? I’m passionate about public services, the intricacies, the faults and the potential. I care about public services and how we can collectively work to help create a better future for our communities. Attending GovCamp Cymru enables me to be witness to thought provoking conversations and learning that I can incorporate back into my own working practices and share with others in my organisation. I am not a “game changer”, an influencer, or a shining example of a public servant but I care, I get to meet people who are those inspiring examples and I learn something new each time I attend.

So why do I volunteer to be part of GovCamp Cymru? I get to work with amazing people who I love, who inspire me and who welcome me into their fold. Volunteering gives me the opportunity to feel like I’m a part of GovCamp Cymru and that, even in a very small way, I’m helping to make it happen.

From a personal perspective, I struggle with social anxiety that can be severe at times. Walking into a crowded room fills me with fear and though you may not see it from the outside, inside I am filled with panic. Being a volunteer at GovCamp Cymru gives me a sense of purpose and focus that helps to counteract the overwhelming fight or flight instinct.

I often worry that I’m not clever, experienced, or eloquent enough to attend GovCamp Cymru. At the previous events I have met some amazing people who are extremely clever, experienced and eloquent. And these amazing people have always been welcoming, kind and eager to hear different perspectives. Despite this, because of my introversion/anxiety/shyness I find it difficult to contribute during the sessions. Not because I’m not welcomed to, the groups are always inclusive and friendly. Volunteering for GovCamp Cymru lets me contribute in a different way. Taking the notes for the sessions is probably one of my favourite tasks as it allows me to have a clear purpose to being witness to the discussions without the pressure to speak. There are many roles and tasks that people can get stuck into when volunteering that means everyone can play to their own strengths and contribute in a way that they are comfortable with.

Volunteering isn’t just for the quiet introvert, the gregarious extrovert (and everything in-between) can be equally at home when volunteering. There really is a part for anyone and everyone to play at GovCamp Cymru. But don’t just take my word for it:

“Volunteering at GovCamp Cymru gave me the chance to learn so much about what’s happening across Wales and beyond. It’s a unique opportunity to meet great people who are passionate about improving public services.” @DyfrigWilliams

So why should you volunteer? For all the reasons above. Volunteers are a vital part of GovCamp Cymru and you would get to be part of a friendly group of dedicated people who care about public services, helping to make GovCamp Cymru  possible. Whilst being an attendee is a great experience, being a volunteer takes it to the next level of involvement, providing opportunities to contribute in a multitude of different ways. We need you so please sign up today and you will create amazing memories, gain knowledge and experience what is involved in running an unconference.

GovCamp Cymru 2017 is happening on 14th October.  Join the conversation online on the GovCamp Cymru Slack. (New to Slack?) Join the mailing list for ticket releases, the first batch will be available on Monday 26th June, 10:00am. Find us on twitter and Facebook!

Do you fancy contributing a guest blog post on a topic relevant to public services in Wales? Get in touch with noreen@satorilab.org.

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