Organizations like the SCA depend on volunteers. Events like Pennsic depend on hoards of hundreds to get the work done. This is one reason we can all go have a 2 week vacation for such a low, low cost. The work these volunteers do is not always easy, there are never enough people, and lets face it, its hot as crap, rainy, cold, and whatever else.
AND most of these people are employed full time, sometimes with more the one job or other commitments. These people have sacrificed their vacation time to give everyone else that attends Pennsic a wonderful vacation.
Many of these volunteers are official staff for the event, and some are not. And yes, it is more likely that the official staff will get the Thanks for it all (if indeed, any is given). But note, it is also the official staff that gets to deal with more of the flack. They have to contend with the cries of "this is not going my way!", "this costs too much money!", "you can't do this to me!" and not to mention all of the conspiracy theories that pop up every time you put that many people in one place (and have so many of them deeply, emotionally invested in their own personal vision of what the Dream should be).
Honestly, I feel bad for the people in those positions. They all deserve medals. Or a salary. Or at least, a "Thank you". And yes, the other volunteers (the non-staff folks that help out) deserve thank yous too! If you see someone helping out - THANK THEM! It takes a but a second and it can be very rewarding.
That being said, I do no think one should ever volunteer with the expectation of thanks. I mean, I understand WANTING thanks, but expecting it? Nah. (Of course, I also dont understand TRYING to get a Pelican... but maybe that is just me.)
Where did this all come from? Well, look at my earlier post about the Pennsic changes. Right now the staff offices are being flooded with confused people (often operating from the Rumor Mill) who need answers to things and who (this one awes me) are demanding refunds for the fact that Pennsic is a day shorter this year.
Ok, I have to say that blows my mind. I would have summed up the whole thing but saying, "Yes, the day is shorter, but no, there is no refund... the event still costs money to run (more than you think) and we did not increase the price this year. And BTW, even though YOU have to go home early, the STAFF and VOLUNTEERS will still be here cleaning up. So yes, you have to leave, but the SCA will STILL be using the site to clean up the mass mess some camps leave behind. Deal with it."
(Actually, I just saw a member of the staff say pretty much the same thing. Kudos to them!)
The staff, in their post (which I thought was informative and on point), also asked people to help out more. Move hay bails, make sure your trash is in bags if it doesn't fit in the dumpster, etc. The staff have so much to deal with and some of it is out of their control - for example -they have already stated that every dumpster that the waste management company has is on site!!! They are doing what they can, so maybe some others needs to take five minutes (or five hours) and do what they can too. It's is a shame it even had to be said, but HOPEFULLY more people will pitch in, even if they don't have time to formally volunteer. Again, PLEASE keep in mind that this is everyone's vacation.
Now, back to my mind being blown and my earlier topic of "thanks". There were actually people who took insult in the official Pennsic post (printed in its entirety in my earlier entry), because they, as non-staff volunteers, were NOT singled out for thanks. Wow. Yes, the staff was thanked, but honestly, I cannot imagine that the Mayor or anyone else does not absolutely love those who pitch in. Should they have been included? If it was a formal thank you letter, YES. But really, the point of the dang post was not to lay thanks on folks, it was to inform everyone else as to what was happening and WHY and to ask them to please lay off as these VOLUNTEERS have a lot to do in setting up the event. They should NOT be contenting with whiny emails about refunds right now. Please folks, have a little understanding for what they are dealing with (and always have to deal with) and be grown up about it and understand that an omission like that is definitely not meant as an insult. Look at the bigger picture folks.
I say again, THANK you to all of the volunteers at War, official or otherwise. Thank you for making my vacation wonderful. Thank you thank you thank you all.
And yes, I will be spending some extra time helping out this year as well (no thanks necessary).