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This is my 41st year at my GAA Club -Henry Joy McCrackenns Moneymore. We held our 100th year anniversary in 2011. Its a family things ..my grandfather played goalkeeper, my uncle played goalkeeper, I escaped to play midfield as has my son. There is a real sense to keep the "home fires burning and keep the club afloat" in what are becoing difficult times for community clubs.
Reality and necessity kick in for the need for safeguarding, vetting and having minimum coaching standards: the challenge is to continue to encourge coaches and adminstrators to volunteer and for Governing bodies to support them and make their job easier. Finance and Governance: the challenge is to riase £20k to open the gate and pay for registation and insurance before we set foot on a pitch. Maintenance of our own facilites: the challange is to get volunteers to cut grass and mark pitches. Players: a new challenge: to maintain interest and numbers with the chidlren and youth how now have multiple commitments and options. For the older lads there is the fear of getting injured and out of work even though we have a very good personal insurance scheme.Reality is community sport has its challenges especially when our chairman was also our secretary and senior goalkeeper last year. We have had a bad start to the senior season (with me at the helm) losing our first four games (excuses.... well 5 retired, one to Australia, one to Canada and a list of injuries the length of your arm). Reality young players workng part-time jobs, studying, older lads more commitment to the family. But on we go....
A good friend of mine made a presentation at a Conference some yeas back where he talked about the last man / woman standing.
The last one standing... is a true description of volunteers around our club..... the pressure on volunteers to keep the ship moving in the right direction is something we cannot undervalue or underestimate. Our teams run from u6 through to senior - and when we get a win in the club its just reward for the volunteer effort. Well done to our u14s this past weekend. Our job is to keep them interested and off the streets...good citizens... bring them up as balanced you people who will contribute the community... keep them fit and healthy and hope that they will be the last one standing.....
I really like this idea of the last man/woman standing. I completely agree that ithe pressure on a voluntary staff is huge, and I also like that the work/family circle in that image is so large.
Balancing everything can feel like spinning plates sometimes! Espcially when you might only be able to steal an hour of time from loved ones to try to organise stuff.
I think a key thing is to make sure that responsibilites are spread out. What can often happen is that the most active member ends up taking everything on. While it might work in the short term...sooner or later he/she is going to burn out and you have a gaping hole in your organisation.
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