One of the aims of parkrun is to be inclusive to many diversities, who would like to run or walk 5km on a Saturday morning. By being inclusive, parkrun allows and fosters the positive opportunity for people to have a sense of belonging and ability to contribute to the community.
In Dubbo, we have a group known as ORISCON, who positively contribute to the fabric of society in our town. The Orana Residents of Indian Sub-Continental Heritage or ORISCON, based in Dubbo is a voluntary community group consisting of people from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and their diasporas hailing from the rest of the World, such as Fiji, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore etc; to celebrate their rich cultural heritage.
Several weeks before the 24th June, members of ORISCON, who had been participating in parkrun on a regular and individual basis, galvanised their group to form the bulk of the volunteers for the 24th June. Many of the group had not volunteered before and some had not actually experienced the fun of our Saturday mornings together before.
I was their Run Director, and so I was a little worried about how they would manage with the tasks of marshalling, tail walking, timing, tokens and scanning, due to being new for many. As we parkrun directors know, if there is something that can go wrong, like dropped tokens, stopwatch glitches or scanning errors, it often will, and does!
What was the outcome on that morning of the 24th June?
Everything in all the roles went off ‘like clockwork’, and more importantly, the ORISCON volunteers enjoyed the experience and are keen to help again as Dubbo parkrun volunteers. I asked ORISCON as a group, three questions and here are the answers that reflect their desire for belonging and contributing.
How did Oriscon get involved in volunteering as a group on that day?
“A few of our members were already participating in parkrun. One of them, Bikendra, also happened to be an ORISCON committee member. He proposed that we should volunteer as a group, and this was readily accepted by all our members. The entire committee participated on the day, and the initiation led to continued participation by some of our members. We enjoyed contributing to the morning, and we thank you for the opportunity to assist Dubbo residents to be active, healthy and happy. This is a great initiative and we would be very happy to support it in the future.”
How did the group enjoy the experience?
“Our members loved every minute of it. ORISCON members were impressed with the strong management of the event, as well as the sense of fun and happy spirit by all those who were supporting it. Events such as this bring the community closer, and ORISCON committee members would willingly support the parkrun in the future. Some of our members have taken to parkrun as ‘fish to water’, going every week and improving their PBs!”
Would the group consider volunteering again at some stage?
“Yes, we would willingly volunteer at Dubbo parkrun in the future.”
Thank you ORISCON. We appreciate your valuable contribution and look forward to seeing you at parkrun as runners, walkers and volunteers!
Dubbo Run Director
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