Volunteering to Help Your Swimming Club

The first week of June 2013 is officially Volunteer Week, organised by Volunteering England and supported by the ASA, and it’s a good opportunity for Sports Clubs to officially say THANK YOU to everyone who gives up their time to support their local club. Here at Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club (HHSC), we recently calculated that our volunteers give up over 5,000 hours per annum which is amazing and is time that simply could not be ‘bought’. To find out what some of HHSC’s current volunteers get out of volunteering and why they do it, click on this video link: http://youtu.be/-WgME6kmTIg

If you haven’t already volunteered to help your swimming club, there are a number of roles that might tempt you: speak to your Head Coach or chairperson to find out what roles are available. If you are interested in getting involved in coaching, I recommend talking to the Head Coach in the first instance. This role is particularly suitable for people with experience of swimming (though this is not essential) and requires a regular commitment to work poolside with the swimmers. You’ll often be given a trial period followed by a more formal induction and training (e.g. child protection, lifesaving, team manager) and a DBS (was CRB) check for child welfare reasons. Training and qualifications improve the quality of coaching and, as a result, the performance of swimmers so the club will hopefully support you in working towards formal teaching or coaching qualifications.

If your club is a competitive club, you’ll have attended a number of galas and will have seen the many officials in white who run the event. New ‘officials’ volunteers will usually start as unqualified timekeepers but courses are run regularly and you’ll be encouraged to progress through the ranks – from qualified timekeeper, to chief timekeeper, judge, starter and possibly all the way through to refereeing if you’re good at it and enjoy it. Find out if anyone at your club is responsible for officials’ development and talk to them about the options available to you.

There are also many non-official roles needed to help run galas and these are a very flexible option with people covering different roles. At HHSC, our events coordinator posts up the list of requirements on the Club notice board and asks people to sign up to a particular role. These include taking monies on the door/raffle, ‘whipping’ (organising swimmers for each event), being a runner and posting up results, giving out medals, refreshments, announcing and so forth. If events are run using electronic timing, you will probably have a technical support team managing them, starting with setting up entries and the meet in the ‘Meet Manager’ software and ensuring the AOE (electronic timing system) works on the night, displaying times on the score board and processing the results on the night. A calm approach and some understanding of IT/software systems/printers help here! At HHSC we also have specific sponsorship and press officer roles, to ensure we take advantage of any grants available and publicise our achievements.

Last but not least, all clubs need a strong management committee which consists of officers (usually the Chairperson, the Secretary and the Treasurer) plus a number of additional members. Committees work together to ensure the club is well run and finances are tightly managed; they set the level of fees and manage pool hire costs. Committees usually meet once a month to review membership and admin issues, events, finances and swimming performance, etc. and hold an annual general meeting (AGM) once a year. You don’t need any particular qualifications but the HHSC constitution states that you must be over 18. One of the most challenging issues for clubs is to ensure progression onto the committee and into officer roles to ensure continuity. Being a committee member offers a great insight into the running of the club and gives members the opportunity to shape the club’s future – a very worthwhile role. You might find there is an opportunity in your club to become a general committee member: if you’re interested, ask!

So, as Volunteer Week focuses attention on the benefits and rewards from volunteering, there has never been a better time to support your club. What are you waiting for?

Joan Keevill, Chair HHSC

‘Volunteering to help your swimming club’: Joan Keevill, Chair HHSC

 

The first week of June 2013 is officially Volunteer Week, organised by Volunteering England and supported by the ASA, and it’s a good opportunity for Sports Clubs to officially say THANK YOU to everyone who gives up their time to support their local club. Here at Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club (HHSC), we recently calculated that our volunteers give up over 5,000 hours per annum which is amazing and is time that simply could not be ‘bought’. To find out what some of HHSC’s current volunteers get out of volunteering and why they do it, click on this video link: http://youtu.be/-WgME6kmTIg

If you haven’t already volunteered to help your swimming club, there are a number of roles that might tempt you: speak to your Head Coach or chairperson to find out what roles are available. If you are interested in getting involved in coaching, I recommend talking to the Head Coach in the first instance. This role is particularly suitable for people with experience of swimming (though this is not essential) and requires a regular commitment to work poolside with the swimmers. You’ll often be given a trial period followed by a more formal induction and training (e.g. child protection, lifesaving, team manager) and a DBS (was CRB) check for child welfare reasons. Training and qualifications improve the quality of coaching and, as a result, the performance of swimmers so the club will hopefully support you in working towards formal teaching or coaching qualifications.

If your club is a competitive club, you’ll have attended a number of galas and will have seen the many officials in white who run the event. New ‘officials’ volunteers will usually start as unqualified timekeepers but courses are run regularly and you’ll be encouraged to progress through the ranks – from qualified timekeeper, to chief timekeeper, judge, starter and possibly all the way through to refereeing if you’re good at it and enjoy it. Find out if anyone at your club is responsible for officials’ development and talk to them about the options available to you.

