17 May 2021
- Sporting legends call for more volunteers in sport
- Volunteers are needed now more than ever to help rebuild sporting communities
Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton is encouraging Australians to consider the many benefits volunteering in sport brings this National Volunteer Week.
“The job that changed my life didn’t come with a salary, but it has helped me earn everything I have,” he says.
Mr Dalton was 17 and upon arriving for his first day of training at Victoria’s largest hockey club, Camberwell, was told he’d be coaching a junior team. He chose the Under 10s describing it as his sliding doors moment and the day he discovered one of the most important jobs in Australian sport – volunteering.
“Volunteering has given me stronger family connections, professional networks, lifelong friends and skills I didn’t know I wanted or needed. Sport is incredibly lucky to have the largest volunteer base of any industry in Australia with 3.1 million volunteers donating their time to sport and physical activity each year.”
Mr Dalton said volunteers are needed now more than ever to help rebuild sporting communities following COVID-19.
“Without volunteers, sport would look very different, they are crucial to the enjoyment and participation of sport at all levels. Whether you’re coaching a team, marking the lines, an official or administrator at a sporting club or organisation or running the canteen, thank you for your dedication and commitment to Australian sport.”
In the past 12 months, Sport Australia has developed a suite of resources to support volunteers in sport including the Return to Sport Toolkit, Participation Design Toolkit, Game Plan and Coaching and Officiating podcast series and has joined forces with Volunteering Australia.
Volunteering Australia CEO Mark Pearce said the partnership recognises the importance and ongoing contribution of volunteers to Australian sport.
“One of the most exciting parts of our partnership is investigating ways Australians of all ages and backgrounds can get involved in sport and sporting clubs.”
“They make possible those things which make communities and community activities great, and we certainly see this in the context of sport. It would be very hard to imagine how the vast majority of Australian sport could take place without the dedication of volunteers.”
AIS CEO Peter Conde added: “Australian volunteers make sport tick at every level. As Australians we love to celebrate sporting success, but behind every athlete and every sporting event is a huge assembly of volunteers. So, on behalf of the AIS and Australian high performance sport, we celebrate our millions of volunteers and thank you for the contribution you make to Australian sport every day.”
National Volunteer Week from May 17-23 celebrates the significant contribution of Australia’s almost six million volunteers who dedicate their time to help others.
The theme for National Volunteer Week is Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine with sporting legends including Olympic swimming champion Libby Trickett and NRL immortal Mal Meninga joining the call for more volunteers in sport.
“I’m so grateful for all of the volunteers around the country who are able to get involved in sport, whatever sport it might be. I encourage everyone to get involved and be a volunteer if you can,” Trickett says.
Meninga added: “We all know how important sport volunteers are for our community so please get involved.”