” Volunteers are not paid because they are worthless, but because they are priceless ! ”
Deer Park Archers have been recognised for the involvement and support of our volunteers for many years from many organisations including Archery GB, Sport England & the Sport & Recreation Alliance! In 2013 we got Archery GB to recognise the need for our Club Officials to have access to the Archery GB membership portal, small but important steps to helping the club to function and our sport to grow. There is absolutely no doubt that without our volunteers we would not be able to operate in the way we do. More than 50% of our Management Team are non shooting volunteers and a huge number of volunteer parents, friends etc help on a regular basis.
Our Clubmark work has taught us the importance of clear Job Descriptions and ensuring appropriate training and support (Mentors) is critical to success. Half of our 200 members are juniors, so we need to ensure they are engage and motivated to achieve their potential; Whether that be shooting competitively or getting involved from an organisation standpoint we try to provide opportunities to develop.
Virtually all our members are family units of 2 or more and we actively involve any family members who do not shoot. By involving parents from day 1 of beginners courses, training them to be Parent Coaching Assistants, initially for their children, this has produced a stream of parents developing the confidence to become fully trained coaches. We recognise individual circumstances change with time, those that are happy to give a longer term commitment become committee members, those that are willing to help on occasions are key to organising the bigger events and short term initiatives. Where members have skills they think would be beneficial to the club development we encourage them to get involve and utilise those skills.
Our volunteering approach is so successful that we have members helping at County, Regional and National levels and members have been recognised at all 3 levels including National Archery GB Clubman of the Year, Sports Coach UK Young Coach of the Year etc. Some of our volunteer programmes have been published at National Level including our Coaching Assistant Roles and members have been featured in publications such as Coaching Edge! The role of volunteers is so important that we now look at succession plans to ensure we are not left short.
We do all the usual things, award an Annual Clubman of the Year Trophy, ensure we recognise and encourage family unit contributions, record our thanks in the newsletter, and most importantly the whole club shares successes on and off the field. In 2014 we also introduced our Young Volunteer of the Year Award. We are not ashamed to admit that we are always looking to nominate members for external awards recognising contribution. Our volunteers are special and if appropriate they should be recognised, we have strong links with the schools and when juniors do something special we let the schools know.
If this sounds link something you would be interested to get involved with talk to a member of the committee to explore the opportunities currently available.