There are also many non-official roles needed to help run galas and these are a very flexible option with people covering different roles. At HHSC, our events coordinator posts up the list of requirements on the Club notice board and asks people to sign up to a particular role. These include taking monies on the door/raffle, ‘whipping’ (organising swimmers for each event), being a runner and posting up results, giving out medals, refreshments, announcing and so forth. If events are run using electronic timing, you will probably have a technical support team managing them, starting with setting up entries and the meet in the ‘Meet Manager’ software and ensuring the AOE (electronic timing system) works on the night, displaying times on the score board and processing the results on the night. A calm approach and some understanding of IT/software systems/printers help here! At HHSC we also have specific sponsorship and press officer roles, to ensure we take advantage of any grants available and publicise our achievements.

Last but not least, all clubs need a strong management committee which consists of officers (usually the Chairperson, the Secretary and the Treasurer) plus a number of additional members. Committees work together to ensure the club is well run and finances are tightly managed; they set the level of fees and manage pool hire costs. Committees usually meet once a month to review membership and admin issues, events, finances and swimming performance, etc. and hold an annual general meeting (AGM) once a year. You don’t need any particular qualifications but the HHSC constitution states that you must be over 18. One of the most challenging issues for clubs is to ensure progression onto the committee and into officer roles to ensure continuity. Being a committee member offers a great insight into the running of the club and gives members the opportunity to shape the club’s future – a very worthwhile role. You might find there is an opportunity in your club to become a general committee member: if you’re interested, ask!

So, as Volunteer Week focuses attention on the benefits and rewards from volunteering, there has never been a better time to support your club. What are you waiting for?

‘Volunteering to help your swimming club’: Joan Keevill, Chair HHSC

 

The first week of June 2013 is officially Volunteer Week, organised by Volunteering England and supported by the ASA, and it’s a good opportunity for Sports Clubs to officially say THANK YOU to everyone who gives up their time to support their local club. Here at Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club (HHSC), we recently calculated that our volunteers give up over 5,000 hours per annum which is amazing and is time that simply could not be ‘bought’. To find out what some of HHSC’s current volunteers get out of volunteering and why they do it, click on this video link: http://youtu.be/-WgME6kmTIg

 

If you haven’t already volunteered to help your swimming club, there are a number of roles that might tempt you: speak to your Head Coach or chairperson to find out what roles are available. If you are interested in getting involved in coaching, I recommend talking to the Head Coach in the first instance. This role is particularly suitable for people with experience of swimming (though this is not essential) and requires a regular commitment to work poolside with the swimmers. You’ll often be given a trial period followed by a more formal induction and training (e.g. child protection, lifesaving, team manager) and a DBS (was CRB) check for child welfare reasons. Training and qualifications improve the quality of coaching and, as a result, the performance of swimmers so the club will hopefully support you in working towards formal teaching or coaching qualifications.

 

If your club is a competitive club, you’ll have attended a number of galas and will have seen the many officials in white who run the event. New ‘officials’ volunteers will usually start as unqualified timekeepers but courses are run regularly and you’ll be encouraged to progress through the ranks – from qualified timekeeper, to chief timekeeper, judge, starter and possibly all the way through to refereeing if you’re good at it and enjoy it. Find out if anyone at your club is responsible for officials’ development and talk to them about the options available to you.

 

There are also many non-official roles needed to help run galas and these are a very flexible option with people covering different roles. At HHSC, our events coordinator posts up the list of requirements on the Club notice board and asks people to sign up to a particular role. These include taking monies on the door/raffle, ‘whipping’ (organising swimmers for each event), being a runner and posting up results, giving out medals, refreshments, announcing and so forth. If events are run using electronic timing, you will probably have a technical support team managing them, starting with setting up entries and the meet in the ‘Meet Manager’ software and ensuring the AOE (electronic timing system) works on the night, displaying times on the score board and processing the results on the night. A calm approach and some understanding of IT/software systems/printers help here! At HHSC we also have specific sponsorship and press officer roles, to ensure we take advantage of any grants available and publicise our achievements.

 

Last but not least, all clubs need a strong management committee which consists of officers (usually the Chairperson, the Secretary and the Treasurer) plus a number of additional members. Committees work together to ensure the club is well run and finances are tightly managed; they set the level of fees and manage pool hire costs. Committees usually meet once a month to review membership and admin issues, events, finances and swimming performance, etc. and hold an annual general meeting (AGM) once a year. You don’t need any particular qualifications but the HHSC constitution states that you must be over 18. One of the most challenging issues for clubs is to ensure progression onto the committee and into officer roles to ensure continuity. Being a committee member offers a great insight into the running of the club and gives members the opportunity to shape the club’s future – a very worthwhile role. You might find there is an opportunity in your club to become a general committee member: if you’re interested, ask!

 

So, as Volunteer Week focuses attention on the benefits and rewards from volunteering, there has never been a better time to support your club. What are you waiting for?