Select Page

The impact of volunteers

Volunteers are a key part of our sport, supporting us from the grassroots all the way to the top.

Volunteers can make a lasting impact on our athletes and help them immensely to get to where they are today. Take a read of Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre athlete, and Coles Rowing Ambassador, Harriet Hudson, and how a particular volunteer has helped her on her rowing journey.

I first moved to Sydney when I was 17 years old. I had been invited to join Sydney Rowing Club, and I knew no-one there, but I accepted the offer. I had grown up in rural Queensland and realised that this would be a very large step. I struggled to adjust to the Sydney lifestyle for the first six months of my time here. I was trying to juggle the demands of high-performance rowing and living independently from home in a share house with a person I barely knew.

But then I met a lady who changed all that for me – Krystin Munro.

Krystin was a volunteer for Rowing Australia and thus my first meeting with her was at an under-aged National Rowing Team fundraising dinner. After learning about my situation as a young rower with no family in Sydney she told me that she would look after me – and that’s exactly what she did.

Introduced in 2015, Volunteering Australia’s definition of volunteering is ‘time willingly given for the common good without financial gain’.

My new friend and colleague embraces these very values.

I have chosen to write about Krystin as, despite her own busy life as a mother and a full-time worker, she had decided to develop her role as a volunteer for Rowing Australia, aiming to qualify as an Internationally recognised rowing official (boat official).

The huge number of hours she devoted to study and travel cemented her success in terms of her achieving her personal goals as a volunteer boat official with International accreditation. She is amongst the army of people who do just the same as her, meaning that the rowing regattas can go ahead, across the world, with volunteers often unseen. They are the people who may never have rowed themselves, maybe have never done any form of sport, may sometimes wish that they were somewhere else as the interminably slow hours slide by. But they all have one thing in common. They are all joined in their pursuit of excellence, aiming to make sure that the regattas run smoothly such that the athletes’ success is assured.

Not only did my friend and colleague spend many hours over the years volunteering selflessly to make sure that school regattas, State regattas and National regattas ran smoothly, she had time for me too. I now realise, as I contemplate Krystin’s story, that her aim was for my personal success. I know that she still continues to support other young rowers.

Our story felt like it had come full circle when I realised that she was my boat holder at the Under 23 Rowing World Championships in Sarasota in 2019. I owe so much of my success to Krystin.

If you are wanting to get involved in our sport and help make a lasting impact, why not get involved and volunteer for the #ARC21 happening next week, we still have spaces left! Click here to register your interest.