So. Your child loves Pony Club. After years of going to camps, rallies and competitions, organised selflessly by other people, hopefully you’ve decided it’s time to put something back.
If you are thinking of volunteering for your local Pony Club, here’s a guide to what’s on offer to help you tailor your particular skills to the job in question.
If you crave job security, offer to be treasurer. Nobody wants to be treasurer. So if you take it, it’s a job for life.
I discovered this early on with my youngest daughter’s playgroup. I was approached by a committee member.
“Why not come along to the meeting tonight?” she said silkily. “Just to see how it works. You won’t be expected to do anything.”
Like an idiot, I believed her. At the meeting, the Chair was handing out jobs for the forthcoming year. As each role was mentioned — publicity officer, secretary — people were shooting their hands in the air with a surprising degree of alacrity. Finally the Chair said: “Well, that just leaves treasurer. Is there anyone without a job?” And all eyes swiveled round to me. Stitched up like a kipper.
If you can spell but you are the sort of person who prefers not to stick your head above the parapet, be secretary. Everyone will be so grateful that they don’t have to write the minutes, the camp letter, the emails to parents etc that they’ll never give you any trouble.
If you are the sort of person who can do a rubix cube in under a minute, or you have a degree in logistics, you can always offer to organise camp. You will be given the following:
• a list of dozens of children
• a set of cabins with different numbers of bunks in them
• a fixed number of instructors
• a variety of places to ride — let’s say one big arena with showjumps (member fun rating or “MFR” 5 out of 5), a smaller arena with a couple of jumps (MFR 3 out of 5), a grassy area for flatwork (MFR 1 out of 5), an area for stable management (MFR 0 out of 5) and a cross-country course (MFR 10 out of 5)
Your job is to allocate cabins roughly according to age and friendship groups, keeping all the kids that don’t like each other separate. Then to allocate rides, ditto but also taking into account riding ability. Then to build a schedule where every child has precisely the same fair access to every one of the facilities, MFRs high and low. And if you can bring it in on budget, that would really keep the treasurer happy.
On the plus side, it’s seasonal work. You can take the rest of the year off. Same as membership secretary — a couple of flurries of activity and you’re done.
Then there’s also:
If you like to be busy and are prepared to do the lion’s share of the actual work, with none of the actual glory, this is tailor made for you.
If you do your time in one of the supporting roles, are charismatic, feisty, determined, happy to explain to affronted parents why little Camilla didn’t make the team this time, don’t mind standing in a muddy field at a competition watching other people’s children enjoying themselves, and you can muster the authority to break up an illicit camp midnight feast so that everyone is back in bed in under two minutes with no arguments…
…one day you can be DC!
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I hope some of you will step up. Your Pony Club needs you! But whether you do or you don’t, just remember, next time you are tempted to vent your wrath to a committee member, all these people are volunteers!
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