Back in March 2011 I gave a speech at a certificate ceremony for Millennium Volunteers. The MV scheme has been running since 1998, and recognises voluntary work undertaken by 16 to 25 year olds. There are three certificates to collect: one for fifty hours, one for a hundred hours, and one for two hundred hours. For more info, see the Gwirvol website.
This particular day was to reward people who had been on the linked up MV - Newport Ryder Cup volunteering programme. I felt I'd earned that piece of paper through days of standing in the pouring rain at 6 am, telling irate golf fans they'd be paying £5 a pint once the bus finally turned up to take them to the Celtic Manor...
It was a fantastic opportunity to be involved with an international sporting event like the Ryder Cup. And not only to be involved, but to be the welcoming face of Wales to the thousands of visitors who attended.
My group was meeting and greeting visitors off the train and onto the bus at Newport train station, so a welcoming face had to provide what the weather couldn’t on some days!
The event was a triumph for Wales and a triumph for the image of volunteering. 2011 is the European year of volunteering which makes today’s event particularly important. It proves to those who are perhaps unsure or sceptical about giving up their time to volunteer that it is something which is not just worthwhile, but good fun too.
Receiving recognition from the Welsh Assembly Government means a lot to me, as I’m sure it does to my fellow volunteers. This certificate, along with the Millennium Volunteer scheme with which it is linked, provides something tangible which can be shown to employers as evidence of commitment and dedication. Young people in Wales have a real passion to make Wales a better place, whether that be through inspiring entrepreneurialism or through philanthropy.
That is something worth volunteering.