Rebecca Larkan is one of our junior parkunners aged 11 years. She started parkrun in March 2017, one month later she started volunteering, sorting tokens after parkrun. Since then she has volunteered an amazing 35 occasions, Marshalling, Barcode Scanning, Funnel Manager, Tail Walker, Token Sorting and general runner. She is a very happy, bright young lady who always has smile on face and willing to do whatever is needed at parkrun. She has written instructions for new token sorters to follow on how tokens need to be sorted, checked for missing tokens and stacked on the storage pegs ready for the following week.
Century City parkrun’s Co-Event Director Nickie Sale was very proud to have been able surprise Rebecca and present her with her VIP purple 25 club t-shirt during one of her school assemblies. Rebecca usually volunteers along side her Mum Julie and Dad Scott (when he is not working) Julie says Rebecca doesn’t really have a favourite role but enjoys marshalling and token sorting including helping with collecting tokens at the scanners. She likes to organise and to ‘boss’ parkrunners. She enjoys working with the Century City team and even though she’s currently the youngest member, she can contribute and be given responsibilities.
The principal at Rebecca’s school, had the following to say about her:
Rebecca is a polite, friendly, helpful and trustworthy learner. She takes responsibility and participates well in a group. She has a very positive, bright and uplifting personality. She is a helpful learner who assists where she can whenever the opportunity arises. She is a spontaneous and enthusiastic learner with a great sense of humour and confident, yet humble.
Congratulations Rebecca! I am extremely proud of you! Keep on being the helpful girl you are! Your friendly personality is noted by all you meet. A true example to people around you. Your hard work is appreciated. You are the best. You are a person that always works hard and whom someone can depend on. Well done! You go girl!
So, let’s talk about the “V-word”, volunteering. We have all heard that “volunteers are the heartbeat of parkrun” or “without volunteers parkrun will not be possible”. Well guess what! It is absolutely true! However, this is something you will only understand once you have gone through the 5 stages of volunteering…
Stage 1 – “Oblivion”…
You are new to parkrun – you are all psyched up, you have your barcode with you and you are ready to do your first parkrun. Your attention is immediately drawn to the people wearing high-viz vests. And you start wondering – what do they do? Why are they there? Who are they?
Stage 2 – “Appreciation”
You soon realize that they are volunteers. Some of them do announcements, some of them marshal and show you the way and then when you are done you see timekeepers, token handlers and barcode scanners. But it is only when you receive your email with your results that you start feeling thankful. These people gave up their time so that you can complete the 5K without a hitch.
Stage 3 – “The guilt trip”
Week in and week out you walk, jog or run. You notice the friendly volunteers every time. You hear the pleas for volunteers, receive the volunteer appeal e-mail or even read some cries for help on the parkrun’s Facebook page. Slowly, you start feeling guilty. This emotion is not as pleasant as all the other emotions you feel when doing a parkrun. It is like a little cloud covering your parkrun sunshine…
Stage 4 – “The nervous jitters”
You have finally had enough of the guilt and have decided it is time to volunteer. But now instead of feeling better, you might feel a bit worried. What if you make a mistake and you cause the event to fail, or if you do something wrong? Maybe you are not even sure how to do a particular volunteer role. You feel a bit overwhelmed. But you take a breath, dig deep for a bit of courage and go to the event.
Stage 5 – “The volunteer high”
At the event you receive instructions from a very helpful Run Director. All the other volunteers greet you with extra smiles and encouragement. You socialise a little, while still doing the task handed to you. It is way easier than you have expected! You meet new people. You have fun and then for the first time – you reach the volunteer high. You didn’t realize how much joy you would experience and can’t wait to volunteer again!
We hope that you have experienced the volunteer high too! If not, contact the volunteer team closest to you – they would love to meet you!
Hendi and Henry Wolmarans – Wellington parkrun
This newsletter’s volunteer heroine is Madz Loots. Madz is married to Jacques and has three children. She has run 159 parkruns and has volunteered in numerous roles over 150 times. She was originally a Kimberley parkrunner and Kimberley is her home run. Now she is one of our most energetic and enthusiastic ambassadors working…
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