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Voluntario Program restarting in June 2021

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hello all!

I recently received this notice from the ACC (Acogida Cristiana en los Caminos de Santiago) regarding the volunteer program, both at some albergues and at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. As you know the program was necessarily shut down when the world went into lockdown early in 2020. I last worked there in August 2019.

Now, as the world restarts, and the Camino comes alive, the daily arrival numbers at the Pilgrim Office are quickly rising. The ACC and office management are getting ready for what will likely be a very busy July, August and September. The 2021 annual numbers will be very low compared to a pre-pandemic year. But, the summer period in 2021 is likely to see a lot of released pent up demand.

Personally, I have asked for a volunteer stint in September, as I am still recuperating from a very serious illness.

If you are interested, here is the URL: https://mailchi.mp/6bb3421d7ea3/voluntariado-acc-2021?e=3769cc0d06

BTW, the volunteer in the photo is our own Tim S. from Aberdeen, Scotland. He is a personal friend and we have volunteered together several times.

My take away from this is that we are getting back to normal poco a poco.

Ultreia!

Tom
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Good Lord! I had assumed you were dead ... a resurrection - Marvellous!! Welcome home.
I am recovering from a case of acute necrotizing pancreatitis, brought on by a sequence of errors when I had my gall bladder removed on 3 February. The bacterial infection is gone. But, the mother of all pancreatitis cases continues to plague my days.

All I can do is offer it up, persevere, and carry on.

Ultreia!

Tom
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I am recovering from a case of acute necrotizing pancreatitis, brought on by a sequence of errors when I had my gall bladder removed on 3 February. The bacterial infection is gone. But, the mother of all pancreatitis cases continues to plague my days.

All I can do is offer it up, persevere, and carry on.

Ultreia!

Tom
Very sorry to hear of your illness. Wishing you a full recovery soon!
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Yes I do. I have been writing the folks in Santiago, warning of the likely consequences of the pent-up demand of frustrated people who ended up saving money as they had nothing to spend it on, and accelerating vaccination rates across most of Europe.

My position has been that, on an annual basis, 2021 will be a fraction of 2019 pilgrim arrivals. However, as the world restarts, the pent-up demand is going to see a surge in pilgrim arrivals staring in late June.

My hypothesis is that the last 3 - 4 months of the pilgrim season may actually resemble a pre-pandemic year - even if the annualized totals are very small. The major routes, like the Camino Frances and Camino Portuguese, are already seeing rapidly increasing daily pilgrim volumes.

This is a lot like turning on a coiled garden hose. The water has to fill the hose (Camino route) for a time before the surge arrives at the other end (Santiago). But, the pilgrims are coming.

Once the Camino routes are populated, the result will be increased pilgrim arrivals. That populating process is occurring now, and for the rest of June.

In my opinion, it is going to be "all hands to the pumps" at the Pilgrim Office once all the Spanish and Portuguese pilgrims take their annual holidays in July and August. Then there are all the groups who could not walk in 2020, and can now avail themselves of the Holy Year Jubilee Indulgence. Finally, all the non-EU folks who should be able to fly into Spain this autumn, once the government gets things sorted.

Many non-EU folks, from Canada, the US and beyond, will likely show up in late August and September. The 2021 season could simply shift to the last half of the year. We MAY see increased pilgrimage and arrivals right through Christmas.

I do not have a crystal ball. But I do have experience, both as a Pilgrim Office volunteer and professionally, as a process analyst. this is my assessment based on reading four Spanish newspapers daily throughout the pandemic lockdown, as well as the information I glean from my Spanish and European sources.

Only my recuperation prevents me from asking for a longer volunteer period, sooner than September. My need to be back there, helping pilgrims is nearly a physical longing. I went through morphine withdrawal in the hospital in March, so I sort of understand this feeling. I NEED to be back there.

I hope to see many of you there. Get vaccinated, follow the Spanish rules for entering Spain, and make your plans accordingly.

Ultreia!

Tom
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I just noticed an email from the ACC, asking for my volunteering. Must sort out my plans first.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
There will be a need for volunteer hospitaleros as well. I shall be in Spain from mid-September to the end of November this year, but I have decided not to volunteer. I have two years of walking to do. And with my new knee, I may walk a little more slowly than normal. But I hope to volunteer next year. Ultreia!
 

TinaPEI

Member
Past OR future Camino
Hopefully sometime....
I am happy to hear you are doing well. Offering it up is so hard for me, I am a wimp! I hope you are better at it than I! Lol. I would love to volunteer one day, but I ama French teacher and would like to inprove my French. Does anyone know how to volunteer at the pilgrim's office in SJPdP?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I recommend you contact 'MonaSP' That is her forum ID. Mona is the manager of the Pilgrim Office at Saint Jean Pied de Port. My experience is that she is very responsive and pleasant.

Actually, I am interested in the process as well.

Ultreia!

