Reflections of a Wave Project Volunteer

Reflections of a Wave Project Volunteer

I first wrote about my experiences as a volunteer with the Wave Project a year into the role in January 2019 (see ‘Sunshine on Sundays – A volunteer’s blog – Wave Project : Wave Project’). Now after the last few COVID 19 pandemic years and at the start of my fifth year it felt time to reflect on my experiences and what the role means to me.

Key/contextual information: 

Firstly, for anyone new to volunteering, the Wave Project or wondering whether it will fit around your life here are a few key details that might help:

Where I volunteer: Bigbury, South Devon (you can choose the location most convenient to you- see website)

When: Sundays (days vary depending on location). I have volunteered for as many as I can- our Project lead just asks that we try to sign up for all 6 weeks in any one course to help with continuity for the young people as this allows them to have the same mentor each week.

Duration: 2 hours (plus some time for changing) (again timings may vary depending on type of session and location)

How I sign up: I use the Wave Project App to sign up to all the surf courses (blocks of 6 weeks) and surf club sessions that I am able to attend. On the app I can see which other volunteers and surfers (young people) will be there.

My highlights:

Having to pause sessions during the COVID 19 lockdowns made me realise how much my volunteer role means to me and how many great experiences I’ve had over the last four years. It’s hard to condense these for the purposes of this blog although here are a few:

Getting back out after the lockdowns:

The joy and sense of freedom of being able to get back out into the sea and spending time with the young people again. Seeing the fun they have and the progress they make and being a part of this.

Summer Surf Challenges: 

A weekend in the summer (usually July) when lots of young people can experience the Wave Project at Watergate Bay (Cornwall). I participate every year and love it! The chance to meet new and familiar young people and their families; spending time with other volunteers from around the UK and the festival atmosphere, all in the beautiful surroundings of Watergate Bay.

Surfer to Volunteer: 

Having the privilege of volunteering alongside a young person I mentored in a surf course a few years ago and seeing the progression with his confidence has been an absolute highlight. His dad now also volunteers and it has been great having them both in the team! 

Meeting the families: 

Definitely a highlight for me. Spending time chatting and hearing about their young person’s progression but most of all seeing the delight in their faces (and cheers) is priceless.

Friendship and sense of community: 

I started volunteering after a long term relationship ended and I am so grateful to the Wave Project for the friendships and sense of community it has provided me with.

So hopefully this has given you an insight into some of my experiences as a Wave Project volunteer and will perhaps inspire you to give it a go in 2022! You can sign up here https://www.waveproject.co.uk/volunteer-sign-up/