Volunteering on a Sense Holiday is an unforgettable experience. Not only did I make friends with Jai, an amazing kid I supported to have a brilliant holiday, but I also became friends with like-minded volunteers like Jonny, who was also there to support disabled children with complex communication needs.
Why I volunteered on a Sense Holiday
I’ve done some volunteering in the past. I actually work with children, but always wanted to give some of my time in another way to support them. I’m not really a beach person, as I like to be doing lots of different activities, so a Sense Holiday seemed like a perfect match for me.
One of my favourite memories was on our last day. We decided to take the holiday-makers on a surprise trip. I was paired with Jai, who we gave the choice to try mini golf. Jai jumped at the chance! With the support of myself and another volunteer, 17 year old Jonny, Jai picked up a club started to play.
Jai absolutely loved it, as he could take his time and concentrate on each shot. He even scored a hole-in-one… twice! Jonny and I were ecstatic, jumping around all over the place. Jai gave us the biggest smile and there were hive-fives all round!
It was a great experience for Jai, as he was able to play the game in a calm, quiet environment, with people he had a strong bond with. Jai really benefited from getting to spend time with male volunteers, and we were so pleased to see him excel and really come out of his shell.
An unforgettable moment
One moment I’ll never forget, is when we went swimming in the hydrotherapy pool. Jai was a lot quieter than the other holiday-makers, but in the water, he started to interact with them and really develop his confidence. That was just an incredible moment to witness.
I think the pre-holiday training was so helpful to me, giving me useful tips in how to support Jai and develop those moments and bonds that would enable Jai to really be himself.
I think those skills I developed on the holiday, around patience and communication, can put into practice elsewhere – not only in my day job, but also in my everyday life.
Volunteering is such a rewarding experience
Volunteering on a Sense Holiday is a really rewarding experience. It’s certainly not a holiday for the volunteers, as it is definitely hard work, but you get to do lots of things you don’t normally do.
You also get to meet other volunteers with similar interests and outlooks, and of course, have the chance to develop incredible connections with the children and young people, as you help them have an unforgettable adventure.
The Sense Holidays team are looking to recruit more male volunteers like Jack, so they can continue to support holidaymakers like Jai. If you’re interested, you can apply to be a Sense Holiday volunteer by visiting the Sense website.