Get amongst it!

Don’t let the Featured Photo and first few paragraphs fool you, this post ain’t all about Rugby.  Trust me and read on!

While I was watching the Blues vs ‘Canes the other night (great game, poor result…) this Kia ad came on:


I actually thought it was exceptional, saying so much without saying a single thing. The thing is I turned to Kerryn and said “Great ad, but for me it’s the total opposite”.

When I get to the club on a training night or game day and close the car door behind me all the noise switches off. All the commitments, to-do’s, must do’s, deadlines and pressure, whether they be work, social or family-imposed, all those voices in my head demanding my attention are muted with an audible *click*.

All that’s left is one voice that speaks with a purity and singularity of purpose –

“Let’s leave here a little bit better than when we arrived”

Get involved in your local sports club, whether it’s as a player, coach, manager or volunteer. If nothing else it’s a great escape from reality a couple of times a week!

Which brings me to my point…

Clubs need volunteers.  Whether it’s Sport, Arts, S.T.E.M. – it doesn’t matter, they all depend on, and thrive with, people who can contribute a little bit of time, energy and passion to the cause.

As much as I want to talk about Rugby Clubs, I’m going to deviate from my usual path and talk about something else today (Yay! I hear you say.).

Jono participates in a S.T.E.M. club (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) that is run by one of the mums at his school – Jenni.  She does a great job of bringing simple scientific principles to life with the kids.  Jono LOVES it and it’s served to stimulate what was an already healthy thirst for knowledge of how things work.  He loves doing experiments and each week Jenni takes her band of merry little scientists through a simple but effective exploration of the world around them.  Concepts that you would have thought well outside the grasp of a just-turned-6-year-old like Surface Tension and Displacement were quickly understood through exploration.

The thing is Jenni, like so many enthusiastic and willing volunteers, is doing it on her own and isn’t funded.  She relies on her own knowledge, supplemented by our dear friend Google and whatever comes to hand in her household.  Sometimes supplies need to be funded out of her own pocket.  She doesn’t charge the children to explore science, she does it because she loves it.  But love only goes so far, and without support it’s inevitable that sooner or later Jenni will throw in the towel.

Why? Because it’s hard.  

It’s hard to come up with a new concept every Monday.

It’s hard to translate that concept into something that can be digested by young minds.

It’s hard to find the supplies to run experiments with the kids.

It’s hard to wrangle a bunch of children with varying levels of engagement, maturity and knowledge, even if it’s just for an hour a week.

It’s hard to be at school every Monday at 3:15pm, organised and ready to give 100% of yourself, regardless of what might be going on in your life at that point in time.

It’s damn hard when you are doing the whole thing by yourself, trying to find more interested participants. And volunteers. And petition the school for some funding/supplies/help, because it’s plain to see for anybody that turns up that the kids get a tremendous amount of value from it.  And that value extends beyond S.T.E.M. club – enthusiastic and interested kids are a hell of a lot easier to teach when it comes to Inquiry (apparently it’s not called science at school anymore) sessions.  It’s another one of those symbiotic relationships (who was listening last time?)

“A burden shared is a burden halved”

What Jenni really needs is for a few parents to join forces and share the load.  A few brave souls who might not feel like they have a lot to add but give it a go anyways.  Just a couple more people that are enthusiastic about helping the children unlock the world around them.  Forget about all the reasons why you can’t and find a way to make it happen, it’s worth it!

To bring it back to Rugby (because all good things lead back to rugby) – I gave it a go last year, put myself way outside my comfort zone and was surprisingly rewarded with a happy place that I get to escape to a couple of times a week.  Maybe you can find yours?

And to all of the wonderful Jennis of the world, keep fighting the good fight!  Who knows, the inspiration you provide may one day lead to incredible scientific and technological advances, magical new Arts that will be cherished for years to come, or even the next Beauden Barrett (who will play for the Blues this time!).

So get out there, get amongst it and give a little part of yourself!

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Want to talk about it? Comments are encouraged below!



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