Tom
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Past OR future Camino
2018
Hello all!

I recently received this notice from the ACC (Acogida Cristiana en los Caminos de Santiago) regarding the volunteer program, both at some albergues and at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. As you know the program was necessarily shut down when the world went into lockdown early in 2020. I last worked there in August 2019.

Now, as the world restarts, and the Camino comes alive, the daily arrival numbers at the Pilgrim Office are quickly rising. The ACC and office management are getting ready for what will likely be a very busy July, August and September. The 2021 annual numbers will be very low compared to a pre-pandemic year. But, the summer period in 2021 is likely to see a lot of released pent up demand.

Personally, I have asked for a volunteer stint in September, as I am still recuperating from a very serious illness.

If you are interested, here is the URL: https://mailchi.mp/6bb3421d7ea3/voluntariado-acc-2021?e=3769cc0d06

BTW, the volunteer in the photo is our own Tim S. from Aberdeen, Scotland. He is a personal friend and we have volunteered together several times.

My take away from this is that we are getting back to normal poco a poco.

Ultreia!

Tom
Glad you are better! And back here.
 
Past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola @t2andreo . G'Day Tom and yes a very warm welcome back to the Forum. (You be a good boy from now on you hear??).
Jenny advised us at Saturday's Sydney Pilgrims that you returned.

Now for the new - glad to hear that the Santiago Pilgrim Office is back up and running (soon). I was scheduled to volunteer there in Oct 2020, but of course those plans went out the window. I have "plans" to return to walk the Porto Camino sometime in 2022. So I will continue my Spanish lessons and try to pin down some dates to do that volunteering. Cheers from Down Under.
 
Past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola Tom - my first reply was before I had read through all the other "warm and friendly" greetings. So sorry to hear about your problem. I join my other pilgrim amigos in wishing a speedy and total recovery. Cheers
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
This is an update to my OP.

My sources report that the ACC office is very busy scheduling volunteers for the remainder of the 2021 season. As of now, they are sending confirmations for volunteer assignments in late July and August. I have a request pending for a two week stint in September. No word yet.

One thing that has changed is that, to train as many volunteers as possible, they are overlapping two-week assignments. This means that a new group of volunteers will arrive every week. This permits the "veterans" to show the new folks how things work and what to do.

The ACC are 'spooling up' to handle the coming Holy Year surge. The big difference is that it will come late in 2021 and in 2022. But come it will. Expanding the pool of trained volunteers is an excellent step.

A lot has changed since late 2019, when volunteers last helped out.

First, there are the remaining COVID safety provisions - the queue remains on the street - pilgrims are not permitted to enter and mill about the Pilgrim Welcome Center campus. This is COVID related.

Then, there is a new, bifurcated process for issuing Compostelas. There is a new electronic system for minimizing person-to-person contact, and obtaining electronic credential sellos along the Camino by scanning QR codes at accommodations, cafes, churches, etc. This operates in parallel with the traditional paper credential.

I was informed that either is acceptable. But mixing and matching is not allowed. Choose one method to support your request for the Compostela. Of course you can go electronic and also obtain and maintain the credential for your personal enjoyment.

In this regard, what I do not yet know is whether they are downloading the sellos to validate them, then using the personal identity "tombstone" data, input to the smartphone app, to print a Compostela and (optional) Distance Certificate on a laser printer using calligraphic fonts. I had been advocating this for some years, along with the electronic sello concept. My system was different, but their's works as well.

If anyone in the forum has recently worked as a volunteer at the Pilgrim Office, I would like to know:
  1. how they are handling the established, manual process, and the new electronic assisted process - does the electronic assist process work and does it expedite processing?
  2. how the single, long queue is being handled once they get to the security person(s) at the front door. Is it being split into two flows to go two directions?
  3. are they still issuing queue QR codes at the entry, so you know how long you have to wait?
  4. are pilgrims being allowed to 'hang out' inside the campus until their turn to be interviewed arrives?
  5. where are the 2021 volunteers being lodged?
All of us who aspire to volunteer at Santiago would benefit from this information. I don't want to wait until September to see it all first-hand.

In a normal year, I would be flying to Santiago for a month-long volunteer assignment three-weeks from now. But, this year, illness laid me low. I am recuperating fast, and am planning to be able to do a two -week assignment in September.

Thanks in advance for the assist.

Tom
 

Jim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2006- Camino Portuguese
2008- Camino Frances
2009- Sanabres extension of the VDLP
2010- Camino Frances
2011- Camino Potuguese
2014- Camino Frances
2017- Camino Finisterre
I am recovering from a case of acute necrotizing pancreatitis, brought on by a sequence of errors when I had my gall bladder removed on 3 February. The bacterial infection is gone. But, the mother of all pancreatitis cases continues to plague my days.

All I can do is offer it up, persevere, and carry on.

Ultreia!

Tom
Prayers for you as you battle to rid yourself of it once and for all!
 

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