Report by an English volunteer at the Ski Jump World Cup in Germany

From 28th to 29th December 2022, Johanniter in Allgäu welcomed six volunteers from Austria and one English volunteer who joined in the provision of first aid at the Ski Jump World Cup in Oberstdorf. About 38,000 visitors were present at the big Schattenberg ski jump hill for the opening jumping competition of the Four Hills Tournament.

After the report by the Austrian volunteer Richard last month, you can now read about the experience of Samantha from St John Ambulance in England:

“I have recently returned from a volunteer swap in Germany to help the other volunteers at the Ski Jump in Oberstdorf. I applied to do the swap to gain more experience in a different setting whilst also working with people I hadn’t met before to further enhance the skills I already gained in St John Ambulance.

I met the volunteers at the hub on the first morning of the event to have our brief for the day. I was quite nervous as everyone knew each other but was made very welcome. We then made our way to the event, which was a lovely scenic route through South Germany. Once there, we set up the treatment centre for where we would be based before the spectators came in. We then went through the kit so I could see what their volunteers have and use which was quite similar to ours but a few differences from what we do at St John. During the day, we had a couple of patients, of which one was a medical situation I hadn’t had before, so this offered me a new opportunity to deal with something new. During the day, we got to see some of the ski jumping while we had no patients. The ski jumping was something I had not seen before, so I found this very interesting. After the spectators left, we had a debrief of the day to find out what went well and what we could do differently for the next day.

As it was a two-day event, I was back the next day with most of the volunteers from the first day but some new volunteers too, so it was again nice to meet more volunteers. We once again met at the hub and went straight to Kempten. I was at a different treatment centre on day two, which was by the slope and offered amazing views of the event. We had our briefing for the day right next to the slope on the snow, which was amazing. Before the public spectators came in, we were allowed to take the lift to the top of the ski jump ramp to take photos and see the views across the mountains and Oberstdorf village below. The view was breath-taking and an opportunity for which I was very thankful. It was great to see the slope from this view and a bit scary at the same time looking down as it’s higher than it looks from the ground! 

We then headed back to the treatment centre, ready for patients. On this site were more patients on this day, and it was busier due to the finals, but it was a great atmosphere. I also had the chance to look at the ambulance to see the set-up and the equipment they carry.

I had many conversations with volunteers here to learn what they do as volunteers is similar to my activities with some differences, which were good to find out. At the end of the event, we then took the treatment centre down and packed it. After our debriefing at the event, we returned to the unit with the treatment centre in luggage. When we got back to the unit, some of us went to the lounge there for a social catch-up. Six volunteers from Austria had come over for this event and it was enjoyable as I got to know everyone better in this setting. We then called it a night as it had been two long working days and I had to fly home the following day.

I can honestly say taking part in the Volunteer Swap was one of the best things I have done. Doing a duty somewhere outside of your normal area is a bit nerve-wracking, but everyone was so helpful and welcomed me from another country, and I knew if I needed them, I could ask for help at any time, which offered a lot of reassurance. I have made some great friends from this swap who I will keep in contact with, along with coming home with fantastic memories of the experience. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had and would recommend anyone looking at a volunteer swap to do it; they will not regret it!”