Open Water development weekend for young volunteers
Sunday 24th July 2011 saw the annual ASA Open Water Festival take place at Rother Valley in Sheffield.
Four young volunteers from the ASA’s mygames programme accompanied the Youth Forum who led a development weekend alongside the event.
The aim behind the weekend was not only to volunteer at the open water event itself, but to meet new people, learn new skills, grow in confidence and highlight the importance of volunteering skills such as good team work and effective communication.
Arriving a day early for the open water event the ASA’s Youth Forum organised and coordinated a day of fun team building activities and sessions preparing the volunteers for what lay ahead. On the morning of the Open Water swim the energetic volunteers helped set up the venue for the day’s activities, and as the event got underway the volunteers were engaged in field of play roles; such as preparing the swimmers numbered hats and then handing out medals as they completed the gruelling 1km course.
After the mass participation event; Declan, Luke, Jonathan and Michael; the young volunteers continued assisting the event staff with the preparation for the afternoons 3km Masters swim.
Each volunteer has their own reason for contributing, Luke, 17 described how “I started volunteering because I was hoping to improve my CV for university next year, and I loved sport”. Jonathan, 22 added “I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends, volunteering is about enjoying what you do and giving back to your sport by making a contribution”.
The volunteers were again fully involved in the afternoon’s activities; this time venturing out onto the pontoons and filming the closing stages of each 3km master’s wave, and then assisting with the presentation of the final medals as the day drew to a close.
Ashleigh, from the ASA Youth Forum commented that; “they were so enthusiastic, I really enjoyed working with the young volunteers”. The Youth Forum believed the weekend was a great success; Tony stated “I feel as if I’ve grown in confidence which has been portrayed this weekend”.
The importance of volunteers at this kind of Open Water Event is evidently clear. Claire Roberts, 21, the youngest Open Water Referee in the country explained “volunteers are very important; if we did not have all the officials volunteering we simply could not have run the event”.
Throughout the weekend the hard working young volunteers received high praise from the event staff and all expressed that they would like to volunteer at an open water event again in the near future. To find out more about how you can get involved in volunteering visit the ASA website www.swimming.org/asa/volunteering or contact firstname.lastname@example.org