This week, 18 – 24 May 2020 is National Volunteer Week.
Little Athletics would not be the sport it is without the support of our amazing volunteers.We thank each and every one of you for the countless hours & dedication you give to us. No matter what contribution you make big or small we couldn’t do it without you.
Approximately 1.8 million Australians across the nation donate their time and energy to the sport and active recreation sector.
Volunteers contribute to the social and economic value of sport in Australia, particularly at the community grassroots level. They also support sport at its highest levels including the staging of domestic major events such as the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Volunteers perform many critical roles across the sport and active recreation sector including as coaches, officials, team managers, administrators, board and committee members, and other positions–with many individuals filling multiple roles.
What is volunteering?
Volunteering Australia has defined the act of ‘volunteering’ as “time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.” However, the term volunteering covers a diverse range of activities. It includes formal volunteering—that takes place within organisations (including institutions and agencies) in a structured way—and informal volunteering—acts that take place outside the context of a formal organisation. While the vast majority of volunteering is undertaken by individuals, entities also donate employee time and this is included within this definition of volunteering.
Role of volunteering in the sport sector
Sport and recreation help to build communities through social inclusion and a sense of connection to a community. Sport can also play a positive role in many people’s lives, from diverting young people away from crime and anti-social behavior, to improving physical and psychological wellbeing. Sport is part of the fabric of Australian life, and as such, sport clubs are the backbone of our local communities. Most clubs are small not-for-profit organisations run by a wide variety of volunteers from differing backgrounds.
In recent years, the role of volunteers and their contribution to the sport and active recreation sector has received much greater attention. The value of volunteers has been captured as a measured input of their time, and a measured output of their contribution. Many programs and strategies have been developed to identify, attract, retain and recognise volunteers within the sport and active recreation sector.
Volunteers add great value to the sector by ensuring that organised activities are accessible (i.e. within the financial means of most Australians), well run, and inclusive. The popularity of volunteering, particularly within the sport and active recreation sector, remains strong in Australian society.
Individual benefits of volunteering
On a personal level, the act of volunteering has been linked to positive mental, social, and physical benefits. Research indicates that older volunteers in particular, experience less depression and greater life satisfaction than those who do not volunteer. There also appears to be a ‘volunteering threshold’, i.e. the amount of time engaged in volunteering to derive health benefits. Benefits seem to occur when volunteer time falls in the range of 40 to 100 hours per year (about 1 to 2 hours most weeks).
When parents volunteer their time to support their children’s sport club activities they may also contribute as role models to their children’s long-term behavioural patterns. Information from Sport Australia’s AusPlay Survey indicates that when parents both participate in sport themselves and contribute as a volunteer, they increase the likelihood of their children’s participation. When parents participated in sport and volunteered within a sport club setting, their children’s participation rate was 89%. When parents were not involved as a sport participant themselves or did not act as a club volunteer, their children’s participation rate dropped to 50%.
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Published 22 May, 2020 | Uncategorized
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