Over the years I've built up a collection of bits and pieces that I find helpful when leading a National Trust Working Holiday, whether it be planning the shopping list, keeping the vols entertained with games, or whatever. An assistant leader suggested that I put some of this information online, so here it is.

Please help yourself and feel free to edit the files as you see fit.

To download a file to your hard disk, right click on the link and select "Save Target As...".

Shopping list (MS Excel, 51KB)
Fill in the headcount and duration at the top of the page.
Now work out how much stuff you need for each meal (don't rely on the recipes in Katie's Cookbook to feed 12 without a side order of veg!), put the quantities in the appropriate column, and the spreadsheet will work out how much you're likely to need for the whole week. The type code should more or less sort things into the same area of the supermarket so that you only need to look at a section at a time.

The "Own" column (column A) is a note to yourself to bring certain things from home, e.g. herbs, salt. The "To get" column (column B) contains formulae and will generate an X against each item that you don't need. Alternatively, you can use Excel's Data Filter function to filter out the things that you don't need to get: just left-click on the arrow at the top of the "To get" column and select "(Blanks)".

Another hint: print out two or three copies of the list if you're going to have someone helping you with the shopping, and divide the list up so that each person knows which items they're getting.

Pre-holiday question checklist (MS Word, 28KB)
A list of questions that you might find helpful when doing your pre-holiday planning - most of it is a list of items that may or may not be available at the basecamp but probably won't be mentioned in the leader's pack that you receive. Asking some of these questions should help you with your menu planning and your packing, and may make a significant difference to your budget!

Welcome speech & minibus checklist (MS Word, 34KB)
A checklist to make sure that you cover the important points in your welcome speech on the first evening, and an abbreviated list for checking over the minibus when you first take responsibility for it.

Rotas (MS Word, 70KB)
Includes rotas for six, seven, eight, nine and ten people. Each person is represented on the rota by a letter, so all you have to do is write everyone's names on the key at the top of the relevant page. It's a good idea to leave either the leader or the assistant off the rota, preferably the minibus driver, as this will leave them free to run emergency errands to the shop / muck in where needed / deal with any other problems that may crop up.
You might like to include the week's menu on the same sheet. It's also a good idea to have all the recipes for the evening meals typed or written out clearly and stuck up on the doors of the kitchen cupboards for easy reference.

Sandwich list (MS Word, 49KB)
This file offers you two options: (1) those on lunch duty lay out the sandwich-making paraphernalia and everyone makes their own sandwiches, or (2) two or three people make everyone's to order. For option 1, stick the chart on page 1 on the fridge door with a pen/pencil kept nearby, and everyone writes in their sandwich filling requests. If there are none then tell the sandwich people to just put out a few basics, e.g. margarine, cheese, ham, pickle, lettuce. For option 2 you use page 2 and each person fills in what they want in their sandwiches; orders can be changed from day to day if desired.
Whichever option you choose, it's helpful to take along individual sandwich bags and a marker pen so that people's names can be written on their bags. You might also want to take along a small supply of plastic cups - maybe two or three times as many cups as there are group members - for use on the worksite. You can use the marker pen to label these too, and they can be re-used. Also worth taking are a couple of large empty squash bottles, at least 2 litres each, if you have the space. Unfortunately health & safety rules nowadays dictate that empty squash bottles left in the basecamp have to be thrown away rather than being kept for future groups to use!

Games list (MS Word, 211KB)
At one point, Emma at the Vols Office was working on a book of games incorporating this lot, but I'm not sure whether it was ever officially published. Until the official version does get into circulation, here's a list of 80 or so games, with instructions, to keep you going!

Puzzles and lateral thinking problems (MS Word, 100KB)
A selection of lateral thinking scenarios and a couple of quizzes to get your vols' brains working. A kind of supplement to the games booklet, useful particularly if your vols are a bit reluctant to join in with silly games.

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© Lynne Donaldson
This page last edited 1st April 2005