March 3, 2022, by Grace Dixon
Leader in Focus: Marina Symington
Once again, it has come that time in which we must celebrate the achievements of our fantastic volunteers. This month we are celebrating the hard work of Marina Symington, a volunteer who has taken part in our Sports in School program. Marina has delivered Ultimate Frisbee sessions to both primary and secondary school children. Not only that, but she has also been coaching fellow students weekly within the Ultimate Frisbee team here at UoN.
Marina has been kind enough to share her experience of volunteering. Here is what she has to say…
What has been your favourite thing about volunteering?
“In schools, the best part is seeing the children’s excitement about trying a sport they have never played before. Even within 1 session you can visibly see the improvement as they start to better understand how to throw and catch the disc.
Similarly, the most rewarding part of coaching my peers within the club is watching new players develop and find a passion for a new sport. Most students haven’t tried ultimate frisbee before university (and many have never heard of it) so it’s important to make the club sessions welcoming to players of all abilities.”
What has been the hardest thing about volunteering?
“It can be challenging to tailor the sessions in schools for children of all abilities. Sometimes they pick it up really quickly, while others take a little more encouragement. This can be especially true when we have a range of ages in the group.”
What is the most important thing to remember when volunteering?
“That first and foremost the sessions should be fun! In schools, you only get a limited number of weeks with the children. This means it can be difficult knowing that you won’t be able to see them progress further. It’s important to remember that the main goal is to make sure everyone has fun and that the children get an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
This principle applies when coaching my peers as well. With all the busyness and stress of university, players should be able to come to our club sessions, get some exercise, and socialise. Improving over the course of the season is a bonus that comes more readily when players enjoy the sessions.”
How has volunteering helped you/will help you in the future?
“Volunteering is a really great opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills. These will be invaluable in the workplace. I’ve gained confidence in my ability to speak in front of groups, as well as improving my ability to explain complex concepts to a range of different people.”
If you, like Marina, want to make a positive impact on the university, the local community, and your future then you can! Check out the Leadership Academy Website or join the Facebook group to stay up to date on all things volunteering at UoN.
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