Another acknowledgment

The Osijek Volunteer Center recognized the importance of the Pannonian Challenge, which invests in young people every year, educates them and helps them in finding a job.

On the occasion of the International Volunteer Day, which has traditionally been celebrated by the Volunteer Center of Osijek, on Wednesday (July 5th), important prizes and awards have been awarded, which are the best confirmation of good practice examples at the local level. Among the winners was again the Pannonian Association, which for its long years of engagement got another acknowledgment for the development of a volunteer program that is recognizable throughout the region.

The association is responsible for the Pannonian Challenge, the largest extreme sports festival in this part of Europe, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and which, from its very beginnings, includes young volunteers in its organizational processes. Each year, the Pannonian Association, with nearly 300 entries, has to choose one hundred of the most promising ones, who in turn get education, long-term investment and ultimately help in finding a job. This was best confirmed by Stefani Šešum, project manager at Pannonian Association, who has been the volunteer coordinator of the most famous festival in Osijek for the past few years.

Pannonian Challenge included volunteers in their work for the first time in 2010, and since then I’ve been a part of it as well. For the first few years I have seen the opportunity to learn and make new friends in volunteering, and soon my commitment was recognized, so I was appointed volunteer co-ordinator at the festival itself. Thus, the very fact that in few years one can progress considerably proves that the association provides a chance for the young people and awards their hard work and enables them with knowledge that they can apply in their future life – said Stefani Šešum, pointing out that their volunteers, called VolonterOS by Pannonian team, are the leading force behind the success of the Pannonian Challenge itself, which is best confirmed by the new recognition of the Volunteer Center Osijek.

So, a good co-ordination of volunteers is essential for the proper functioning of the festival, and this year young Mateja Drulak is in charge of that task.

As the Pannonian Challenge grows, so do the obligations in which volunteers help us, from the skate park maintenance on the left bank of the Drava, to the contributions to the music concerts in Vega. Therefore, our main goal is to enable volunteers to experience as many different experiences as possible and thus to foster their personal growth and progress, and through entertainment and socializing we want to thank them for everything they do for this event – explains coordinator Mateja Drulak, noting the great role of sponsor such as Zagrebačka banka, Tratinčica, Mesnica Ravlić, Čipi-Čips and many others, which provide volunteers with food, drinks, prizes and gift packages, contributing to the creation of an unforgettable experience.

Finally, one should also recall the interesting statistical information behind the Pannonian Association’s volunteers, which best illustrate the quality of their volunteer program. The last Pannonian Challenge, nineteenth, held in the middle of this year, there were as many as 100 young volunteers, who put over 3350 volunteer hours of work. These are young people, mostly between the ages of 16 and 19, who have shown responsibility and maturity with their involvement in the festival, selflessly improving the quality of life in the city of Osijek. The Pannonian Association will therefore continue to develop a volunteer program to encourage young people to engage more in the community and prepare them for life.

Volunteer experiences

„Two years ago, I volunteered for the first time at Pannonian Challenge, last year I did it again and I was thrilled with the event, people, and good vibes in Osijek during those days. I am very glad that the Pannonian Challenge is part of Osijek because it raises the atmosphere in these sad and dark years. During the volunteering, I gained various experiences and met different people who enriched my life and made me want to be a part of PC again, to gain new friends and to develop my communication skills and gain some new knowledge.“ – Lucija Ravlić

„I’m looking for new experiences that will help me in future activities. I want to improve some things like communication, teamwork and openness. I want to contribute to this event that I have been following for years and I decided to be part of it this year. I like extreme sports and I want to learn something more about them. Also, I think I have some of the traits that are needed for volunteering, such as adaptability and good will and motivation.“ – Dorotea Živalj

„I’ve just turned 15 years and now I can volunteer like my brother. Watching him volunteer for a couple of years in a row and seeing how pleased he was made me want to experience the same thing.“ – Tin Jakovljević