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Volunteer hurdle too high for athletics club

Posted at 3:47pm Wednesday 18 Nov, 2020

Next to no volunteers are prepared to get involved with their children's athletics, leaving Hibiscus Coast Athletics Club president David Kayes with no choice but to cancel this summer's activities.

Despite having around 300 children aged 3-15 taking part in club nights at Metro Park in Millwater, he says less than a handful of adults stepped forward to coach, look after the activity stations or marshall.
In recent years students of Ōrewa College were paid a fee to help and coach, which gave the students leadership experience and a bit of money. However, David along with club captain Brad Barron, were still left to run things and do the administration, which is no longer sustainable.

David says many parents don't even turn up to watch the athletics, support and supervise their kids.
“One night I had to look after a group of 15 boys aged 10 and 11 – only one parent came, and he was coaching,” David says. “I was spending 15-20 hours a week running the two nights, not including special events.”

For two years, David has also been a “one man committee”. This summer he is not prepared to do it all again.

Any sports club relies heavily on volunteer parent help to keep it running, from administration and fundraising to coaching. David says the other option is to charge “a small fortune” in annual fees to cover paid coaches. Last season fees were $65-$120.

David says that since he announced the cancellation of club nights, there has been surprise and disappointment from parents.

“It is gutting. We have some really good young athletes and I feel for them. What I get out of it is watching them grow in confidence and skills. Parents are busy, but if they want this for their kids, they need to step up.”

He says it's also a blow for the club, which is still waiting for shared clubrooms to be built. “Not having clubrooms doesn't help. We've been at Metro Park for six years and still operate out of a portacom. It's hard to foster a club culture in those conditions.”

Although its long term future is uncertain if volunteers do not come forward, the club will continue to work with schools to host athletics days and Interschool Athletics and look to build the committee to start again next season.

Hibiscus Coast Athletics began in 2004 and was run at school grounds in Whangaparāoa. It went into recess in 2013, but reformed a year later at Metro Park.

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