Myths about Volunteering

People are often put off volunteering because they believe that they would not have the skills or time to give to the role. Read on and see if we can dispel some of these myths.

“I want to help out, but I can’t because I don’t know anything about the sport!”
You can volunteer regardless of how much you know about aquatics – suitable roles can be found depending on your level of experience and your existing skills. If you are not sure what a role might entail you can work shadow someone for a while or at an event to get more of an idea whether you would be interested in.

“If I want to be involved I have to commit to volunteering every week”
There will be roles to suit different levels of time commitment. some roles will require a weekly commitment, whereas some could be for a single event. We will be grateful for any help you can offer, no matter how little or how much time you can contribute, and will help to find a role suited to your availability.

“Volunteering is just for older people”
Volunteering is for all ages, and we would encourage you to get involved no matter what your age or level of experience. Young volunteers can bring fresh new perspectives, energy and enthusiasm and have a positive influence on a club’s dynamic. It is healthy for a club’s dynamics. It is healthy for a club yo bring in new volunteers and it is important to consider who will be keeping the club running in the future. Combining volunteers of differing ages and levels of experience ensures that an effective club workforce is created. This also helps to bridge the gap between the younger swimmers and the older volunteers.

“I don’t know anyone at the club and I’m afraid it may be cliquey”
From the outside it may seem difficult to penetrate what appears to be a cohesive group running the club. However, just ask how you can help and become involved and you will be welcomed with open arms.

“I need to have loads of experience”
Not at all! Everyone has to start somewhere and often a fresh perspective on things without the politics of having been involved for a long time helps to look at things in a new way to start to make positive changes.

“I will need to organise and pay for my DBS check”
Some of the roles do not require a DBS check. However, if it does, the club will organise this for you and it will be paid for by the club. You cannot transfer an existing DBS check from another organisation outside of swimming as Swim England require you to be checked through WCPSC.

Volunteering Roles

Squad Representative

Role Summary
The Squad Representative (SR) holds a valuable role in supporting the Squad Coaches and the Squad Members.

Main Responsibilities and Expectations:
– Liaise with the Squad Coaches to keep up to date with relevant matters relating to your squad
– Attend Squad Rep and Squad Meetings as necessary
– Support communication to Squad Members about forthcoming galas, open meets, and/or social events and volunteer roles
– Support communication to Squad Members in circumstances of cancelations or unexpected changes to squad training times
– Answer, where appropriate, general queries from Squad Members and also know how/when to direct queries from Squad Members to the Squad Coach
– Introduce yourself to new members of your squad
– Help to organise parent volunteers for galas, open meets, social events and other roles within the charity
– Organise social activities for the squad and liaise with other squad reps regarding joint socials
– Keep up to date with the weekly notices and check club email account regularly

The time commitment for this role is approximately 1 hour a week

Team Manager

Role Summary
The Team Manager is responsible for the logistics, administration and coordination of teams during a competition. A Team Manager is a central point of information and communication, and the expectation by all team members (including athletes and coaches) is that the Team Manager will be the person with this knowledge.

Reporting to: Team Manager’s Liaison Officer and Coaches

Main Responsibilities and Expectations
– To provide a central point of contact/liaison for communication on behalf of the team
– To provide information to athletes, coaches, parents/guardians as appropriate
– To ensure athletes are appropriately registered for their events, in association with coaching staff
– To promote positive team spirit and behaviours
– To adopt the policies and principles of the ASA Child Protection Policy

Personal Attributes Required
– Well organised and efficient
– Knowledge of the club and athletes (as appropriate)
– Excellent communicator
– Undersatanding and Impartial
– Ability to respect confidentiality
– Ability to make decisions based upon the best interests of individuals and teams
– Ability to work on own initiative

Role Details
This is a voluntary role. The time commitment required will vary depending upon the nature of the competition/event. Often Team Managers are only expected to cover a morning or afternoon at an event. It can be arranged for you to work shadow a Team Manager prior to volunteering should wish.

Training
Volunteers would be required to attend a training course for a day which is funded and organised by the club.

If you are keep to volunteer, please contact Katie Thorman volunteers@wcpsc.org.uk

Event Administrators

Administration Roles to Help organise the Colours Gala (September)
You would be working as part of a team and can take as much or little responsibility as you feel comfortable with. A lot of the work can be done from home. The time involved will vary from 2 hours a week upwards, depending on how involved you want to be. Being able to use email would be necessary for this role. Within the team there will be people who have organised this event before so can guide new volunteers. As a team you could be involved in the following tasks:
– Booking the pool and function room through Head of Operations (Vicky)
– Ensuring availability of coaches (liaise with Head of Performance)
– Promoting event through weekly notices and inviting swimmers and raffle/food contributions
– Liaising with the Team manger coordinator to ensure availability of of Team Managers
– Liaising with the Volunteers coordinator to ensure availability of poolside helpers, raffle sellers, program sellers, refreshment sellers, etc
– Liaising with the Officials Coordinator to ensure the availability of Officials
– Organising the program of events with lead coach for event
– Constructing communication emails to swimmers for application process
– Liaising with coaches to sort swimmers into teams with team captains
– Organising volunteers to set up function room buffet

