Following the astounding success of Area II’s pilot project, the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) Presented by Sunsprite Warmbloods, is being rolled out on a national stage starting this year.
Supporting and empowering volunteerism has been highlighted in recent years as the Association has looked for ways to recognize these unsung heroes of our sport. The program’s first roots began to grow thanks to the many efforts of the late Seema Sonnad, and they continued to grow thanks to the ongoing commitment of Seema’s fellow volunteer enthusiasts. VIP was officially born in December of 2015 when the USEA Board of Governors voted to approve the new program.
The cornerstone of VIP is the online volunteer management portal, available through the website at www.eventingvolunteers.com or through the smartphone app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. The online portal was generously designed by Nicolas Hinze of Eventing Synergies, a mobile and web development company.
The online management portal shows available volunteer positions and volunteering is as easy as clicking "sign up."
This online portal is designed to streamline the volunteer process both for organizers and the volunteers themselves. Organizers can post volunteer positions for their competitions, and volunteers can search and sign up for these opportunities. The app will list available jobs as well as mark when each position is filled. Volunteer hours are automatically logged using a check-in and check-out system which is available via the user-friendly smartphone app. This time-keeping system will also make it possible to track volunteer efforts on a national leaderboard, which will allow the USEA to recognize the Association’s many hardworking volunteers on a national stage each year.
Signing up is easy! Visit www.eventingvolunteers.com and click “I’m a volunteer.” This will prompt you to make a profile where you can explore open events, your leaderboards and your signups. To sign up for a volunteer shift at a competition, click “Open Events” on your dashboard. Here, you will see a list of upcoming events that are looking for volunteers. Clicking on each event listed will take you to a list of open positions, and their descriptions, as well as contact information for either the Event Organizer or Secretary.
Signing up to volunteer on the app is easy.
As the program started in Area II, there are many East Coast events utilizing the app, and other competitions around the country are starting to jump on board. Events who have signed up to participate in 2017 include The Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy Farm, Waredaca Horse Trials, Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials, The Virginia Horse Trials and Winona Horse Trials.
The VIP resources are now available for all USEA recognized competitions at gratis thanks to Sunsprite Warmbloods who have generously stepped up to cover the costs in 2017. If an Organizer wants to streamline their volunteer efforts, joining is as simple as making a profile as an organizer. Visit www.eventingvolunteers.com and click “I’m an organizer.” From here, you can make a profile for your event. Volunteer Coordinators should sign up by clicking, “I’m a volunteer.” From there, they should ask their organizer to add them as a coordinator.
It is the goal of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Committee for this program to spread from coast to coast and have events from all ten USEA Areas get involved. This sport’s security rests on the backs of our volunteers, and this program exists to not only make their experience easier, but also to recognize their tireless efforts.
The USEA would like to thank Sunsprite Warmbloods for stepping forward to make VIP available nationwide, Nicolas Hinze for developing this online portal to help support our volunteers and Area II assuming the responsibility of testing this program in its first year.
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This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).