As with all sports, Rounders England relies heavily on the time, energy and commitment of volunteers to support the growth of grassroots participation.
This dedicated group of people, who willingly give their time to enable others to play the sport they love, have a vital role in making sport happen.
Rounders England works with their delivery partners, at the centre of grassroots Rounders, to ensure that they have the tools and knowledge to support their volunteers and are investing in upskilling these individuals and utilising their potential.
One such volunteer has taken a group of like-minded females and facilitated a regular activity for them, which in turn has transformed into a team of volunteers who are successfully growing Rounders in North Devon.
Georgina “George” Crossman found herself reacquainted with Rounders back in the Summer of 2013 after searching for playing opportunities in her local area. The group have come a long way since then, now playing an indoor season, as well as an outdoor season and organising a number of charity events, tournaments and social gatherings along the way! George puts the success of the growth of North Devon Rounders down to ‘a team effort’. While there is a core group who work together on the general running of North Devon Rounders, they are supported by other players who become involved at some of the annual events. George said;
People have got involved in ways they are comfortable, where they have an affinity with something; we try to work to their strengths.”
This ethos has continued to work well for the group; much of its evolution has been organic. George is quick to acknowledge the combined efforts of all of the individuals who have contributed to and continue to contribute to North Devon Rounders. From booking ice cream trucks to coaching indoor sessions, to photographing the activities; Claire, Mair, Hannah, Charlie, Ally, Laura and Nicole are all at the helm. Many of the other players support by either umpiring, sponsoring or generally helping out, and North Devon Rounders could not operate without this support.
Beyond the group, some of the players supported the local primary schools 2015 Rounders competition by umpiring at the finals. The group see this as a great way to back the game in North Devon, and to raise awareness with future players. They will definitely be first in line to volunteer in 2016.
George’s eagerness to volunteer is submerged in her passion for Rounders. She wants to share her love of the game and finds getting others involved rewarding. She said;
Seeing people who last played when they were at school come and pick up a bat and get the bug again is amazing. Anyone can play, and there is such variety that, for example, if someone doesn’t like bowling they can play in another position. It’s a sport that is open to all ages and abilities.
Secondly, in building a team we have a group of people who have formed firm friendships and been able to support each other outside of Rounders. There is a great camaraderie amongst us and we enjoy playing together.”
Before coming to Rounders, George had volunteered previously, in both sporting and other capacities and was employed by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the Equestrian Sport Team. She said
As a result of some of the previous volunteer roles I have held, I had the opportunity to work at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience!”
Volunteering is an ideal way to get involved in sport, develop new skills and stay engaged in a sport. Volunteering can be a rewarding activity which helps you to meet new people and take on new challenges through roles such as coaching or administration.
Moreso, without people like George, grassroots sports like Rounders would not exist.