Throughout the topics of this blog it has associated itself around Kynren the project, the training, the volunteers and the opportunities it has presented.
I recently wrote this blog https://corryandrew.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/season-1-it-will-sadly-soon-be-over/ about how the first debut season is slowly but surely coming to an end, and how will it effect us all when Saturday 17th September finally draws its last sell out crowd, the final standing ovation and the waves of goodbye.
As we say thank you to our last guests who over the last 2 1/2 months each one in there thousands who have travelled far and wide have made this first season as special as it has, and that will live long in the memories of everyone involved.
But today I want to talk about me, who I am and how this project has effected me outside of the training and the shows.
I’m Andrew a volunteer within the Experience team, a jovial, hardworking, and loyal character, however i’m sure my teammates will have a different set of words to probably describe me better.
Outside of the Kynren project who am I?
As I said my name is Andrew, i’m 37, i’m single, a homeowner, I work as a buyer for a roof and cladding company and family means the absolute world to me, so you can probably tell I dote on my nephews Jack and Joshua and nieces Layla and Emilia whenever I get the chance to see them.
But being a volunteer for all the good reasons to be involved, and over the last 10 months since joining the project they have been some of my best times.
It does sometimes come at a cost.
When I first enrolled in my head I thought why not give it a year, there’s only 14 shows, I wasn’t planning on going away so that’s what I committed myself to do.
That was until last weekend, shows 10 and 11 over the Bank Holiday weekend.
I made a decision earlier in the week not to attend, not to volunteer, in all honesty it was a tough decision, one that I questioned on a number of occasions from the moment I made it right throughout the course of the weekend.
And hand on heart was it the correct decision? For ME absolutely, I needed the break.
As volunteers we are all just a large group of people with normal lives and normal jobs, and by giving up your time to be involved in something so amazing as in Kynren, but for me I got caught up too much in the Kynren bubble, the overwhelming magic of it all, the stresses and strains of it too.
Looking back on this weekend, I realised that only until July of this year, a mere 9 weeks ago, I had never been involved in a project of this scale before, yes all the training prepares you to a point.
But for me I’ve never parked over a 1000+ cars per night before, I’ve never been involved in traffic marshalling to help thousands of visitors to exit after a show either.
And yes if you have been one of our many visitors to have parked in Car Park C or we are yet to meet you yet, we’re trying, we are volunteers, and we are learning and with experience gained from each show we are ensuring the process is even more streamlined as each previous show before it.
For me i’m proud of my own personal achievements, yes I might not be on the stage, somewhere that I thought I would be, but i’m more than playing my part.
I may not get the standing ovations but I know through my actions and those of my teammates just like all the many other volunteers working across all areas of the show, we are all individually improving and will continue to keep improving through many new challenges that lie ahead of us all.
So back to the weekend, I realised for all the good elements of being a volunteer, I hadn’t actually had a real break, a break to reflect, a break to relax, to wind down and actually enjoy other things.
Like spending time with my nephews and nieces, as weekend’s have been tied up with everything Kynren related and for me although that was very much through choice, I was missing out on something equally as good if not better.
Working on the Kynren project for me, in my role, I’ve been on a completely different time zone every weekend for the last 4 months since training first started on site in May.
Long hours, late finishes, after show drinks, mind working overtime on what I could personally do differently to make the visitors experiences even more fantastic, supporting every member of the Experience team to know if they have or had any issues they always had an outlet, I’ve pushed myself hard like I always do, always judging my performance levels to improve, to be better, in order to make the project better.
All this and remember volunteers have lives outside of the project too, the majority of the volunteers work, some 9-5, some shift workers, part time, full time, retired. Some are married, in relationships, have children, sometimes our visitors forget that just as much as us the volunteers do ourselves, its a big commitment but one that we all enjoy.
However, at times it does take it out of you, but in the best possible ways, Kynren makes you feel valued in the roles and responsibilities you take ownership of, just like in day to day life we are proud of what we do, proud of who we are, and proud in knowing that your teammates always have your back.
There’s no individuals in this project, we are all pulling in the same direction to make this project all it can be, for today, tomorrow and future generations to come.
The lessons I’ve learnt from this…
No matter how much you enjoy being part of something that you love, sometimes you need to learn to step away, not just for you but for everyone else around you too.
Everyone needs a break, always invest time into yourself.
And finally you need to do whatever makes you happy.
Eleven Arches announced last week, that due to popular demand an extra show has been added to the Kynren calendar, being Friday 16th September, i’m going to take this opportunity to attend the show myself, something I haven’t been fortunate to see yet.
Yes, I’ve seen some of the rehearsals but as for the finished show, not even I’ve been that lucky yet to see it, something I aim to put right on this particular night, and enjoy the visitors experience that really is second to none from our heartwarming volunteers.
To learn more about Eleven Arches and the Kynren project please visit their Facebook page and website or leave a review on their new TripAdvisor page.