Rebecca Curtis, fundraising officer for Lothian Autistic Society, likes to volunteer in her community – even if it freaks people out!
I am, as many of my friends describe me, the Queen of the awkward. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t say or do the wrong thing, or get involved in some sort of hilarious mishap.
In my first week in my new post at Lothian Autistic Society, I managed to wrongly accuse a man I hardly knew of stealing my precious sandwich, which happened to be on a shelf at home. Luckily, he took it quite well, and in time, I am confident that we can move past what can only be described as bagel-gate. Only last week I attended an Institute of Fundraising event looking like a circus ringmaster after ruining my outfit in a spectacular bike accident during a thunderstorm.
So, like many people who work in the third sector, I’m a little unusual, to say the least. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of individuality – surely that’s what attracts a lot of us to the third sector in the first place.
Who among us can truly say they don’t have an unusual skill or hobby? It just so happens my hidden talents recently came to the fore on a darkened industrial estate, where I growled, chased and scared the living daylights out of paying members of the public. You may be wondering why I spent my Saturday night roaming the suburbs of Edinburgh, covered in blood and screaming bloody murder – when it started to rain torrentially at around 10pm, I started to wonder myself.
If you think anyone with a bad case of the flu or a particularly nasty hangover could pass for a zombie – think again
There was, though, method in the madness – I had volunteered to be part of an undead army, whose function was to frighten the wits out of players of zombie chase game 2.8 Hours Later. If I volunteered, not only did I get to be a zombie for the night, but I also got a free ticket to play another night!
I mean, who could say no to that (apart from anyone who has a totally justified fear of zombies)?!
Being a zombie isn’t as easy as it looks, though. If you think anyone with a bad case of the flu or a particularly nasty hangover could pass for a zombie – think again. In order to truly master the art of zombie-ing, one must pass the aptly named Zombie School – a CV-worthy qualification, of course.
After three hours of vocal and physical training involving the learned arts of screaming, leg dragging and uncoordinated running, the results were in: the entire class had passed (it was possible to fail the class) – zombie high fives all round!
Equipped with a date and a venue, it was only a two-week wait until the zombie apocalypse was set to hit Edinburgh. Slightly nervous and kitted out with supplies and around 10 layers of clothing, I arrived at Zombie HQ where – after a short game briefing by a man who looked and spoke like Bernard Black (slightly distracting, to say the least) – we were assigned our zombie zones for the evening. We were then put through what I can only describe as the best pampering session I have ever had (I hate normal make up – blood, however, brings out my skin tone), and shipped out to our zones.
It wasn’t long before I was kitted out in ripped scrubs, roaming the streets of Sighthill looking for my next victim to infect with my zombie virus.
So what did I learn from my brief experience as a member of the undead?
Firstly, volunteering is a great way of meeting new people, trying something new, and learning new skills – even if those skills involve terrorising members of the public
Secondly, being a zombie is hard work. No wonder they eat all those brains!
Thirdly, I really suit scrubs (see picture). Perhaps time for a career change?
And lastly – boy, I can scream!
Rebecca Curtis is fundraising officer for Lothian Autistic Society. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_curtis.
Got a volunteering experience that beats Rebecca’s? Tell us at [email protected].