When we first tried catching up with Gungahlin United Football Club volunteer Cath Ferguson, she was literally neck-deep in jerseys and shorts.
As the club’s uniform coordinator, Cath was charged with one of the most challenging roles a volunteer could be handed—clothing around 2000 Gungahlin United players, from Under 5s to seniors.
With that task nearly complete, Cath is breathing a little easier.
But would she do it all over again?
“I would—absolutely,” she says.
That’s because, just like the many other volunteers who dedicate their spare time to helping the club run smoothly, Cath is simply happy to help.
“Volunteers are essential—the club basically won’t work without them,” she said.
“Seeing the huge smiles on children’s faces when they receive their kit made it all worthwhile.
“It was also inspiring to see the preparedness of our other great volunteers to pitch in and help you.”
It’s National Volunteers Week this week—the perfect opportunity to recognise the contribution people like Cath—and thousands of others—make to their community.
GUFC is the largest community-based sporting association in Australia, so the club’s dedicated band of volunteers are essential to its survival.
Canteen manager Kevin Keane is another example of the tireless volunteers who work behind the scenes to help the club become a success.
Each Saturday, the Gungahlin canteen turns over more volume and revenue than most small businesses in Canberra.
And Kevin’s front and centre every weekend!
“Over the last 14 months or so, I have been fortunate enough to foster approximately 10 young people ranging from 10 to 17 years old through their first job,” Kevin says.
“We now have a 13 year old running the front counter, a 17 year old qualified barrister, and an 18 year old running the busiest community sporting BBQ in Australia.”
Kevin and his team have had hundreds of unsolicited complements from visiting patrons claiming the GUFC canteen is by far the best sporting canteen in the region—so they must be doing something right! The Murta family are part of Kevin’s amazing brigade of volunteers.
The Murtas are regular fixtures in the canteen, with all four of them involved each weekend, either serving at the counter of working on the BBQ.
Their efforts were recognised by the club in 2017, winning the family volunteer of the year award.
“We will volunteer as long as we are welcome,” Nicole Murta says.
So the next time you’re buying a sausage sandwich from the canteen, or handing out uniforms to your kids, or simply watching a game from the sidelines, spare a thought for the people who gave up their spare time to make it all happen.
Who knows, it might prompt you to become a volunteer with the club too—they need as many as they can get!