What is the Young Volunteer Programme?
The Young Volunteer Programme was first introduced in 2005 and has run successfully in Dorset each year since then. The Programme provides a pathway for young volunteers to learn about, gain experience in, and contribute to the operation of their own club and aquatic sports at local level – while acquiring valuable skills that will translate in to other areas of their life.
What does the Programme involve?
The Programme in the Swim England South West Region typically involves a module such as the Young Aquatics Helpers Award or the Young Aquatic Organisers Award, offering a pathway into activities such as coaching and teaching or events organisation and team management, together with Club Timekeepers training that offers a pathway into officiating. In addition, YVs are required to undertake 25 hours of volunteering of their chosen activity or activities that can be undertaken in-club and for the County, which are recorded in a logbook.
What are the commitments?
The Programme commences with a workshop, usually in November, as an introduction to the Programme and for the module chosen for that year; in Dorset, a “Leadership & Communication” module has also been included which has proved extremely popular. In addition, all Dorset YVs undertake a Club Timekeepers course with a theory workshop taking place in January followed up with practical experience to complete the qualification, which has most recently taken place during Dorset Novice Swimming League galas. Both workshops must be attended and 25 hours of volunteering undertaken for a candidate to complete the Programme and successful candidates will be invited to attend a Presentation of Awards, which is usually held at the Dorset Development Competition in July.
What is the application criteria?
All applicants must be aged 14 to 18 years and a member of a Swim England club affiliated to Dorset County ASA.
Young Volunteer Programme 2022
More recently, and out of necessity due to the restrictions of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Young Volunteer Programme has taken place in different format. The aim, however, is to keep those athletes who may have thought about not returning to training involved in their club along with those who may have limited training availability in these difficult times. All workshops are currently delivered regionally online, and the Swim England SWR is working with the Swim England National Youth Advisory panel to ensure that all online workshops meet the needs of Young Volunteers. There will be up to six short online workshops, plus a project-based activity working with Young Volunteers from their club. Voluntary hours (25) will still be a requirement of the Programme, although dependant on the number of hours available due to any restrictions that limits club activity and do not necessarily have to be undertaken at the pool.