If you’ve been feeling a bit like the person on the right lately, we’d just like to thank you for your patience and understanding regarding the website issues we’ve been having. The security upgrade we mentioned before ended up with us not only having to change servers but also our hosting company, won’t bore you with the details but it should all be business as usual again now! Please do let us know if you’re still having trouble.
In this message we’ll concentrate on a little housekeeping and general thoughts and ideas around WWOOF, rather than rules and regulation imposed on us! Although, to reassure you, we are still working on the MBIE issues with a lawyer experienced in this area but have nothing further to report yet.
As always we’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from WWOOFers and hosts who are having fun and successful exchanges. Reading through messages we received and looking at feedback, one thing that struck me was that exchanges where WWOOFers felt like family and had a sense of belonging and being part of something, they were also more likely to go the extra mile, try and do a good job and have pride in what they were doing. I know that this a bit of a generalisation but I do believe that there is some truth to it.
I want to take this a step further – thinking about what I was like when we came to NZ 14 years ago having lived in urban environments in Germany and England – I think a lot of the projects hosts offer are opportunities for amazing experiences and learning.
Here’s a message from a German WWOOFer I received today:
WWOOFing hat unser Leben absolut bereichert, da kommt wirklich keine Ausbildung und Studium an den AHA-Effekt heran.
WWOOFing has totally enriched our lives, no apprenticeship or degree course come close to the AHA-effect.
Work or fun?!
What hosts may call ‘a big job, needing lots of help bringing in hay’, a WWOOFer may well find this to be a great experience in the countryside. I loved the first three times, working with the neighbours and friends bringing in hay, it was hot, you end up with hay in places where it really shouldn’t be, itchy all over but I knew we were doing a really worth while job and the horses were going to be fed during the winter. By the time we had a BBQ and drinks after the job was done we felt great and had a sense of achievement. Stacking firewood can be very similar experience. I do have to admit that the novelty has worn off a little since then …
My point is, that hosts may have jobs that they want WWOOFers to help with, which are in fact learning experiences and can be made fun. Like making compost, feeding out, moving stock, preparing vegetable beds and even weeding and cleaning out stables – these are experiences which show what living on a farm is all about. As long has hosts are prepared to spend some time with their WWOOFers, showing, teaching and if possible working along side – I would call these opportunities to learn rather than big jobs that require workers.
So maybe there are some hosts out there who want to update their description or posts on the hotlist!
Who is liable when accidents happen?
We thought it may be worth mentioning insurance again, especially since we’ve received a message from a host who presented a certain scenario to us which we would like to share and from a WWOOFer who asked a few questions which needed researching!
A host wrote to us about a WWOOFer who had left a gate open which resulted with a calf getting out on the road and being hit by a car. The driver of the car wasn’t hurt but there was considerable damage to the car. The host was insured to cover that damage, if they hadn’t been insured the financial loss could have been significant. We thought we’d share this to highlight the importance of making sure you are covered, including liability insurance. If in doubt, talk to your insurance company and ask if you have adequate cover!
We also had a message from a couple of WWOOFers who were trying to do just that – getting personal liability cover against injuring other people or losing or breaking other peoples’ property. After writing to three insurers who we know cover volunteers, we were told that they are unable offer personal liability cover for volunteers as it is the property which needs to be insured and the assumption is that the host has got it covered!!! We will continue to look into this!
Message from CCS Disability Action
Below a message from Sandi Broersam, Transition and Vocation Coordinator. She is looking for work experience opportunities for a young man with Autism, who will be fully supported by a support worker. This is outside any WWOOF arrangements, but we thought we would share this with you in case you are able to help. Contact details are in the message!
We are looking for some work experience for a young man in the Te Puke area. He enjoys the outdoors and animals, likes farm environments, and is extremely focussed. He has Autism, and would be supported fully by a support worker while working. We are looking for as minimal as a couple of hours a week, up to multiple half days per week, and not looking for board or anything in return – it would be an awesome experience for him. He is based in Te Puke, but willing to travel to Tauranga and Rotorua for the right placement. If you think this could be a good match, please contact Sandi Broersma on 027 406 5728 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sending and responding to messages – chicken and egg situation?
A reminder for WWOOFers and hosts about writing and responding to messages when an exchange is organised:
Please make sure you read the host’s profile you are writing to and also make sure you check their availability on the calendar. The WWOOF Office profile very clearly states that it is a test profile and we do not host WWOOFers – yet I receive messages from WWOOFers ‘wanting to help on my farm’!
My suggestions for a good initial contact message would include the following:
- Proposed dates for the exchange
- Just very briefly skills and interests (as this should be covered in greater detail on your profile)
- Reasons why you are interested in WWOOFing with this host (this is where you can show you have read the host’s profile. Eg. “I see you keep bees, I’ve always wanted to learn more about beekeeping …” or “I am looking to buy my own farm in my home country, the way you are managing your organic orchard looks very interesting. I would love to help and learn more about …” Another idea is to relate previous experience to what the host is looking for.
If you follow this general format you may find that hosts are more likely to respond!
Please try and respond to all requests from WWOOFers. If you are busy, all you need to say is ‘Sorry we’re busy’. You have the option to use saved replies, which is only a few clicks to send the message and we are currently trying to make this even simpler!
Maybe WWOOFers will send fewer bulk messages if they know they receive an answer!
We would like to add to the cover photo on the website and make a rotation between a number of images. So we need photos, please!! We are looking for pictures that are typically New Zealand, that show what New Zealand and WWOOFing and what the kiwi experience is all about. Images need to be landscape and of course high resolution. Full photo credit will be given.