Volunteering – The Heart of Slipstreamers
Anyone who visits Slipstreamers to witness a Saturday session in action first sees and incredible number of focussed and driven youth having fun developing numerous bike handling skills. What is not immediately apparent is that everyone involved – both young and adult – in the organisation and management of Slipstreamers is a volunteer. Every individual chooses to volunteer for various different reasons: some want to make a difference so proactively seek out ways of doing so; many fall into it by chance without even thinking too much of it and yet find themselves being committed albeit inadvertently; and some are guided on a journey where they are allowed to explore their passions and are supported to fulfilling these as volunteers.
Whatever the pathway, each story is unique and we hope you enjoy those of some of our most committed volunteers who give their time freely and willingly to the Club and it’s membership. Do read the sections on the left to find out more about some of the awards our volunteers have won over the years, and the journeys of some of our members into adult volunteering on the volunteering section of the news hub.
Young Leaders Programme
Our young people at Slipstreamers start to volunteer anywhere from 5 years of age, with those between the ages of 14 and their 25th birthday considered Young Leaders. We have a fair number of our members who are actively engaged in the running of the Club. Some are still members, some have left the club but have decided to stay connected. Activities range from helping with sign on duties, packing away, tidying up and picking up litter, putting out signs, carrying stuff, supporting the mechanics, waving flags at events, judging races, producing media for the website, supporting the coaching teams, being rider helpers – you name it. We support and develop our Young Leaders, encourage them to challenge themselves to be the best THEY want to be, provide them with opportunities to build their resilience, and support their growth through getting them engaged and involved.
Young Volunteer Scheme
Anyone who helps the club is a Young Volunteer in our view, regardless of whether they are 5 or 15 years. At Slipstreamers we support 2 groups of Young Volunteers – those who wish to participate in the British Cycling Award for Young Volunteers (CAYV) scheme from the age of 14 years (our BC YVs); and those who just want to help out as and when they are able to without going down a formal route (our HSS YVs). Every single one of them are responsible in some way shape or form for the continued grown and development of their Club – and we are immensely proud of them all.
When a rider reaches the age of 14, we have found that although they still enjoy cycling as social activity they may not want to commit themselves to racing, so we encourage them to become Young Volunteers. Young Volunteers become mentors for younger riders, and begin to help out with a number of tasks within the club. Apart from the benefits to cycling and personal development, Young Volunteers often use this scheme alongside The Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme as part of the community requirement. Some log hours as part of their National Citizen Service volunteering. As part of these programmes, any time that is offered for volunteering is logged, and as different levels within the scheme are attained the requirements become more challenging. Volunteering experience is often looked for in both employment and university applications – so again, very important to develop life skills as well as bike skills, and we are proud to be able to facilitate this.
Young Official Scheme
Slipstreamers is very much a family, and when a rider reaches 16 they have to leave us as a club member. However, we don’t want to lose out on the years of dedication that a rider has made, so our Young Official programme keeps 16+ young people involved with the club. The Club in return supports Young Officials through a British Cycling Level One Coaching Award if they are interested, which is the first step of the Coaching ladder where new coaches begin to learn teaching techniques as well as interacting with riders at an aspirational level. For those that don’t want to be coaches, we continue to provide opportunities to grow and develop them as young leaders – both at the club during sessions, at external events, or by working with them to support their needs as young people approaching adulthood.
Volunteering opportunities are not restricted to the youth. The club supports all aspects of volunteering covering such areas as:
- Sign-on Team
- Riding Helpers
- Coaching Staff
- First Aid
- Child Welfare and Protection
- as well as many other back office functions
If you feel you have something you could offer, please make yourself known to any club official. Click here to see who our current volunteers are, and here to read about some of the awards received by our amazing helpers!