Could you donate a few precious hours of your time to the sport you love? Archery volunteer Austen Jones describes his journey into our wonderful voluntary workforce.
I've been asked to provide some background into my archery volunteering story, which may encourage others into donating their time, and helping to empower others in our sport. I make no excuse for my sense of humour!
I've always found time to fit volunteering around my other commitments. The proverb seems to be true, that if you as a busy person undertake a task, it will get done efficiently and on time. If I could not do it I would say up front and withdraw rather than let anyone down.
It may be a cliché but I was initiated into volunteering as a Sea Scout, and one element of the scout law is to help other people: hence my early involvement in 'bob-a-job' and helping little old ladies across the road. At times I can find it difficult to get to know people, but I work to overcome my diffidence and try to encourage a good repartee.
I would say to anyone thinking of volunteering, start a discussion and see how you can help: you may have skills that are needed, whether it be in coaching or in running some element of the club/sport. When I first organised archery tournaments in Buckinghamshire, I was always glad when volunteers with no experience in the sport came forward to fill available roles. I made sure they knew what was required, double checked and then thanked them. That way, I could hope for further assistance. Often, I found that the volunteers enjoyed themselves so much, they signed up for archery beginners' courses before joining the club. (This can apply other sports as well; when I was Training Officer for a scuba diving club, I took a friend along to a 'try-dive' and he took up the sport and eventually became Club Treasurer!)
In fact, that is how I came into archery, in 1999, following a diving incident. I was looking around for another interest above water and attended a 'have-a-go' event at a local archery club, and signed up for my beginners' course. As a coach I try to ensure that anyone I teach or coach gets that sense of achievement and enjoyment I first discovered.
Check out Archery GB's volunteering webpage for more details of how you can get involved.
Read the stories of other archery volunteers: