Every three months the grassed area outside the Hangar (our affectionate name for our training building) transforms into a sea of tents, more reminiscent of Glastonbury than Chilmark, as up to 50 people from all walks of life start arriving for the Team Rubicon UK Induction and Core Skills course. Some initial reticence is quickly over come as people help their neighbours pitch their tents, their home for the next two nights. Staying in tents provides our volunteers with an important, if sometimes chilly, introduction to the kind of living conditions they will be in if deployed.
The Induction and Core Skills course is a volunteer’s first taste of Team Rubicon UK, and their first step to becoming a Disaster Responder. After completing some pre-learning online, volunteers spend the weekend finding out more about Team Rubicon UK and each other. They get hands on experience with our kit and equipment, undertake practical skills training and various exercises. People skills and good communication come in just as valuable as being able to use a hammer, read a map and compass or tie a bowline as volunteers complete tasks and scenarios based on actual disaster response operations like navigating Chillers Close post flooding and meeting Mrs Miggins and her neighbours.
Volunteers will be taught the foundations needed to be able to understand humanitarianism, Team Rubicon UK culture and values, and how to operate in a post-disaster environment in the UK as a Greyshirt (our term for our volunteers).
A common thread that unites the volunteers on these weekends; a desire to give back, to find purpose and belonging amongst like minded people, a willingness to put service before self, to find their role and to do whatever is required to help those facing their darkest day.
On Sunday afternoon, as the course comes to an end, the Hangar is a buzz with excitement, chatter, high fives and hugs as those who successfully complete the course get awarded their own grey shirt, a symbol of their hard work and commitment. They are officially part of the TRibe. There is no need to say ‘cheese’ for the course graduation photo, everyone is already smiling ear to ear. A group of strangers two days ago now sound more like long lost friends. They leave the weekend with the skills and knowledge that will mean when there’s a disaster in the UK, they will be able to put themselves forward to help those most in need.
This training course was an amazing experience where I not only learnt new, invaluable skills, but also met some extraordinary people who helped me push through the freezing cold training days with a constant smile on my face. The Team Rubicon UK values are one of a kind and the whole training felt like a massive family reunion of distant relatives you never even knew you had – ‘Greyshirts Always’Helena, new Greyshirt
To volunteer as a disaster responder and become a Greyshirt