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Volunteering – an opportunity for all ages

Ray Ebert and Rhiannon Sadow share why they’re planning to be part of the team for SIRR 2019

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any sport and rowing is no exception. Every aspect of our sport requires the support of our volunteer base – be it getting the breakfasts ready for the club rowers, assisting with boat weighing or simply answering questions from spectators and competitors alike.

Rowing Australia Life Member, and three-time Volunteer of the Year, Ray Ebert has been volunteering for the best part of 45 years and will once again be giving his time at the Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta. On the other end of the spectrum, Rhiannon Sandow volunteered for the first time in 2018, at the event, and enjoyed it so much, she’s returning again in 2019.

We caught up with the two of them to find out what inspires them to volunteer and why they would encourage others to be a part of the team delivering this year’s Australian National Championships.

“Volunteering seemed like second nature to me because of my upbringing, but I love being involved with people and our sport has some very high quality people involved in it,” said Ray.

“With rowing specifically, while I’ve been involved in it for 51 years, I make new friends every year and at SIRR I’m able to rekindle old friendships.”

Rhiannon, who is a current member of Leichardt Rowing Club, has been rowing and competing for over 10 years at a club level. The 27-year-old, who is originally from Mildura, is a genetic counsellor and made the decision to volunteer for the first time in 2018.

“I’ve rowed at club level for a long time, but those competing at Nationals are too fast for me! I looked to volunteer at SIRR because I wanted to be able to come along, watch some racing and catch up with friends from interstate who were competing at the event.

“I’ve chosen to come back again this year because the atmosphere and racing is great. It’s also great to be able to be a part of the sport, even when I’m not competing myself.”

Both Rhiannon and Ray strongly encourage others to part of the team delivering the event next month.

“I’d especially encourage other rowers who aren’t competing at Nationals to volunteer, as it’s a great opportunity to give some time back to Rowing Australia and all of the boat race officials who help us at every club regatta throughout the year.

“If you have not rowed before, it might just inspire you enough to give rowing a try,” said Rhiannon.

Ray echoed Rhiannon’s sentiments, adding, “I’d recommend people to get involved and throw yourself into it boots and all, you will meet great people and will learn new skills that will help you in everyday life.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to give something to other people, those participating in the racing, those putting on the show and the Mums and Dads and families in the grandstand. You will not regret it.”

If you’re inspired by Rhiannon and Ray’s experiences of volunteering and would like to be a part of the team delivering the 2019 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta – click here for more information.