The Ontario Minor Hockey Association and Nothers have teamed up for the Volunteer of the Month program – a ‘rookie’ and a ‘veteran’ volunteer will be recognized each month through a profile highlighting their involvement in the game of hockey.
We were thrilled to see so many deserving nominations at the start of the season and have highlighted two winners below!
The Rookie (2> years) winner for November is Mark Switzer of Strathroy Minor Hockey! Here's his story as told by his nomination:
Taking time to organize, host and cover costs of pizza for a video review, organizing fund raisers to help reduce costs of tourney's and jackets, as well as lead coaching duties.
When did you first start volunteering and why?
I have been volunteering with various organizations (Minor Hockey, Local Soccer, Coast Guard Auxiliary) for over fifteen years now. My involvement with Minor Hockey started four years ago when my son was in U10. At that point was as an on-ice helper. It's fun helping the kids develop and getting to know them. I figure the more volunteers and help we have with a team, the better the program will be for the kids.
How has your role grown since then?
In my first year, it was just an on-ice helper ensuring kids were going through the drills properly and lending a hand where needed. Then I obtained my trainer's certification and was on the bench (and ice at practices) helping out in that role for the past three years. This year I obtained my DI coaching certification and am the head coach of the U13 A team.
What part of volunteering do you enjoy the most?
It's really exciting to see kids understand and implement things from a practice into a game setting. Plus, I enjoy joking around with them a bit and being there to encourage them both at practice and in games. Helping them walk through life lessons (i.e. learn to win well and lose well, or functioning in a team environment) is definitely something I enjoy.
What are some of the fundraisers you did this season and why?
Probably the biggest fundraiser was a multi-day BBQ at a local softball tournament. The kids were in charge of cooking hot dogs, taking orders, and also bottle/can collecting over the weekend. Interestingly, they only had to be there for a couple hours each day; however, they had so much fun as a group that I practically had the entire team there for both days!
How rewarding is it to volunteer as a coach this season?
Again, it comes back to seeing kids face a challenge and helping them work through it. If I can look back on the year and see that each player has improved their game in some way, then regardless of the win-loss record that is success in my perspective.
The Veteran (2+ years) winner for November is Amy Teeter of Township of Chatsworth and District (TCMHA) Minor Hockey! Here's her story as told by her nomination:
As a working Mom with a full time job, Amy works tirelessly at various roles in the TCDMHA organization (she currently holds 3 volunteer positions on executive as well as being manager and trainer on her children's team due to lack of volunteers). Often all you hear are complaints from parents and you do not get recognized for the fact that without you, the organization may not be able to continue. I would love to see her efforts acknowledged by the families in the organization as well as OMHA.
When did you first start volunteering and why? What are all of your current roles?
I started volunteering as a manager for my children's teams about 6 years ago. From there I went on to be a trainer. About 4 years ago I joined the executive for our minor hockey association. I started volunteering to make sure kids had somewhere to still play hockey in our small community. At this point I am the town contact & ice convenor for the association. As well as a trainer for both my daughter's teams and Manager of my son's team.
How do you manage volunteering in so many different roles?
That is tough to explain. Some days it is much easier than others. Now that the season is going, the craziness of the association commitments are a little less so that allows me to be able to help with the hands on team stuff. I have lots of great people around me on our association and our teams that help out where needed.
You stepped in when the team needed a volunteer. Why are volunteers so important in minor hockey?
Volunteers are so important, especially in small centres when there aren't as many families to draw from. I love the small town hockey feeling so I would hate to see associations have to fold due to lack of help.
Please use the form below to nominate a Volunteer. Submissions will be kept on file and you do not need to resubmit each month.
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