Today we have received amazing news from the European Parliament. The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation has been awarded the esteemed European Citizen's Prize, which honours exceptional achievements of European citizens and organization.
It all started – no surprise here – at Woodstock! We have always been in love with the Woodstock Festival of 1969, but the immediate impulse to try and have a Woodstock of our own came from “Woodstock ‘94”, organised to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original event. It was at this event – at the 1994 celebration of the 'Love, Friendship, Music' – that a group of people wearing T-shirts with the words “Peace Patrol” provided help and information to festival attendees for the first time.
The idea to create such a group of volunteers to support the festival proved to be successful and it seemed that it would be worth trying to bring it to Poland too. The recruitment into our Polish Peace Patrol started when the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity was working on its first Woodstock Festival Poland in Czymanowo. The future Patrollers were found among young people who were involved in the work of the Foundation and among the listeners and viewers of Jurek Owsiak’s radio and TV programs. A key rule emerged then and it still applies today: working in the Peace Patrol is voluntary and the Patrollers don't receive any financial compensation for their work. However, in exchange for their involvement, they can use a special campsite located in the backstage area at the festival and are offered free meals prepared in our festival field kitchen.
Before coming to Woodstock, all Peace Patrollers have to complete a special training program. The training includes first aid course, survival elements and team-building exercises as well as an introduction to the rules and regulations of mass events organization.
The venue is located in a beautiful area of Poland - surrounded by lovely landscape. Some lucky Peace Patrollers not only go back to Szadowo-Młyn but also keep returning there every weekend. How come? When you are a Patroller, each training session boosts your chance to go up the Peace Patrol ladder. With time, with enough personal involvement and strong will you might even become a Peace Patrol Leader and start training others. Everything is possible!
So who registers for our training? The participants, who usually come alone, are people who decided to fight a battle against themselves and against their weaknesses. They want to overcome the fear of being alone and of meeting complete strangers. After a while, the groups, though created at random, start to become true teams. One day later, these people start to see one another as friends. When the training comes to an end, they can all say with confidence: all for one, one for all! The Patrollers go back home with a document certifying that they passed the exam and are trained in first aid. Apart from this, they know everything they need to know about the legal aspect of working at a mass event. Every Patroller receives a special red T-shirt he or she will wear at Pol'and'Rock Festival. These unique T-shirts are worn by the Patrollers for identification – wherever they might be, they will be recognised.
Everyone is invited to become a Patroller, including people from other countries. As a rule, our training is provided in Polish but if you manage to organise an enthusiastic group of speakers of English who want to join us, we will be glad to organise an English language training session for you!