“You’ve got to identify the need,” Thomas said. “I think that’s just really clarifying the different roles and then saying, ‘We’re looking for volunteers to do this specific task,’ and then honor that.”
She also discussed the roles of parents within disabled sports; Bridge II Sports doesn’t allow parents to coach. Parents have a lot on their plates caring for children with disabilities, and that care is their first role, according to Thomas. Plus, this eliminates any friction caused by a parent’s bias toward his or her child.
Parents help with phone trees, in groups of three, and, as with any other sport, help with fundraising, Thomas said.
As far as volunteer retention, honoring volunteers and making a point to let them know “we couldn’t do it without these volunteers,” Thomas said.
Finding the right roles for volunteers goes a long way, too. If someone finds a passion and fulfilling work as a volunteer, they will stay, Thomas said, adding that it’s why the job descriptions are so important.
“The thing is, if you get the right fit, you do create sustainability,” Thomas said.
Ultimately, if a disabled hockey program wants to find good volunteers, it takes work, like trying to find corporate sponsors or teaching a drill, Thomas said. If they want to grow in disability sports, it means having qualified people in key roles.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.