Volunteers are a significant part of community sport and without them many sports would simply not be able to take place.
They can be found in all corners of the sports world - whether it's blowing a whistle, coaching, balancing the books or helping cook the sausages for the fundraising barbecue - each and every volunteer plays a significant role in making sport happen.
Sport Waikato recently recognised the contribution Greg Loomans makes at his beloved Kihikihi Speedway.
Rebecca Foy, Sport Waikato’s Waipa District Coordinator, had the pleasure of gifting him with his Volunteer Sport Maker jacket.
Kihikihi Speedway Club president, Ross Cresswell nominated Loomans in the Sport Waikato online Volunteer Week campaign.
“Greg is a fantastic volunteer for our club, his energy and commitment towards this little non-profit making club is absolutely amazing,” said Cresswell.
“He helps out through the week with grounds and maintenance, then on days we have a meeting he is one of the first to arrive. He does anything asked of him and uses his initiative all day to help make for a safe and enjoyable day. Greg is often the last back into the clubrooms.
“As far as I know the man has never raced but gives 110 per cent and has done for many years so that both competitors and spectators can have many happy days at Kihikihi Speedway.
“He runs his own small business, but still finds time to help out.”
The Sport Waikato team believe it is important to recognise volunteering and the place it has in keeping communities strong and healthy.
“Volunteers dedicate their own valuable time to ensure sport can take place for others, rather than for personal benefit,” said Foy.
“They are special people who aren't there for the credit or the praise, but it's nice for us to be able to say thanks.
“We also work alongside clubs and organisations to make sure they have the capability and education around volunteer management.”
Foy says this enables clubs to recruit and retain volunteers by making them feel valued and appreciated for the time and effort they put into sport.
“This is especially important as some of the values that motivate people to volunteer in sport and recreation are things like generosity, love of sport, social connections and appreciation,” she said.
“Volunteers are the heart of community sport. They are often the first people to arrive and the last ones to leave.”
Foy says if you're an athlete, next time you're out participating in your sport, try to remember to thank the volunteers - whether they are coaches, managers, officials, or other helpers - for their help in making your sport happen.”
Loomans was going to wear his new jacket with pride to the next Kihikihi Speedway committee meeting.
- Colin Thorsen, Te Awamutu Courier
For further information please contact Rebecca Foy firstname.lastname@example.org 027 475 7747