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Amigos Welcome Service 2014 - 200,000 thanks


Nunca se camina solo
With huge thanks to the 54 Amigos who worked as volunteers in the Amigos Welcome Service this year. All of them are either members of APOC, the Irish Society, the Confraternity of Saint James in the UK or the Dutch Association. In total they welcomed an incredible 199,334 pilgrims who arrived between 1 May when they started and yesterday when they finished! THANK YOU.

In the photo: Annette Argall, Cheryl Grasmoen and Bill DeKay - all APOC board members with Bill Manderfield also a member of APOC with Billy, Laurent and Clara members of the Dutch Association.


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Having done this in May, I can say what I know many other amigos have said and felt -- and that is, that you get way way more than you give, as is usually the case with volunteering. Being able to share the moment of arrival at the pilgrims' office with so many different people, and understanding the uniqueness of each person's pilgrimage, really leaves you in awe of the whole dang camino and its magic. I know that a few people had their gripes, but overwhelmingly, those who have done it would repeat it in a heartbeat! And not so much because we think we give such a vital service, but rather because we are privileged to be on the "other side" for a short while and can see what the camino means for and does to people. It's awesome, guys.


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Year of past OR future Camino
I was proud to have served as a volunteer Amigo, for APOC, for two weeks at the beginning of June this year. I look forward to returning in 2015.

"Santa Brad" informed me in July that I would not be receiving coal in my Christmas stocking this year as a consequence of my "good works" while serving as an Amigo... So, I plan to ask Santa for Rosetta Stone Spanish this year. We will see if Santa delivers... Hopefully, I am not pushing my luck...

Yes, of course I believe! Once you stop believing you have to grow up. Those are the rules of the game. I refuse to grow up! Duh!?!?;)

My team of Amigos was fabulous. Also, we interacted great with our friends from the Netherlands who ran the Huiskammer upstairs, over the restrooms. I cannot say enough good things about the experience.

I just read my copy of the 2014 Amigo Program report and was very impressed by the scope and professionalism. Thank you Johnnie and Jim!

That said, I am most intrigued by the mention of a planned NEW Pilgrim Office. Got protection for the huddled masses of arriving pilgrims? ¿Qué hay de nuevo viejo? (What's up doc?)
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And thank you John and Stephen in Santiago for the massive amount of work, co-ordination, energy and resource that you put in behind the scenes to make sure that the Amigos and the other volunteer programs run so smoothly through the year.

Enjoy your time in Japan :).

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