Administration Roles to Help organise the Club Champs (October/November)
You would be working as part of a team and can take as much or little responsibility as you feel comfortable with. A lot of the work can be done from home. The time involved will vary from 2 hours a week upwards, depending on how involved you want to be. Being able to use email would be useful for this role. Within the team there will be people who have organised this event before so can guide new volunteers. As a team you could be involved in the following tasks:
– Liaising with the Team Manager Coordination to ensure availability of Team Managers
– Entries input – helping open meets team to input entries
– Liaise with marketing team, re sponsorship opportunities
– Liaising with the Volunteers coordinator to ensure availability of poolside helpers, raffle sellers, program sellers, refreshment sellers, etc
– Liaising with the Officials Coordinator to ensure the availability of Officials
– Refreshments – arranging purchases of drinks and sweets for officials
– Prizes- organising purchase of trophies/volunteers draw prizes/thank you gifts for visiting referees
– Raffle – coordinating collection of prizes from members, requesting donations through weekly notices, raffle tickets, floats.

Presentation of Awards Evening Coordinator (January)
Working as a team you would be responsible for the event management of the WCPSC Annual Presentation of Awards. The role will involve around 10 hours of work, from September to the Event. This will involve the following tasks:
– Pricing and booking a suitable venue
– Organising a buffet (either member contributions or catered)
– Research and book a guest speaker
– Collection of previous years trophies, cleaning if necessary
– Invitations and ticket sales
– Entertainment – Music, etc
– Preparation on the day – set up, table decor, etc
– Fundraising at event – raffle, auction
– Post event clearing

Further events in calendar year which will require volunteers:
– Novice Galas
– Grand Prix Events

Judge Level 1

This is the first level of British qualification for which the minimum age is 15. The Judge Level 1 (J1) role encompasses:
Timekeeper
You record the time the swimmer takes to complete the race using a stopwatch and record it on the heat sheets. If the meet is working with Automatic Officiating Equipment (AOE), i.e, Electronics, then there will also be a secondary ‘back-up’ button that you need to press when the swimmer completes the race. If the meet is using manual times the Chief Timekeeper will collect the time sheets for each event.

Chief Timekeeper
To ensure the timekeepers perform their role. If the meet is manual (not electronic) they collect the time sheets from the timekeeper after each event and work out the finishing times for the swimmers based on the order of the finish in agreement with the referee.

Inspector of Turns
As a J1 you are also expected to be responsible for looking at the swimmers turns and finishes. Do not worry – you cannot disqualify a swimmer, all you do is report an infringement you see to the Referee or Chief Inspector of turns. The only person who can disqualify a swimmer is the Referee. If you only ‘think’ you saw an infringement then you must give the swimmer the benefit of the doubt. This part of J1 requires knowledge of the rules relating to the turn and finish for each stroke but this is where the mentoring will help since you will be attending meets and placed with more experienced officials who will ask questions and explain what you should be looking for.

Chief Inspector of Turns
Is the link between the Inspector of Turns (J1) and the Referee. Takes the report from the time keeper to the referee.

Relay Takeover Judge
Another role that J1s are expected to do is to watch the take over when the incoming swimmer touches and the swimmer on the blocks dives in. If you see an infringement you report it to the Chief Inspector of Turns/Referee. Again, training is given in the rules operating for this element of the race.

If you are keen to volunteer for any of these roles or require more information, please contact Thelma Hawkings at thelmah@wcpsc.org.uk

What’s Involved in these Roles
At any swimming meet there are a range of different people involved in running the competition. A key distinction is between technical and non-technical officials. Technical officials are the people in white who are responsible for ensuring that the rules of swimming are upheld and that all swimmers have the opportunity to compete fairly in whatever events they swim. At any meet there are a range of different officials including referee(s), starter, judges (stroke, finish and turns) and timekeepers. We need at least 20 officials across the different levels of qualification to run a meet!

Why should I become an Official?
As a ‘swimming parent’ you spend a lot of time attending swim meets. Becoming an official gives you an insight into how swimming meets work, provides you with something to do when son/daughter isn’t swimming and is a great source of free sweets. From the club’s perspective, we need a pool of officials inside the club sp that we can run our won meets. You do not have to officiate at other club’s meets if you don’t want to. But to become a fully qualified official you will need to have attended at least a couple of other meets (that can be when your child is swimming) to gain a full range of experience.

