“Volunteers are not paid - not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!!"
That is the favourite saying of Clare Houston who this week reflected for us on one of the largest and vital volunteer management roles recently in Australian sport. In this week of the volunteer, Clare Houston described to us her role as Technical Officials Manager at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Houston, who outside of the Commonwealth Games is an Athletics South Australia and Athletics Australia official, has just concluded her two-year role with Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where she worked closely with the Sport Managers to ensure the best Technical Officials and Sports Specific Volunteers were appointed, trained, rostered, delivered for the Games and enjoyed their time.
The numbers Houston worked with were staggering, 3581 sports specific volunteers, which were 24% of the entire 15,000 workforce and 1142 technical officials (201 for athletics) from 90 countries.
“People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons,” explained Houston. “For some, it’s a chance to give something back to their sporting community or help contribute to making a brighter future for the athletes in their sport. For others, it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Whatever the reason every volunteer working in a sporting community is guaranteed to gain lifelong friends and a second family they potentially never knew existed.”
The benefits as a volunteer are very also personal development, notes Houston.
“As an added bonus volunteering can also give you the opportunity to travel the world, boost your career prospects, build self-confidence, be a role model, and untimely change someone’s life for the better even if that person is YOU.”
Clare Houston is now off to Perth to live to start a new phase in her life but can feel proud of an amazing job she and her team did.
David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia
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