Platinum Profile - Steph

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Club - Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club

Q: What level are you currently at on the Cycling Award for Young Volunteers Programme?

A: Gold.

Q: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

A: The opportunities to experience new things, see different places and meet interesting people.

Q: How do you think being a volunteer has helped you?

A: It has without a doubt helped my confidence and other personal qualities. More so than that, it has given me life skills and experience. It has also given me a talking point and made me a little bit more of an interesting person.

Q: Is there anything you would change about your volunteering experience

A: Not as a whole.

Q: Where would you like your volunteering to take you in the future?

A: At the moment, it is more of a case of taking every opportunity I can and seeing where it takes me.
Steph's first blog...

Blog 1: 22-05-13

Round 6, Go-Ride Racing

On 22nd May 2013, my club held the third round of a six event Go-Ride Racing Series. The first two rounds were Cyclo-Cross races whereas for the third, we took a different approach with three skills courses – suitable for different abilities - on an oval grass track.

With the recent boom in cycling, we have less trouble in taking on volunteers and so we had all the roles covered for the smooth running of the event. I thought about how I could make myself busy and remembered the trouble I have had in finding suitable photographs for our website and other promotional material and so saw this as an ideal opportunity to get some pictures.

This took a short amount of pre-event work. Firstly I needed to get a list together of children who do not have parental consent for their photograph to be taken and secondly I needed to prepare my camera.

At the event, I spoke to the signing-on stewards to see if those who are not to be photographed are at the event and make sure I can easily identify them to either avoid them at the time of shooting or edit the photograph appropriately if it is to be used on the website or elsewhere.

It was nice to engage with the children in a different way compared to when coaching. I wanted to get some action shots but kids love posing for the camera which did throw up some other interesting and fun photos. I varied the shots to try and show the club as it is; friendly and encouraging while also being competitive and I attempted to be a little creative too.

Blog 2: 29/06/2013

National Youth Forum - Meeting One

Saturday 29th June saw the first meeting of the National Youth Forum. The forum has been formed of 12 pro-active young volunteers from all over the country with the idea for them to come together and share their thoughts and views of cycle sport as it currently is for youths.

The meeting kicked off with a bit of team-building to get every relaxed and talking, after which, we moved on to our prepared presentations talking about ourselves and what we would like to gain from and contribute to the forum. The rest of the day continued a similar theme mixing in active team-building type tasks with interactive discussions.

As a new development, some necessary set-up bits and pieces were required, including photos, profile information, code of conduct and the all-important mission statement; perhaps unsurprisingly, there were common themes and it wasn’t difficult for the group to agree.

Overall, it was a productive day and it was clear why each person had applied and been chosen for a place on the forum and there is no doubt that the enthusiastic members will make this forum work to the benefit of the current and future young people in cycling.

Blog 2: 26-06-13

Youth Forum write up

Round four of our Go-Ride race series was a simple set of grass track races. Each coach was paired up and given an age group – we had the 13+ and an even 6 riders turned up on the night. The younger groups had better attendance but we were pleased with 6 seen as rider numbers tend to drop-off at this age.

I left work - not as early as I wanted to (just like every other day) – stopped off at home for a quick change and grabbed some cones, first aid kit and as it happened on this occasion, a track bike which I was passing onto another member, and headed out to our venue. I was very grateful to find that two coaches had arrived early and set out the oval tracks for all groups. My fellow coach had also put together a suggestion of races and order, and sent them to me the previous day, as we didn’t have a course to set out, we had a discussion and tweaked the order and took one event out due to its complexity.

So far, little work on my part.

The riders began to arrive, after sign-on they were pointed in our direction. As they turned up I gave them a brief introduction and got them riding the oval track to get used to the surface and corners. When all the riders had arrived and finished warming up, we called them all together on the start line, gave them a briefing and the race order and then got on with the racing.

The first two races were time-trials, a one lap and a four lap of which I was timekeeper and managed to – after a few mess-ups – master the proper finger count down. For the remaining races - devil, handicap scratch, sprint, and Italian pursuit races - I was found judging on the finish line.

In between races, I spoke to riders, offered feedback and encouragement – something that I am always keen to improve on and do more. I tend to get better as the sessions progress, I am trying to speak with confidence and conviction right from the start of the sessions and not feel under pressure from other coaches or parents who are listening.

Blog 4: 7th August

On Wednesday 7th August, as an alternative to our usual weekly Go-Ride training sessions, we opened up the session to any parents and other adult relatives of our youth members to come and have a go.

The evening included a 1 lap time trial of a 400m running track, a skills course and fun relay races. We had a very impressive turn out which meant we could run all three events simultaneously. I tried to organise everyone for the relay races. It was adults against children with each group split in two and on opposite sides of the marked out area. Individual riders rode alternately to the other side until everyone was stood on the opposite side to where they started and the quickest team wins.

I encouraged the groups to get organised so that they knew who was going next to save time and confusion. I also encouraged a bit of competition between the groups as some of the parents were being a bit too considerate at times! To mix it up, they also did ‘pushing the bike backwards’ relay and scooting. It was good to give some of the parents a taste of what their children do each week and show them it’s not as easy as it looks.

Overall, another good session, however I could do with some more practice with the loud hailer.

Blog 5: Saturday 17th August

Annual Redditch community / music festival.

The weather forecast wasn’t looking the best and we have been at the same event in pouring rain with it ending up doing nothing for us. This year, however, the rain was minimal and the whole event had a superb turnout. Our club-branded gazebo and skills course was set in a prime location with lots of people passing by heading to the stages showing live music, this led to many having a go at the skills course, stopping to talk to us or just taking a leaflet.

I tried to fill a few roles on the day, including talking to people, one of whom was from the council and working on a well-publicised initiative to get more people on bikes and wanted to know more about Breeze and the work I had done for it. I helped supervise some of the children riding the skills course and gave tips on how they can improve, while also catching up with other club members and contributed to the decision making on some thoughts for future events.