Shout out to volunteers!

Hockey Wanganui junior umpires Thomas and Amy

Sport Whanganui are pleased to support Volunteer Week and would like to sincerely thank all the wonderful volunteers who give up their time to contribute towards sport and recreation in the Whanganui, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu region.

Volunteer Week NZ is an annual campaign run by Volunteering New Zealand, with the aim of recognising and celebrating the many hundreds of diverse people who volunteer their time and expertise to support our communities each year.

Paula Darlington, Sport and Club Partnership Lead at Sport Whanganui knows how valuable volunteers are to our local sports clubs and can personally attest to how much there is to be gained from volunteering.

“Anyone can be a volunteer – you don’t have to be hugely experienced or commit a ton of time. You can make great connections, learn new skills, and find lifelong friends through volunteering.

“The worrying trend is that volunteer numbers are decreasing across all sectors. Sport Whanganui regularly hears from clubs and organisations that recruiting and managing volunteers is one of their most and pressing challenges.”

This Volunteer Week (18-24 June), Sport Whanganui is getting behind Volunteering New Zealand’s campaign to acknowledge and thank the volunteers who power our local sports clubs and schools.

“Our day-to-day role is to support clubs with their planning and strategies, to be better prepared for a changing volunteer landscape. During Volunteer Week we’re excited to share some local stories that will hopefully show that there are amazing opportunities out there for everyone, young and not-so-young, to give back to the clubs and organisations that have supported them” says Paula.

“What we’ve heard from young people in particular is that sometimes all they need as a prompt is just to be asked. So, our message to clubs looking for volunteers is just that – don’t be afraid to reach out and ask!”

Amy Davidson, 14, and Thomas Dwyer, 15, from Whanganui High School are great examples of young people giving back to their sport, in this case, hockey. Amy was introduced to hockey umpiring last year through a call-out for volunteers on Facebook, and Thomas was asked to help by a member of the Hockey Wanganui committee. Both are among a group of more than 20 young people aged 10-16 who are now part of a flourishing junior umpire programme.

“I volunteer because I find enjoyment in teaching youth players and enjoy spending my free time at the turf,” says Amy.

“For people who want to start volunteering honestly I would say go for it, do something you enjoy and just remember what goes around comes around.”

Danny Jonas, Sport Whanganui Chief Executive says there are many ways to make a difference, and it’s all appreciated.

“Sport and recreation as a sector simply wouldn’t exist without volunteers. Recognising and thanking our volunteers is a small thing we can all do, to let them know how much we appreciate their time, energy, and skills. We couldn’t do it without them.

“We encourage everyone to think about the people who have helped them get to where they are – coaches, umpires, administrators, officials, anyone – and give them a shoutout this Volunteer Week.”

Hockey Wanganui junior umpires Thomas and Amy
Article posted 16 June 2023 by sportwhanganui