Bella youngster embraces volunteer spirit

The commitment, passion and generosity of volunteers sustains grassroots sport.

The role volunteers play in providing athletes with the opportunities they need to develop and improve is vital. Yet, their efforts can often go unrecognised as they operate, in many cases almost anonymously, in the shadow of others who are at the forefront of the action.

However, as one of Bellahouston Harriers' youngest members is finding out, volunteering can be enormously rewarding.

Cara Wotherspoon has been participating in the Glasgow Sport Young Leaders program. The scheme is open to those aged between 14 and 18 years of age who have shown a "commitment to volunteering within sport in Glasgow".

Under the program, Cara meets once a month with other children on the program where she gets the chance to learn new sports and acquire new coaching skills and qualifications.

"You get the chance to pick the sport you want to learn about and then teach to others - everyone does something different," Cara said. "You coach your sport to your group and then they coach you about their sport, so you get to try different things. I have coached triathlon and technique for running, such as what you should be doing with your arms and your posture."

Cara gained eligibility for the program from the work she has done coaching younger children in Glasgow's south side.

"I coach sport most Saturday mornings to primary school children," Cara said. "Between 50 and 100 kids go along at any one time. The sessions are multi-sport. My main group of friends all coach there and I get to try different sports and coach different people."

"Through volunteering I have learned about how everyone has different needs, how some people find certain things really easy and others need more help, and that you should not treat everyone like they are the same person because all the children are different," she said.

When she is not volunteering her coaching services, Cara is happy just to run. She has been coming to Bellahouston Harriers for three years and enjoys the atmosphere at the club.

"I like how everyone is really friendly and I know everyone," Cara said. "If you are having a bad run you can always talk to someone about it. I'd encourage other children to give Bellahouston Harriers a try, even if you think you won't like it. It is not as hard as you think it will be. I have made a lot of friends out of it too."

Cara said she gets a special thrill from competing in cross country races.

"Cross country is special," Cara said. "I like how everyone is doing something together and for themselves at the same time, and I love getting covered in mud."

Cara's selflessness and maturity made her an ideal candidate for participation in the Glasgow Sport Young Leaders program - something which was recognised by her nominee, Bellahouston Harriers head coach Tony Coyne. In future, Cara can see herself taking over from Tony and pursuing her interest in coaching.

"I want to focus as I get older more on coaching," Cara said. "I think I'd like to do Tony's job and be the head coach at Bellahouston Harriers - I want to help people to get really good at running. Coaching for me would not be a full time job. It would be a hobby. I really want to be a physio or someone who makes prosthetic limbs - this is something I did work experience in recently and loved it."

It's a lofty set of ambitions, but for Cara anything is possible.

Interested in Joining?

Bellahouston Harriers are an amateur running club based on the south side of Glasgow.

Our friendly atmosphere and great coaching make us a great choice if you are looking to start running for a club or if you have run with a club before.

Click here to find out more...

Twitter Feed