Tim Herod Development Officer talks of his volunteering opportunity to help out at a local Park-O orienteering event at Impington Leisure Centre.
Tim, says: "I was recently contacted by the club to see if I was available to come and help at a local Park - O orienteering event at Impington Leisure Centre. I thought it would be a great opportunity to help and see what volunteering for an event entailed. I replied 'yes' and within a few hours received an email from Andrew Henderson the organiser of the event thanking me for offering to help and then detailing the times and areas that he was hoping I could help with.
The day of the event arrived, and it was not raining so things were looking good, I was scheduled to arrive at 12.00 noon and help another volunteer Peter set out the signage and car parking routes for potential participants. Andrew met us both and then gave us the necessary resources and a briefing so that we could get things set up for a 1.00pm start. It was great to have a chat with another member of the club as we set out signs and directions. After we completed the task designated, I then went to registration which was inside the leisure centre reception area and was asked to help with the process of showing new participants the way to the start and giving them the basics of taking part at their first event. The registration team were excellent and very well organised ensuring people did not have to wait a long time but still ensuring they all understood the process of taking part.
It was at this point that I noted orienteering was the main sport taking over the grounds and facilities at this busy leisure centre and not the normal fitness/football/swimming activities, which was great to see. I proceeded to take my groups of families across to the start, for many this was their first experience of orienteering. When they arrived at the start, it was time for me to hand over to the start team who then gave a very professional briefing for all those going out onto the course. This back and forward from registration to the start continued for the next 2 hours and gave an opportunity to meet over 100 people taking part in the event and really seeing how much people were enjoying the experience.
After each family completed the course they returned to registration where they were getting the results from the recent run and being told about future events that they would be welcome to attend locally, all within 3-4 miles of the city of Cambridge. The final orienteers have returned and it's time to help clear away taking down banners, signs and other bits and pieces and finally off home after what has been 4 hours of really good fun helping with a really great group of people from the club, delivering an excellent event. It was great to receive an email thanking me for my help on the day, and it is something that I will most definitely do again, supporting the dedicated volunteers at the club, so my thanks go to the two Peters, Andrew, Hebe, Hazel, Helen, Fiona, Iain, and Stephen on the day but also the other volunteers such as Caroline the planner, who all help with mapping, promotion and all the other key areas of running a successful orienteering club.
It was great to see the club was awarded a substantial Sport England Grant to ensure the club can continue to deliver excellent orienteering activities for the local area."