This is the third year of the USEA’s Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP). Although not all of our Area events use the program, a number of Area VII members are featured in the All Time Leaderboard’s Top 100 Volunteers. Rick Resto is in the top ten for the third year in a row, with rider and volunteer Cindi Carrell earning a top 20 ranking. Other Area VII members include Roger Chick, Gail Mackie, Penny Leggott, Joe Hannan, Catherine Hannan, and Bettijean Collins.
Many things separate the sport of Eventing from other equestrian disciplines. There is no denying that an event horse is a special horse. The event rider is also a special type of competitor. It is also a special community, especially in Area VII. While it is extremely competitive, in the end, everyone can be seen as a Friend and a Potential Friend.
Nothing makes a friend out of a stranger so much as volunteering. Long before you think of sending in an entry, scores of people have been donating their time to create an event. Long after the last horse has left for home, volunteers are still wrapping up. If you have been fortunate enough to do this kind of work, you know the special feeling get. It is it’s own reward. You notice the others you’ve worked with everywhere you go and you know that warm smile of recognition from someone you’ve worked alongside of at an event.
Anyone who has been around for even a single season knows that Eventing can’t happen without the army of individuals who come together for this common passion. The USEA created the Volunteer Incentive Program not only to recognize these VIPs but also to help organizers manage their volunteers and to let us know who we have to thank for making Eventing happen.
VIP works off www.EventingVolunteer.com. Everyone is encouraged to create an account. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with it. You can sign up in advance of an event or check in while an event is running to see where help is needed. There is a mobile app which lets you check in and check out, with notifications to remind you when your time is coming up. Event Volunteer Coordinators will also keep track of volunteers who do not volunteer on-line for those of us who forget to sign-in or sign out as well as to volunteer remember to create an account beforehand.
Nationally, the top volunteer receives an amazing award at the National Convention Awards ceremony. In Area VII we also honor our own top volunteers. Rick Resto and Cindi Carrell have each been Area Volunteer Champion and Reserve Champion in the program’s first two years. At the next Annual Meeting the Volunteers of the Year will be treated like a competition level with awards and ribbons for the top 5 Area VII volunteers. The EventingVolunteers.com website keeps track of year to date hours per volunteer by Area and nationally as well as the All Time Leaderboard. https://www.eventingvolunteers.com/leaderboards/92
So far, Spokane, EI, Aspen and Inavale have signed on to the VIP and we hope that more will do so as the season goes on because we’d like to see the top spot go to an Area VII member.