Each year Autism Angels Volunteers Training programme trains up to 30 volunteers and every time we have tried to fine tune the way we do it. What I’ve realised over the years is that you can’t give everyone all the information all at once. And to be honest they don’t need it, however much they think they do.
This year’s training, I feel has been a great balance of information giving and personal development, whereas on previous years I feel we have gone too deep too quickly with our volunteers with more of a focus on their personal development. This year we have been able to balance what we needed the Autism Angels Volunteers to know and do for us during our events with the opportunities for them to learn and grow their own skill sets, a much more helpful approach for all involved.
We started a bit later this year due to the dark nights and not quite having the facilities in place we need to work into the nights yet but this seemed to work well and the volunteers were amused and amazed at what you can learn from horses by moonlight. Our meet and greet night is always a good indication of how people will get on with how we do things here at Autism Angels as our ice breaking exercises can catapult people outside of their comfort zones but it gets everyone laughing and getting to know each other.
As we progress into the training there is always so much to cover in such a short space of time, from how we meet and greet our families, to refreshment roles, to connecting roles and of course the work with the horses. Everyone needs a general insight into each role but we stick very much to ‘strength zones’ for the events. The people who have experience with horses learn new skills and ways of working with them but generally their biggest learning is to trust the process and step back and let the horses do their part in it. This can also go for the connecting role. This role takes care of our families and can bring new wisdom to a family about how they may be influencing their children’s behaviours. When the parents see someone else work with their children and get a breakthrough by trying something different, this can give them confidence to do this at home.
Our Autism Angels Volunteers training is one of the highlights of the year for me as I always love training people where there is a win-win in the relationship. They always have something to teach us and the exchange of knowledge and time is invaluable to us. We laugh, we cry, we learn and friendships are formed. The whole experience is magical and one that changes so many lives.
Sarah S x
If you would like to join our wonderful group of Autism Angels Volunteers you can put your name down for the next training sessions by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org Please follow us on our Autism Angels UK Facebook page to for all our up to date news and events.