We consistently get feedback that VolunteerSpot's free and easy volunteer scheduling software saves leaders time and makes it easy for more people to volunteer. One of the most helpful applications of VolunteerSpot is coordinating parent volunteers for Youth Swim Teams.
What most people don't know is that it takes an army of dedicated parent volunteers to staff youth swim meets each weekend - timers, lane judges, concessions stand workers and more. Swim parents get up before dawn and stay at the pool for most of the day - all the while cheering kids, participating in the swim meet production, and enjoying friends and neighbors.
Today's VolutneerSpotlight shines on a parent hero - Lori, the Blue Sharks Swim Team Volunteer Coordinator from Knoxville, TN.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your role as a volunteer leader.
I have three very active boys, and I believe it is important to volunteer in the activities that they love. It keeps us connected, shows that I care about what they do, and makes me feel that I am doing my part.
With three boys, do you volunteer for other organizations, besides the swim team?
Oh gosh, over the years I’ve volunteered in so many activities: soccer, baseball, TSA, cub scouts, PTA and so on. In some I have had a small role and in some I’ve stepped up to lead. Currently I am involved with our elementary school’s Silent Auction fundraiser, our high school’s Project Graduation, and our summer swim team – the Gulf Park Blue Sharks (go Sharks!).
How did you get interested in volunteering?
I am following the footsteps of many other parents who volunteered before me. They have paved the way and shown me the importance of volunteering. It seems to me that when you see a kid who is involved and excited about an activity, you will notice that their parent is also involved in some way.
What are your volunteer needs at Blue Sharks Swim Team?
Ha – it might be easier to ask what we DON’T need. It takes over 60 volunteer jobs to run a single home swim meet. Juggling who is doing what when is a major task… and it used to be harder than getting the actual SWIMMERS to the right spot. We need jump judges, timers, scorers, concession stand workers… the list is long.
Why did you decide to use VolunteerSpot?
I had not yet really helped much with the Swim Team… then one day the Meet Director asked if I would be able to set up an online volunteer registration site. I started searching to compare what other sites did… when POOF, I found VolunteerSpot. I am so grateful that Google led me to you. I couldn’t believe that everything I needed was already available… and FREE. Now we can send out an email asking for volunteers at a meet, and our parents sign up directly on the site. I love that they don’t have to sign up or get a password or anything – the first click gets them straight to the calendar. They can see exactly what positions are still available… that alone used to take several phone calls! I can look at the EVENT to see who is signed up -or- I can look at the PERSON to see their events. That is amazingly handy. I don’t think we’ve ever had that capability before. I can print out the current status and take it with me to practice to get more help, then I can actually sign folks up myself according to what they told me in person. That means that the online list is always up-to-date (and no one can say they can’t sign up cause they don’t “do computers”). Finally, I really dig the messages it sends. I can send a message anytime I need to, plus the site sends automatic reminders to me and to the volunteers. I even get an automatic email if someone drops out at the “last minute.”
What’s one piece of advice you have for parent volunteers out there?
Get involved! You may think your older kids don’t want you around, but they do. Volunteering is the way to be there without getting in their space. Plus you’ll learn about the activity and be able to talk about it (I didn’t know what a 200 IM was, now I know why my son is exhausted!).
We salute Lori and all the volunteer heroes out there everyday making our communities better places to live! If you're using VolunteerSpot, write and tell us about what you're doing, and give us a chance to shine our Volunteer Spotlight on you!! Just email us at VS@volunteerspot.com.