As part of Volunteers Week 2023 in June, Snowsport England asked all our clubs to nominate their Volunteer and Young Volunteer of the year (non-coaching). The awards are designed to recognise volunteers who go above and beyond their personal circumstances. Snowsport England understands that our volunteers are the lifeblood of the sport and deserve recognition at a club level as well as a national level. Our new volunteers’ awards (non-coaching) hope to do just that for all the volunteers out there.
Our young volunteer of the year (non-coaching) is a member of Pendle Ski Club, Clitheroe. The club like many across the country is run entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers. The love of the sport and enthusiasm can be seen from all the committee members, parents, and race squad.
Eleanor is a 19-year-old physiotherapy student at Nottingham University, who has a long history of volunteering and is delighted to have won the award. Sitting down in the club house, overlooking the Ribble Valley as the sun started to set, Steph (Participation Officer) and Eleanor chatted about her volunteering…
How did you get into volunteering?
My whole family have been volunteering for as long as I can remember, my mum was race secretary at the club for 10 years and my dad has coached for over 15 years. Growing up I used to help my parents out with little tasks at the club such as giving out bibs at Winter race leagues. This meant volunteering has become second nature to me and unsurprisingly, I initiated my own volunteering journey when I was at secondary school.
What’s involved in your voluntary role?
During covid my ‘social media hero’ role was created as the importance of online interaction with the wider snowsport community was highlighted. I started filming my dad’s coaching sessions to offer feedback to participations, these videos then slowly became the Instagram content for the page you see today. The online nature of the role means that I can still do the role, even whilst living away at university.
My role comprises of being the liaison between the skiing community and Pendle through the ski clubs Instagram page (@pendleracesquad). I am doing the admin on the page answering any questions, sharing relevant information, and trying to increase exposure of the ski club. I enjoy sharing stories of what the members have been up to as well as celebrating club successes.
Tell me about your skiing journey and involvement of Pendle Ski Club.
I started skiing at the club itself aged 4, having gone on a few family holidays abroad. My dad taught my brother and I to ski, meaning I progressed onto the race squad quickly, aged 5. I raced for Pendle Ski Club for 6 years before joining the Northwest squad.
In 2018, I was proud to be selected as a Snowsport England Dry Slope Ambassador, a role I filled for 4 years. I then moved to university and started a new role as coach for the University of Nottingham Snowsport club. I have watched on as the recreational skiers have transitioned into racers from my coaching. My passion for volunteering has spread across the other students, with many club skiers taking on club committee roles.
Throughout the last few years, I have been progressing with my Snowsport England coaching qualifications. This will enable me to keep a broad choice of voluntary role options, whether it be as a coach or one of the many other roles needed at the club.
I am aiming to complete my Alpine Performance Foundation Coach qualification, so I will be able to become a lot more active on the coaching side and pursue this further. I plan to stay actively involved in snowsport whilst at university and beyond.
What have you learnt from being a volunteer and how has it impacted you as a person?
Through my volunteer journey I have gained my coaching qualifications, but also changed greatly as a person. I have learnt how to be confident and converse with a large group of people whilst engaging and inspiring them. I have done so many roles in a voluntary position from teaching others about ski tech, helping on the slope or filming people and chatting with parents/guardians. I have found I am a lot more motivated to complete voluntary tasks as I know it will give other people the same opportunities as I have had. Volunteering has widened my horizons and given me a different perspective of the world!
What advice would you give another young person interested in volunteering?
Just say yes! You get so many benefits out of it; you are happier, and you understand and appreciate more that goes on. It gives you lots of skills for the future and things that you can reference when you are older.
Once again congratulations Eleanor, we look forward to following your volunteer journey.
If you are a young person between 14-25 years old and inspired to take up volunteering, please visit https://www.snowsportengland.org.uk/.
Your local ski club maybe looking for volunteers, so please get in touch with them directly. There are a wide range of volunteering positions available, from social media heroes, event planners, committee members and slope maintenance.