For Tabatha Ellem, volunteering is in the family.
Northern NSW Football is thanking its 8,000 dedicated, hard-working volunteers that make playing football in our region possible this week as part of National Volunteer Week 2020.
National Volunteer Week, from 18 to 24 May, is an annual celebration which acknowledges the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers. This year the theme is “Changing Communities. Changing Lives.”
Ellem said she “accidentally fell” into volunteering at Grafton City when she signed her son up to play with the North Coast Football club in 2014.
She went along to an annual general meeting and walked away as secretary. That role also saw her join the Rushforth Park Town Clubs committee.
Needless to say, those responsibilities keep her busy.
“I find it very time consuming sometimes. But in saying that it is rewarding,” Ellem said.
“For example, we raised some money three years ago and got the kids a new playing kit and I have to say they look quite smart on the field.
“The looks on their faces are just gorgeous. It brings a lot of joy. Sometimes you might get frustrated and things like that, but you do it for them. It’s all about the kids.”
Not only does Ellem dedicate countless hours to the running of the football club, her husband, Scott, has been a volunteer for the Kangaroo Creek Fire Brigade for the last 35 years.
It’s fair to say volunteering runs in the family.
Ellem paid tribute to her club at Grafton City and their tight-knit community.
“We have a beautiful little club,” Ellem said.
“We back each other and support each other. We might not have many turn up to an AGM but if we send a message out saying we need help with this or that then we get it.
“Our parents and volunteers are very supportive in that way.
“Because we’re only a small club, basically I’m the first point of contact for the club. My name and phone number is on everything. I do all the emails, attend most meetings we are required to go to, help organise lots of stuff around soccer and the club.
“I have a great little committee and a fantastic treasurer/registrar in Brian Gallaher, who picks up a lot of the slack when I can’t. You help out wherever you can.”
It is quite an effort from someone who is still learning the game.
“I had no idea about soccer at the start. I’m slowly learning. I will be honest, I don’t even understand the rules,” she said with a laugh.
“That’s what I’ve got referees for.”