Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Fake Volunteer Story

Presently in Europe....it doesn't matter which country you are talking about.....but the Red Cross figures into a lot of refugee assistance affairs.  To be honest, most governments just don't have the emergency services routine down as a primary task of the government.  It'd be different if emergencies routinely occurred....like floods or hurricanes.  But in most countries of the EU....it's just awful rare that you have an emergency in some region more than once or twice a year.

There's been this trend noticed in the Netherlands....which probably won't get discussed much in Germany or via the state-run TV news media.  Negativity over the Red Cross mission in assisting refugees has been noticed.....so such a degree.....that they had to do an internal audit to asses how bad the situation really is.

One of the commercial news networks got ahold of the report (Nos is the network). Out of the national network of 30,000 volunteers.....they were able to survey 1,300 members.  Basically....twenty-percent refuse to help in the refugee crisis.

Yep, one out of five.

In two weeks, there's supposed to be a meeting of the Red Cross leadership in the Netherlands.  Right now, the main purpose of the meeting is to get the twenty-five district 'bosses' to admit how many of their people aren't willing to 'go-the-distance'.

You can imagine the assessments going on each district.  Some guy will invite the 'gang' out to the Red Cross hall or some pub, and then have a neighborly and good-hearted discussion about being a volunteer and what it all means.  Somewhere around the twenty-minute point.....he'll cross the line and say something negative about being a "fake-volunteer".

The "fake-volunteer" will be some character who only comes to this type of emergency or helps this type of person.  He will inject at this point that he doesn't want fakes on his team.

At that point, half of the people at the table will get up and walk out the door.

The boss will sit there for a minute.....kinda consumed by the loss of half his volunteer force and turn to the number two guy for a moment of inspiration.

The number two guy will respond that it's a momentary thing.  Volunteers who routinely deal with refugees....start getting a bit disturbed when they see a trend or vicious act within a refugee center. They talk about it and eventually become negative.  The number two guy assures the boss....as time passes...more people will become 'fake-volunteers', and it'll continue as long as there is a full-time and ongoing crisis.

This guy goes to the big national meeting and lays out his results.  Some groups were lucky and only lost five-percent of their volunteers.....some lost a quarter....some lost half.  The national chief will talk about recruitment and how people need to go out into the community and look for fresh new volunteers.  A year later, they will repeat this exercise again as they realize they have another round of fake-volunteers to endure.

It's a harsh reality for being a volunteer.  No matter what you did on the good side for the past twenty years....once you turn some corner and reach a point of negativity about the end-point of the volunteer work....there's no rehab or 'coach-talk' to get you back onto the straight and narrow path.  Once you've stood and watched enough....you get this bad taste in your mouth and it's hard to just overlook certain things.

I can understand the worried nature of the Dutch Red Cross and the fear of fake-volunteers.  But the Red Cross wasn't really created as a full-time profession or to be a continual baby-sitter for adults.  You'd have an emergency and then gather to assist....wrap up the emergency, and then go home.  In a way, you basically now need a Red Cross to help the Red Cross.  And I don't believe that being acceptable in this situation.

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