Behind every successful athlete there is a committed family and this is certainly true in the case of emerging wheelchair athlete Calum Sloan. Calum’s parents and two brothers have been behind him throughout his sporting career. Training and competing can be a challenge when specialist equipment is involved but Calum consistently receives the best of attention. Disability Sport Fife (DSF) is indebted to the many parents and significant others across Fife who provide essential back up to performance athletes and recreational participants engaged in physical activity, including sport.
DSF benefits immensely from parents and significant others in so many ways. Calum’s mum Gayle for example is now a fully committed volunteer coach with DSF and the Fife Sports and Leisure Trust (FSLT). Gayle started volunteering when DSF set up the Thursday run, jump and throws session at Pitreavie Athletics Centre for young athletes with a physical or sensory impairment. As the session developed and more youngsters signed up, Gayle completed her Level 1 Athletics Award. With DSF coach Pamela Robson has her mentor, Gayle has developed into a confident, enthusiastic and valued DSF volunteer assistant coach.
Run, jump and throws have introduced Gayle to coaching but it has not stopped there. To date she has attended additional athletics workshops, badminton and boccia leaders awards, classification and Sports Coach UK workshops etc. The Level 2 Athletics award is on her radar for the future and she has taken full advantage of her new skill set by signing up as a volunteer coach at the Thursday morning FSLT multi sports sessions for adults with additional support needs at the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre. Almost 60 adults attend the session weekly and Gayle is a key volunteer member of the coaching workforce. In addition Gayle has helped to co tutor a schools boccia Festival and will be involved in an October holiday athletics session in the west of Fife.
Volunteers are critical to DSF and many play their part as coaches, leaders and officials. Parents often become invaluable volunteers and then develop as coaches and officials. As Calum has progressed along the sporting pathway, Gayle has enhanced her skills and increased her confidence as a multi sport coach. The Sloans are just one of the Fife families that DSF respects immensely, values enormously and depends on consistently. Volunteering to coaching or officiating is an exciting and rewarding consideration for all parents and significant others.
Photos: Gayle being presented with an award at the 2016 DSF Awards Evening by the Provost and Julie Hogg from the Russell Hogg Trust.
Richard Brickley MBE
President, Disability Sport Fife