13th November 2011, Sunday.
We were there bright and early just before 7am and the crowd was just arriving at Padang Merbok. We were puzzled as the run starts at 9am and the volunteers were supposed to be there by 7am.
We hung around near the stage, listening to the guy (with the irritating voice) on the microphone, trying to gather the volunteers around. Out of the blue, a lady got the guys to help out with boxes of food.
Alicia and I hung around, feeling like fools. The guy was seriously getting on our nerves, not knowing how to gather the volunteers together. He accused the students of wasting time when they had been standing at the stage all along, waiting for instructions! The way he spoke was very impatient and belittling, as if the college students were unworthy of his respect.
Please, the volunteers were lending a helping hand for free because we believe in a good cause (for cancer research). If you cannot even treat your volunteers right and with due respect, it is no wonder you are desperate for volunteers every year!
After a while, my blood was boiling and he was really hopeless as a leader, Alicia and I rounded up the guys and asked whether we should just head out for breakfast. We stood at the field a little longer, and then we couldn’t take it anymore. (Please, can they have someone else in charge of the volunteers next time? Someone with more direction and a pleasant voice.)
Anyway, don’t get me wrong. I think CARIF should own the show and that the organizing committee needs to be well organized for a successful event.
My 2 cents worth:
1. Have a game plan for the volunteers. Gather them around the day before and brief them on their duties. Divide them into teams immediately so that on Event day, team leaders can get their team to work immediately at the designated areas.
2. With that sorted out, the big guy in charge of volunteers need not hog the microphone on Event day. Early birds who are supporting the event need not listen to the organizing committee shouting out instructions. They want a host to get the crowd pumping or brief us on CARIF’s importance and work and more about Terry Fox, things like that. That’s the whole purpose of the event, isn't it?
[I observed the Nike We Run KL event on 27th November 2011 and that’s how it should have been – only the host hogs the microphone.]
3. How do you differentiate the volunteers from the crowd? You make the volunteers purchase the current year’s T-shirt without giving them for free. I understand if it’s too much but let them have a cap or something? Everyone looks the same!
4. Once details are changed, like the starting time of the run – you must come up with new posters to highlight the change of time. Many were there early because the old poster stated that the run starts at 730am. Seriously. From 730am to 9.00am is a lot of difference!
5. 9.00am is ridiculously too late to start a run event. It is VERY HOT. 8.00am at the latest, please. There are people bringing their kids out, too!
Despite the disorganisation of the event, there were still plenty of supporters in attendance. I sincerely hope they had fun and enjoyed themselves.
Me? Us? We had fun goofing around ... somewhere else.