Our Young Volunteers are the next generation that will one day take over from the “old fogies” and continue to carry on the volunteering legacy that came before – whether it’s at Slipstreamers, with British Cycling, or indeed in any other sport. As part of our process to help our current YVs grow and develop, we have asked them to “shadow” a volunteer for a session, and share their stories. We’ve heard from Callum about “What’s It Like Doing Club Admin?” , Seth who tells us all about “A Day in the life of a Club Mechanic, and now …
In this issue, Elizabeth Marvelly shares her experience after shading a CWO for a session…
“Seeing as my mum, Shirley Marvelly, is the Club Welfare Officer and also a First Aider within the club, I thought it would be good for my volunteering work to shadow her for a session; while also gaining knowledge and hours for my Bronze Award. It really was an interesting insight to the behind-the-scenes action of Slipstreamers, as there was more to just pedalling around the paths of the circuit with a first aid kit then I initially thought… including the important art of tea drinking.
Before we got out and about, Mum and I started our job in the First Aid room. It involved sorting through each of the bags and drawers and boxes, checking there were enough rolls of tape, pairs of scissors, adhesive and non-adhesive strapping and bandages… the list just seemed to go on endlessly.
Honestly, it was a lot to remember and I have no idea how Mum managed to remember how many ice packs and blankets she needed off of the top of her head. I guess it’s a bit like times tables – it has to be done and once you’ve got it, no matter how much you dislike it, it’s going to stick.
Obviously, while sorting through bandages and adhesive pads, Mum decided I wasn’t doing enough and made me put on some rubber gloves and sort through an older kit, finding things which could be used, and separating them out from everything which no longer could. Once I got the old kit sorted through and out of the way, it was much easier checking through the newer kits, mainly because while flicking through the fresh and clean bandages, I knew everything was in date and up to scratch.
Once everything was in order, it was time to talk to people. As a Club Welfare Officer, it is important that everyone is doing and feeling okay; not only with themselves, but with the people they are working with and the children they may be assisting, coaching, serving hot crossed buns to or tying bandages around. It may sound like a boring job, but it is actually much more interesting than it sounds.
So, with the first aid kit slung over my shoulder and my Mum on a bike beside me, we both set off to the different areas of the track, checking everybody was happy and that everything was in order. We checked in with different Coaches, mainly static, and made sure the groups looked like they were doing the right thing at the right time. It took a lot longer than expected, as there were many people to talk to. It’s one of the perks of being a Club Welfare oOficer, I guess, because it means you have quite a wide knowledge of the club and everyone inside it – almost mandatory for someone with a role like Shirley.
Checking in with Coaches and riders is nothing to be sniffed at, so the tea break was both important and welcome. Before that day, I never knew how much of a tea drinking expert my mother was – trying to keep up with her pace of drinking scolding hot tea was more wearing than trekking about the track with the first aid bag!
When there was a crash at the end of the race, it was great to see how Mum would react. She honestly makes keeping calm at the sight of injured riders easy and the kit organising in the morning really did pay off. Not only did I finally, after all the years I’ve seen it happen, get to call the car to collect the crashed riders and guide those still racing around the crash site, but I even had to call Alison… which isn’t a first, but I’ve only had to call her about things such as misplaced keys misplaced by my mother, much less about a crash and potential serious injury at the apron!
I have definitely learned a lot while shadowing Shirley, including what is actually required to be a First Aider, what being a Club Welfare Officer involves, and equally importantly, how to be an expertise tea drinker.
I am glad I am very glad I did this as part of my volunteering!”
If you are 14+ and interested in becoming a YV, do please talk to Asti or John Gunn. Read Hannah’s blog here about what it’s been like for her as Young Volunteer with Slipstreamers.