My Experience of Volunteering – Stephanie Knight

Football team lined up on a football park

I began volunteering seven years ago, when I was in 3rd year at school. I was a Sports Leader, Young Ambassador and Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Group at Smithycroft Secondary School.

In addition to this, I was delivering multi-sports sessions in my learning community and assisting with the organisation of many sporting events with Active Schools Glasgow.

I was also part of the Volunteer to Inspire Programme with the Scottish Football Association. This has involved working at Hampden on match days of some of the biggest matches in Scottish Football (i.e. Scottish Cup Finals and Semi Finals, League Cup Finals and Semi Finals and Scotland’s Euro Qualifiers).

I have been part of some of the important match day tasks such as escorting players to the media, sorting out team sheets and dealing with hospitality suites.

Children sitting in a circle in sports hall

I have developed a love for public speaking, specifically about my passion for sport and how it has changed my life. I was part of the delivery team for the Leadership workshop for the Sport Scotland Regional Networking Events in Dunblane, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness. In addition, I have delivered speeches at other events such as SFA VIP Workshops, Universities and Colleges.

The benefits of volunteering and why you would recommend it?

There are so many benefits to volunteering. Firstly, you can develop and enhance new skills such as confidence, communication, and organisation, gain experience and sometimes even gain qualifications.

You can meet new people from different cultures and backgrounds. Furthermore, volunteering can have a real and valuable positive affect on people, communities, and society in general. Most importantly, it allows you to grow and develop as an individual.

Any links between your volunteering and your course/career aspirations?

Volunteering not only allows you to gain experience in your chosen field but it also allows you to network and build connections which can help further your career in the future.

I am currently in my 4th year at the University of Stirling studying BA (Hons) Sports Studies. Alongside this, I am now a paid coach at Active Schools Glasgow, Rangers Soccer Academy and Rangers Charity Foundation. Furthermore, I am part of the Sport Scotland Young People’s Sport Panel 2020-2022.

Sitting with a child in an outdoor football park

I was 1 of the 20 successful applicants who came through a rigorous recruitment after applications were submitted by 172 young people from 29 of the 32 local authority areas. This role provides me with a national platform to represent the voice of young people across Scotland. The role of the panel is to help influence and shape the future of sport in Scotland and to raise the profile of sport.

For the past three years, I have been a paid soccer coach for Challenger Sports. In this role, I have spent my summers in the USA and Canada coaching young people of all ages and abilities. In 2019, I was promoted to a camp director, which involved running some of the biggest soccer camps in Canada.

How to get started with volunteering?

Here are my tips to get started with volunteering:

  • Decide which sector/field you would like to work in (i.e., sport).
  • Do your research.
  • Contact your local councillor, club, active school’s coordinator etc.
  • Have an open mind.
  • Say yes!
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’

Theme by the University of Stirling