By samuel darroch
THE time has come to celebrate the pillars of our sporting clubs in National Volunteer Week.
As a volunteer coach, executive member, support worker and more across several sporting bodies, Gail Macfarlane knows firsthand how important the thankless task is to the survival of local clubs.
Maintaining key roles with Latrobe City Energy, Traralgon Basketball Association, Basketball Victoria, Gippsland Football Netball League and Moe Football Club, Macfarlane is closing in on a decade of unpaid service.
Her’s is no easy task, with countless hours dedicated to the cause, but Macfarlane would not have it any other way.
“I do enjoy it; I love being around the basketball, football and netball systems, it’s been a large part of my life since I was a young kid myself playing,” she said.
“It does take up a lot of time and it’s fortunate my family is involved, I figure while I’m there I might as well be put to good use and have a role.”
Macfarlane was an instrumental figure in increasing netball umpire accreditation last year, and this year her attention has turned to basketball player development.
“There’s a different priority and focus each year… I love seeing the results of hard work and collaboration come together, for example our pink night at Latrobe City Energy,” she said.
Macfarlane said National Volunteer Week was an opportunity for people to reflect on the efforts of those behind the scenes.
“There’s a lot of hard working volunteers out in the community and without those kind of people there just wouldn’t be a club anymore,” she said.
“In country towns (sport is) a bit of the lifeblood of the town so (for) volunteers to be recognised is exceptional.”
Basketball Victoria Country development officer Jodie Harlow said Macfarlane and all volunteers deserved to be recognised.
“Volunteers are an integral part of our organisation, without them a lot of our associations would flounder… for us it’s important we have volunteers out there that not only understand the game but… being in the community and promoting good sport,” she said.
National Volunteer Week ends on Sunday.