How can I get involved in little athletics?
There are many opportunities to get involved from joining the committee, becoming an age manager, helping as an official, in the canteen or just helping an age group or with setting out and packing up equipment. Athletics requires a lot of volunteer support to run. Each competition night we need around 70-100 volunteers to make it all work.
Are there any vacancies on the committee?
Our committee is almost full. All we need now is a canteen manager. If you are interested in performing this vital role please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can have an operational canteen. The canteen helps keep registration fees low and funds equipment purchases. At this stage we will only be running a barbecue until we can fill the position. You can make a big difference by volunteering for the role.
Are there any age manager vacancies?
Every age group from Under 6 to Under 15 has a boys age manager and a girls age manager. Technically none of the positions have been filled yet but no doubt many of our age managers will be keen to continue in the role in 2008/2009. There will be vacancies in the Under 6 age group as this is our youngest age group. If you are interested in age managing or assisting an age manager please let us know when you register your child/children. You can share the role, this already happens in a few groups.
What does an age manager and their helpers do?
An age manager coordinates the movement of each age group through the nightly program. An age manager begins the night by collecting the age group board from the hooks behind the main sliding door to our equipment shed and a basket to convey drink bottle and jumpers. The age manager meets the group in the centre of the ground behind the relevant age group marker. Once directed by the program manager the age manager leads the group through each event as per the program (unless otherwise directed by the program manager of committee member) advising the program manager as they complete each event. The age manager has a role in coordination for each event. In races the age manager liaises with the starter to identify how many children can run in each race and coordinates the children accordingly so that they are ready to move on to the starting line in lanes or a pack as required. In field events the age manager ensures that parent helpers assist with coordinating children, recording results, spiking where implements or athletes land, measuring, adjusting and retrieving equipment. Age helpers perform these roles as directed by the age manager. Field events usually require a minimum of three parents to run.
What officials positions are available?
We need time keepers and starters for the straight (6-8) and circular track (5), place judges, walks judges on competition nights. Time keepers use an electronic stop watch to time races, starters use a starting pistol and voice commands to start a race, place judges determine race places and walk judges assess walkers for technical proficiency during competition. We need to maintain a list of volunteers for these roles not only to fill these positions each competition night but also to have backup officials to assist when regular officials are unavailable. The roles are surprisingly easy to learn and no prior experience is necessary. You will learn all you need to know while performing the role and through mentoring and self directed learning.
What happens when we cannot get enough volunteers?
Everything slows down or comes to a grinding halt. This will be most noticable at the beginning and end of every night. At the beginning of the night we will impede the commemcement of an age group that has insufficient helpers. We will generally not start the track events until we have sufficient officials. Although the track should start almost at 6pm on the dot we are often delayed until 6.15pm or later trying to get volunteers. Sometimes we have to run less lanes. For example with six volunteers on the straight track we may be able to run four lanes (1 chief time keeper, 4 time keepers and a place judge) an additional two volunteers makes a big difference allowing us to run 6 of a possible 9 lanes. The more officials we have the more we can get in to each race resulting in less races run and less delays on the track. A ten minute delay can often lead to a twenty of thirty minute delay in finishing as the impact compounds.
What if I can't volunteer every week?
A little volunteering is better than no volunteering at all. If every parent volunteered at least a few times each season there would be less burden on the minority who volunteer every week. Whilst we love to see regular volunteers there are always spots to fill for those who can only help occasionally. Age managing for example can be shared and there are regular times when a regular volunteer is unavailable and someone else needs to step up to the role.
What help do you need with equipment?
A lot of equipment needs to be set out and packed away each week so any assistance you can give with these tasks will be appreciated. Our equipment manager and assistant cannot do everything by themselves. They usually arrive about an hour before competition starts and are still packing away equipment well after the last athlete has finished competing. With good management equipment can be put away as the last age group finishes with it so that most of the equipment is returning to the shed while athletes are still competing in other events.