Sunday, July 20

The ICSS BBQ, 2008

This is now the third time I'm writing about an ICSS BBQ and I find myself struggling to post anything original. I said last year about how we had improved on 2006, and the trend seems to have continued - 2008's really was awesome.

I think it comes down to the maturity of the event - the one thing I was impressed with was how we had all learned from previous mistakes and fixed them this time around. So for example we didn't try to cram in too much fun and games today - there was just the one activity going on at any one time. We also made sure that the volunteers and kids had been well fed before any external guests arrived. We had also managed to clear up in record time at the end.

All this made for a much smoother ride than the previous years. Everyone helping out (and there were quite a few) took their role and responsibility in their strides and we were never once chasing our tails. Food flowed faster than ever, with the maximum waiting time only being a couple of minutes - we once again seemed to hit the 300-350 mark of mouths fed so the fact not many went hungry is a sign that the cooking seems to have gotten better.

The main event this time around was a talk by a the local police-community engagement team - they spent fifteen minutes or so talking about what the job of the police is and why targeted stop and search was a good idea (I held my peace). They even brought a portable metal detector; the kids were more than eager to walk through it!

As usual, the best thing for us was the feedback. A large proportion of the guests were just dropping by, and didn't really have an association with ICSS before they had come; they now have an idea of who we are and what we're trying to achieve, many choosing to sign up as further volunteers. The rest had nothing to say but compliments and how impressed they were with how such a small organisation could host such an event.

I hoped/predicted last year that the annual ICSS BBQ would outgrow the organisation itself and become an event in its own right, and from what I saw today this almost seems to have been the case. Of course it's important for us as an organisation to leverage the popularity of the BBQ for the benefit of ICSS, but in the meantime I have to say that I'm pretty proud to be part of the team that owns such an occasion.