Swim Meet Volunteering
Thanks to everyone that attended the first big meet of the season in Mission this past Saturday and Sunday. Great turn out and some fantastic swimming by everyone in our club to kick start the season!! Congrats to all our athletes!
I wanted to touch base with everyone when it comes to volunteering. As our club is and has always been built on volunteers it is important to remind both long time/returning families as well as all new comers the importance of doing your part to help during the swim meets. They can be long days considering most of our kids are only in the pool for 30 seconds to maybe a few minutes at a time per event … which in reality for many only means 4-6 minutes of swim time per day or over the entire weekend. As any returning families know and newbies could see over this past weekend, it really does take an “army” of volunteers to have everything run smoothly and efficiently over the course of the 2 days. Our club provides so many key officials and always has a solid presence around the deck for the core jobs (starts/turn-stroke/computer timing). Where we sometimes struggle is with the remaining parents who can help with timing in lanes.
5 years ago when we joined the club I saw all the parent volunteers and started inquiring how I could do my part. You wanna know what the absolute best way to watch your kids and others swim … from the chairs behind the lanes!!!! Sure, you may have to hold a stop watch and press start/stop, or take a “plunger” and press it everytime an athlete finishes, or worst case scenario you have to push a “plunger” and write down the times on a sheet of paper. Trust me it is a fantastic way to be involved in the meet, put in some time for our club, and bond with other parents!! The Neptunes is ALL about family … in essence we are a family during the season. So think about taking some time to give back to our family during the meets as it keeps the days moving along, and GREATLY helps our club and the meet overall.
Now I understand that some families may be challenged to volunteer at every meet depending on the number of kids/parents/help to watch over children between swims. Further there are many families with younger kids who certainly need constant attending to, I completely understand and appreciate. I know between swims many of the mid to older kids group together and play or hang out, so even if you are volunteering on deck there will always be another parent/family who would be happy to watch over and make sure your son or daughter is being fed and getting to swims. As well our coaching staff and volunteer coaching staff can assist in making sure that all of our athletes are hydrated, fed, and ready to race. Again, we are a Swim Club of families and families help each other out!
But you say, “Dave, I know nothing about timing or rules or regulations for helping at a swim meet!”. Neither did I 5 years ago but by sitting next to an experienced parent, asking questions, and basically being mentored behind the lane it took all of about 10 or 15 minutes to get the hang of it! It really is that simple.
Our club is very flexible and easy going when it comes to volunteer committment, we really work on a “please do your part” type of attitude, where many clubs charge up to $500 and then families are required to put in volunteer hours in order to get that $500 back. The number of hours required varies amongst clubs, but when you consider that 1 shift of timing is usually 2 hours, it really is a small investment of time to give back to our club. I believe the goal for those who can donate time should be 1 shift per day … so 2 shifts per weekend, per family. We usually only have 1 lane to volunteer at so there should be plenty of bodies to cover the necessary shifts over the 2 days (3 volunteers per shift).
I am happy to sit with any new parents and offer what knowledge I have gained over the past 5 years of helping with timing … it really is easy. At any practise during the week I can arrange to sit and bestow the few facts and figures required to take on this incredibly satisfying and rewarding (volunteer) task. It truly is the best way to watch a swim meet and the value it brings to our club is invaluable!!!
Haney Neptunes Communications.