Volunteers’ Week: “ A great opportunity to meet people from all over the country”
Volunteers’ Week is a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
The annual campaign takes place 1-7 June every year and sees charities and voluntary groups get together to recognise the contribution volunteers make to our communities every day.
AoC Sport is committed to supporting member colleges with their volunteering programmes as well as offering a range of opportunities for students to get involved in AoC Sport events.
This includes the annual National Championships – the biggest sporting event in further education.
We spoke to Stella Bredgaard from Bilborough College, who volunteered at this year’s event.
Stella chose to volunteer at the football competition collecting scores, distributing fixtures and ensuring the smooth running of games. She even got to hand out the medals on the final day of the Championships.
What did you enjoy doing most and why?
As cliché as it sounds the most enjoyable part of the championships for me was having another opportunity to meet people from all over the country and form relationships with people I never thought I’d meet. Being able to do this whilst participating in something I’m highly passionate about left me with an extremely valuable weekend.
Through my role in football I have had the opportunity to meet people from different parts of the country. It was nice to meet people who were on a completely different path to me, people with a completely different skill set and ambitions.
What did you learn from your experience?
From this experience I have learnt the amount of effort and organisation it takes to put on an event of such magnitude, because believe me when I say it’s a lot more than anyone may think. It has given me a taste of what I could be involved in years down the line; this has therefore made this experience invaluable.
Why did you volunteer in the first place?
This was my second year volunteering at the National Championships so to take it back to why I volunteered that first time, I saw it as a chance to meet new people and learn more about other sports as I don’t usually get this opportunity.
However, that first year I learned that it provides you with skills essential for everyday life such as enhanced communication and organisation skills. Therefore when deciding whether or not I was going to apply a second time round it was a no brainer, this event taught me skills no other one has (as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable weekend) therefore making my decision simple.
Are you interested in sport? If so, which ones? Did you learn about any sports over the weekend?
Sport is the backbone of my life, it is everything I have ever done and everything I ever want to do. I have been involved in football for around 10 years as well as picking up a few other sports here and there. Although I was on football all weekend last year, I had the opportunity to volunteer over at the volleyball and badminton. I learnt how to score both of these as well as having the chance to watch some very high callable performers. If it wasn’t for this event I never would have had this opportunity.
Describe what it was like being involved behind the scenes at a major sports event
In one word, stressful. As an athlete you often don’t realise the time and effort it takes to put together the perfect event in order to give everyone the best experience possible. However, acting as a volunteer at the national championships you quickly get to realise.
Although don’t let the point be lost that this was one of the most enjoyable weekends I’ve been involved in and wouldn’t change it. One thing I can say for sure is that there was never a moment in which I had nothing to do, I was constantly on the go and busy which is the way I prefer it.
It gives you a sense of appreciation for past events I’ve participated in as it makes you think how much time must have gone into those. I couldn’t start to comprehend the time spent on this event before we as volunteers were involved. So for that I’m sure I speak for us all in saying a massive thank you to the AoC Sport staff who worked to make this experience possible for each and every one of us.