Volunteers Taking the Lead
One could be mistaken for thinking that an event with nearly 300 teams and more than 10,000 people walking through the gates this weekend would require a plethora of highly trained event managers and coordinators. Amazingly though, the 2013 New South Wales Junior State Cup is being coordinated by a total of 40 staff and officials, the majority of whom are volunteers.
For many of the volunteers, this is not their first event and most likely won't be their last. We caught up with some of them to find out they are doing this weekend and what makes them tick.
During the week Jenny Benson works as a primary school teacher, but come the weekend you will more than likely find Jenny assisting at a Touch Football competition or event.
“I just do it because I have a lot of friends through Touch Football. I have probably been to about nine Junior State Cups before.”
This weekend Jenny is taking on the important task of manning the information desk.
“Basically, I am answering questions and pointing people in the right direction, along with some of the administration side of things. I think that my teaching skills help in a role like this, skills such as good organisation, good rapport with people, and the ability to cope with early mornings and late finishes.”
Mid North Coast local Toby Wood is using his talents as a breakfast radio host to assist at the Junior State Cup.
“I am taking care of the PA and general announcements, reminding people not to walk over fields or leave rubbish all over the place, as well as some promotion of sponsors. I guess you could say DJ as well, putting on songs in between games. I have been doing it for a few years now, I really enjoy announcing and DJing, I do my own breakfast radio show in Coffs Harbour and I go to uni to study TV Production, so I am really interested in the backstage side of things. I am really enjoying it, this is my first Junior State Cup, but I have also done two senior State Cups prior to this. I should probably say something tough about it so that nobody else can do it, but no, it is a fairly easy role and something that I really enjoy.”
Rhiannon Dolahenty is a recent university graduate who says that working at events such as this provide her with a great opportunity to stay in touch with people within the sport.
“I'm working as a volunteer providing assistance to the spectators and guests at the event. It’s really nice to be amongst a group of familiar faces, as well as to meet new ones. This is my first Junior State Cup and I did the senior State Cup in December. I miss it as a player, but it’s nice to be able to be here as a volunteer to meet new people and to learn new skills.”
New South Wales Touch Association Sport Manager, Daniel Rushworth was full of praise when talking about the work that the volunteers do at events such as the Junior State Cup.
“Their efforts are huge. They do a lot more than a lot of people think that they would do. They are so committed to seeing the job through from start to finish, they arrive before the sun is up and usually don't leave until the sun goes down; but they always have a smile on their face, and they always come back ready for day two. One of the most pleasing things is that every single one of our volunteers has been to at least one of our events before and they are coming back.”
Rushworth was also adamant that the event could not be as successful as it is without the assistance of their volunteers.
“They are the backbone making sure the event ticks over. They play significant roles and we see them as a crucial part of our team; their roles play an equal part in the overall success of the event.”