Hello! I’m Diamond and I work in the FF office on an apprenticeship programme with Step Forward.
So, What’s Happening?!
There is no answer to that question- why? Because that’s the name of an event management company set up by me and other apprentices on the Step Forward programme.
As a group of inexperienced 18 year old apprentices, studying admin with youth work, giving us the responsibility of creating and managing our own event would be one of the last skills to teach us about the working world. However, as you will read further on, we all discovered the value in giving something back to the community, stretching ourselves appropriately within the roles we were given and how to enjoy the moment regardless of circumstances.
I would like to introduce to you our “Community in the Park” event, featuring food, drinks, music and a group of open minded people, all working towards the aim of community cohesion.
The awesome things that went wrong – I describe them as awesome things that went wrong simply because without them, the day would not have been as enjoyable.
1. I was late
I am usually quite punctual (and actually despise being late) but on this day my team accommodated me – why? It was my birthday the next day and my mother wanted to finish my hair! Now obviously, as the project manager of the event, I should have organised my time a lot better, but (not to toot my own trumpet) I think it showed I did my job quite well. Why? Because my team were able to coordinate themselves appropriately and did not need me to physically be there to facilitate the set-up. Although disappointed with myself, I arrived to find a group of busy people who were eager for me to join in and support as best as I could. Within minutes self-disappointment was washed away and I was able to eagerly await how the day would unfold.
2. We had to move
We had received permission form the park to use a certain area, whilst setting up, a woman came over with a heart-warming request. Her husband was out in the garden for the first time in weeks since being diagnosed with cancer and wanted to ask if we could move so that the noise of our event would not disturb him. Being the good people we were we collected our materials in bits and pieces, including a half-built gazebo, and settled further away. It turned out that we were directly in front of the children’s park where everyone walked through. We couldn’t have gotten a better spot; we weren’t fighting pigeons for the food, we were fighting people.
3. The gazebo went for a flight
Although sunny, it was incredibly windy that afternoon and as we all settled into the peak time of our event, a huge gust of wind completely uprooted our gazebo, sending it tumbling over the bushes. We all burst out laughing at how unexpected it was, as well as how our labour of an hour and a half to set it up was blown over in an instant. In that moment our theme of community cohesion was established like never before as people rushed from all directions of the park to help us get our gazebo out of the bushes. A variety of heights, races and languages all joined in the simple act of making sure our gazebo was replanted safely for us to continue our event. With pegs hammered into the ground again, we continued stuffing our faces.
As it was going to be my birthday the following day, by distracting me with a quick game of one touch football, I was presented with a cake, card and custom made bracelet. What was interesting about this is that even those who I had only met that day signed the card – why? Is it my character? Etiquette? Neither, the nature of the day gave everyone a heart to give. Whether it was their time, their thoughts towards another, offering someone food, the theme of community cohesion was embedded in the day, even to the point of wishing me a happy birthday.
Exhausted, we all settled down to close up shop, and go home feeling content with how the day went and seeing the fruit of all our hard work.
Although it may all sound rosy, there is something I would like to encourage you all to do… give. I could happily say, go and set up a project as well, but the level of input may be too extensive for you to handle. The essence of our project was giving our time and thought to unite a group of people through food, laughter and games. All of which is readily available to you.
Let us know what you learn the next time you combine this three elements, working towards giving something back to the wider world around you.