Volunteers are an essential part of Surf Cascais. Not because we rely on “free” work to get by, but because they sit somewhere between guests and staff, often bridging the two together. They help us getting things done, yes, and in return have “free” accommodation and access to all our activities. But this is much more than a simple quid pro quo. More often than not we become friends, and this contributes to the family-like atmosphere at the core of Surf Cascais. It makes guests feel at home, but it also makes the staff feel welcomed every day. I will give you an example: this morning, after her breakfast shift ended, Talea decided to use the pears that were going to waste to make a crumble. When everyone came back from the beach, it was on the kitchen table for both guests and instructors to enjoy. Cliché as it is to say, this is what Surf Cascais is all about.
So, for this month’s blogpost we decided to do two things: first we will give you a rundown of a day in the life of the volunteer; then we will share with you a first-hand account of the experience in a podcast with Kato Degrave.
If you’re on breakfast shift and tide gods are kind, there is no reason to wake up before 07h30. You can stumble out of the tower and start preparing everything. Eight to ten is breakfast time and everyone needs their coffee. You can have some as well, especially on a Friday morning. Then, once everyone leaves for the surf lesson you can finally pack up everything, do the inventory and clean the downstairs area. It can be intense, but by 12h00 you are free to enjoy your day.
If you worked in morning, this is the time to chill. Maybe a nap by the pool? Or maybe you slept like a baby and want to join the surf lesson? It is always easier to join the second lesson, so this is your chance. Or maybe you feel like going to Lisbon, Cascais or Sintra and do some sightseeing? There is plenty of time for that as well. Basically, you can enjoy life in whatever way you feel like.
(P.S.: There is one cleaning shift per month, which means that once or twice during your stay, maximum, you’ll have to work morning and afternoon.)
If you are doing bar shift you had until 18h00 to do whatever you wanted, so now it is time to make sure the house is tidy and the guests can get their beers. Most nights are pretty chill, but when we serve family dinners there is a bit more work to be done: from setting the table, helping with the dinner and cleaning everything afterwards, you’ll have to do a bit of everything. Because of these, there is always more than one volunteer on shift during family dinner and BBQ nights. Everyone helps one another and everyone laughs with — sometimes at — one another. Then, once everything is done, you can join the party in Bocanero. Or maybe go to sleep early. Probably Bocanero…
If you want to volunteer, you will be doing one of these shifts for 5 days per week. Each of them lasts 5h, which means your work week includes five 5h days and two days off. You can surf on all of them, get to know interesting people and work with our amazing team. But don’t take my word for it, just listen to the podcast below with (now) former volunteer Kato Degrave.