Team Spirit Champions is a training programme designed to support clubs and groups with improving the experience of their volunteers. Attendees are known as Team Spirit Champions. They go back to their club with plenty of ideas to bring bigger smiles to the faces of the people that make our sport happen: the volunteers. Thanks to Spirit of 2012, these sessions are free to attend, and provide an interesting, action packed opportunity to develop ideas and give practical tips on how to improve the volunteer experience in clubs and groups, make it easier for volunteers to carry out their roles, and easier for new people to get involved.
How Team Spirit Champions has helped me
Chris Millard is Chair and Head Coach of North Somerset Athletics Club, a club he started in 2004 with only four athletes. Chris was one of our first Team Spirit Champions who came along to a session in Yate in January 2018. Here is his story…
“I have often found it easy to forget that unlike me, most of my committee and club volunteers do not live, breathe and sweat athletics! I felt that I have always shown appreciation to volunteers that support the club, although I sometimes find myself wishing I received faster responses from them.
“And so, I came along to the session expecting to hear what I already knew, to help others but gain nothing myself from the session. I was completely wrong.
“To step back and consider volunteers from the perspective shown to me at the session reminded me that I can’t expect immediate responses from my volunteers and gave me some ideas for additional ways I could reward them. We often acknowledge our young volunteers at our annual awards evening, but this year we will also honour an adult volunteer. We have gifted our qualified officials with polo shirts to wear while they carry out their duties, leading to several parents complimenting these polo shirts and offering to gain an officiating qualification themselves. We negotiated a price with the food van that serves our events to give vouchers to all our volunteers for a hot drink and a cake. This means our volunteers do not need to pay for a refreshment and this was given to all volunteers, whether they volunteered for the whole event or just 20 minutes on registration. On this event day, we also trialled having a volunteer co-ordinator who ensured all volunteers were in position and comfortable in their role. We have never had such positive feedback from our volunteers, with some already offering to take on larger roles next time around.
“The positive impact of this programme on our club and the quality that we can deliver appears to know no bounds.”