How do I become an Official?
In order to become an official, you need to attend an induction session and then complete a series of practical sessions (at meets/galas when your child is competing), record experience in a workbook – focusing upon the duties associated with the qualification being worked towards. Apart from the Referee course there are no written exams. There are 4 grades of officials as follows:
a. Judge Level 1
b. Judge Level 2
c. Judge Level 2 & Starter
d. Referee

No prior knowledge of swimming rules is assumed at the start of training to become an official. All you need is a clipboard, a stopwatch, a pen and enthusiasm for swimming. You will be mentored during your first few times as an official so you will fully be supported until you are confident in the role. If you are interested we can arrange for you to work shadow and official at an event to see if you would like to volunteer as an official.

Judge Level 2

This is the second level of qualification. It encompasses the role and duties in relation to all aspects of judging and the theoretical role and duties of Starter. This is based around a workshop session followed by practical sessions with an experienced official and a final practical session.
Judges of Stroke
J2 Officials are responsible for ensuring that all stroke rules are complied with. As with J2 Stroke judges do not disqualify swimmers. Rather they report observed infringements to the Referee who will disqualify the swimmer.
Finish Judge
Writes the lane order of swimmers as they finish and passes these to the Referee. An important role even in the meets with electronics as sometimes these systems fail.

If you are keep to volunteer, please contact Katie Thorman volunteers@wcpsc.org.uk

Judge Level 2 – Starter

This role is the most visible and easiest to understand role. The starter’s role is to ensure that the start is fair for all swimmers. As with J2, this is based around a workshop session followed by practical sessions with an experienced official and a final assessed practical session. If you are keep to volunteer, please contact Katie Thorman volunteers@wcpsc.org.uk

Referee

This role is the highest level of qualification in British Swimming and combines several theory sessions, an exam and assessed practical sessions. The Referee is in overall control of all aspects of the meet and is responsible for health and safety as well as ensuring that the competition is far. It is the Referee that judges reports observed infringements and who decides whether these will be accepted. If you are keep to volunteer, please contact Katie Thorman volunteers@wcpsc.org.uk

Timekeeper

You record the time the swimmer takes to complete a race using a stopwatch and record it on the heats sheets. If the meet is working with Automatic Officiating Equipment (AOE), i.e, Electronics, then there will also be a secondary ‘bakc-up’ button that you need to push when the swimmer completes the race. If the meet is using manual times, the Chief Timekeeper will collect the time sheets for each event. Any required training for roles will be funded and organised by the club. If you are keep to volunteer, please contact Katie Thorman volunteers@wcpsc.org.uk

CPD Administrator

This role would start with mentoring Thelma who currently does these tasks. Once you feel confident, you could gradually take on this responsibility. The time commitment to this role may be up to 3 hours per week initially but then after, it would be approximately 2 hours a month. The role would involve:
– Designing a database for recording the monitoring of the Official’s Development Books
– Regularly request to check Official’s Development books and flag up any areas they need to gain experience in to the Officials Coordinator (Thelma). This could be done at meets if you are in attendance or request that they scan you the relevant pages for evidence of their CPD
If you are keep to volunteer, please contact Katie Thorman volunteers@wcpsc.org.uk

Disability Officer

We are looking for a team of people with a passion for disability sport who can lead a team of organisations to develop a meaningful programme of swimming activities for disabled participants. The initial brief is to co-ordinate two to three meetings of local organisations that have a vested interest in this area to try to map pout a way forward. This is a new role so close communication with Mike Fisher will be vital to provide volunteers with guidance. If you are keep to volunteer, please contact Katie Thorman volunteers@wcpsc.org.uk

Marketing and Sponsorship Support

The charity has a sponsorship and marketing programme and welcomes volunteers interested in this area of work. Please contact Katie Thorman volunteers@wcpsc.org.uk

Press and Publicity Officer

This person will play a key role to provide engaging, relevant and incisive content to a variety of audiences and stakeholders – inluding but not limited to members and the local community. This will involve planning and writing content for internal and external platforms, including social media.
The main responsibilities and expectations will be:
– Writing regular reports on events and charity activities to promote a balance of the charity’s activities in line with its broader purpose and objectives
– Submitting reports and photos of events to press for publication, sourcing results from team managers, coaches and event websites as appropriate
– Submitting reports to Weekly Notices coordinator, social media and WCPSC website
– To liaise with external reporters/photographers and provide with information prior to the event
– An awareness that the photography of athletes must comply with the guidelines contained within Wavepower, and Swim England Child Protection Policy
– Liaise with Marketing and Publicity team to drive audience growth

Personal attributes required:
– Excellent written and verbal communication skills, attention to detail and flexible approach, with the ability to meet deadlines
– Knowledge of competitive swimming and the charity’s activities would be helpful, though not essential, as this information can be provided
– An enthusiasm to encourage and promote the values of Winchester City Penguins

If you are keep to volunteer, please contact Katie Thorman volunteers@wcpsc.org.uk