It’s National Volunteer Week (17-23 June 2018) and we wanted to share a Member Profile about the impact volunteers have on communities. The volunteer experience during Wellington Round the Bays looks at Sport Wellington’s involvement in running the popular Wellington Round the Bays event and the role volunteers play.
The volunteer experience during Wellington Round the Bays
Wellington Round the Bays is the largest participation sport and recreation event in the lower North Island and the third largest in New Zealand. 2018 saw 14,455 registered participants take part in running or walking around Wellington’s scenic waterfront – and to make that happen, required the help of 400 volunteers!
Whether it was helping on the day or during the build up to the event, there were a number of roles that volunteers were involved in that contributed to making the event such a success. From collecting the participants bags, helping with the staging and awards, to managing the information and race bib area, the parking area, and the start and finish line, there were many ways to get involved on the day.
“Once a volunteer, always a volunteer,” said Gen Gage who is a volunteer of numerous events and had the role of driving the van and checking bags. “I like to give back to the community and the satisfaction from knowing I’ve made a difference.”
Volunteering is a great way for people, regardless of their age, cultural background, location or circumstances, to get involved in the community. “I thought it was a total blast and really loved the experience,” said teenager Renee Bajaj a volunteer HQ assistant. “It showed me how fun volunteering can be and it has also given me lots of confidence to be able to talk to new people.”
For Tim Berry it enabled him to gain a new perspective by being behind the scenes and seeing the event come together. “It gave me an awesome insight into the amount of organisation that goes into pulling off a fantastic local event that encourages people to get active!” said Tim, a volunteer who took over as tail-end Charlie (the person who stays at the back of the event to act as both a marker for the end of the event but to also keep an eye on those participants in case they need assistance).
People volunteer for many reasons some of which include to meet new people and form long-term friendships, to be part of a team, to make an invaluable difference and to have fun.
Volunteering can help you discover what your passions are and enable you to develop new skills, knowledge and experience. Volunteering enlightened Ella Porter of a potential career pathway that she may want to pursue. “I liked what I was doing. I’m now keen to get into event management” said Ella who was helping out at the finish line.
Lionel Nunns, who drove the pace car for the half marathon said:
“It was beneficial as a regular runner of the half to see just what goes on behind the scenes that enables us all to have a great day competing. So worthwhile.”
A marshal volunteer also commented, “The experience made me feel that I can participate in a community event in my own little way and made me crave for more volunteering work in and around the community. I’m excited to do it again next year!”
Each of the tasks managed by volunteers are important to the operation of the event and their efforts go a long way. Without the volunteer’s efforts, Wellington Round the Bays simply would not be possible.
Round the Bays is an event run by Sport Wellington, a not-for-profit organisation with a vision for ‘Everyone in the greater Wellington region to have a life-long involvement in sport and active recreation’. This vision is operationalised through many of Sport Wellington’s programmes and its signature Round the Bays event.
The involvement of volunteers makes the difference between Sport Wellington being able to achieve their mission and objectives, and not achieving them. Round the Bays relies on the significant contributions of volunteers across a wide range of roles and Sport Wellington truly values the work of these volunteers and promotes the importance of volunteerism across the sport sector.
Author: Vicci Holdsworth
Vicci Is a third-year student at Massey University who is currently undertaking an internship at Sport Wellington for a period of three months. This has resulted in the writing of this story, one of the many stories she has had the opportunity to write whilst an intern. Vicci is a volunteer of the event Round the Bays herself and works at Sport Wellington once a week, completing a variety of tasks that are assigned to her each week.
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