This year Volunteering Australia is celebrating 30 years of National Volunteer Week. National Volunteer Week is 20–26 May 2019 and the theme for this year is "Making a world of difference".
Volunteering provides pathways towards employment through the development of skills, networks and values which are increasingly sought after in professional environments - Brotherhood of St Laurence (2018), An Unfair Australia? Mapping Youth Unemployment Hotspots.
So we caught up with Kevin Milstein, President of the Maccabi Football Club Caulfield and asked him for some tips on all things volunteering.
What sort of volunteer roles are available at your club?
Team Managers, grounds people, committee members, coaching staff. Unfortunately we have got to the point that apart from TMs and committee, every other position at the club is a paid role. Mostly due to the fact that people will not do anything for nothing. Although with all of our “staff” we reward them in some way or another to make them feel valued. Like giving them free staff club gear etc.
What do you look for in a volunteer?
Commitment is the most important trait after that common sense to deal with situations and club members. They also need to be computer literate so that we can communicate en masse with all of them.
What difference do volunteers make to your club?
A club is just a macro version of a team. If a club does not have people to perform certain roles then it cannot function. In the same way that a team cannot function without its players. Volunteers are important cogs in the bigger wheel. In our case where all TMs are volunteers, if they were not there then we could not communicate effectively to our parents group and players.
Why do you think volunteering is important?
It’s important to give back to community in some way. It’s important to mix across different kinds of people and be exposed to many varied situations. In the case of a team a volunteer can get enormous satisfaction (and grief) by working with all the players and parents in their team.
If you could give one piece of advice to a club or organisation looking to hire/engage someone with a disability, what would it be?
Give the person a decent trial period to see if they can fit into the required position. Its no different to working with a fully abled person.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone with a disability who wants to volunteer with sport, what would it be?
Make sure they know clearly what their roles is to be and what their functions need to be. Be honest about what you can and cannot do.
If you'd like to learn more about the value of volunteering, take a look at this month's Let's Learn About... https://mailchi.mp/aaavic.org.au/lets-learn-about-volunteering