#KentFAThanksU is about thanking our wonderful football family for the hours they give to our beautiful game.
Part of our two weeks of celebrations aimed to reward and recruit volunteers will be shining the spotlight on some of those volunteers.
These articles feature a wealth of information, guidance and advice from some of Kent’s leading volunteers.Today’s article is with grassroots coach and chairman, Leigh Willis.
What does your role involve?
I oversee the day to day running of FA Charter Standard Community Club, Anchorians FC which has 68 teams. I am also Chairman of the Kent Girls and Ladies football League.
I also enjoy coaching both an Under-8 and Under-16 girls teams.
How did you get into volunteering?
My daughter at 9 years old joined a local girls’ team. The coach was also running 2 other girls teams and asked for some help to set up a new team. Initially I was a bit hesitant, as I was purely an arm chair fan and had never played grass roots football. However, with a bit mentoring and support eventually I finally took that step into volunteering a running a team.
Why did you get involve?
To give a group of girls the opportunity to form a team, participate and develop not just as players, but as people with life skills that a team environment would nurture.
Do you have a favourite memory from volunteering?
A recent opportunity that volunteering has given me; was taking a team of girls to China to take part in 4 matches against local schools. This was a once in lifetime experience for all involved, with some saying it was the best experience of their life. However, on a weekly basis seeing more and more people at both a league and club level playing football each week, with smiles on their faces, having fun and enjoying the game is a great feeling..
How has volunteering benefitted you?
Volunteering has developed me as a person, both in terms of skill set and opportunities that I would never have been able to access without volunteering. Meeting great like-minded people that share the same passion for helping, developing and supporting others has been great.
Why would you encourage others to volunteer in football?
The rewards can be life changing, as you can see the impact your volunteering has on others, as they develop not just on the field but off it as people. Seeing something you have created making a real difference and benefitting others. Volunteering has allowed me to make some really good friends.
What advice would you give to new volunteers?
Keep looking at the positives and look at the difference you are making to other people. It is hard at times, but ultimately you are making a difference and will open many doors and opportunities for you to develop as a person.
Get your club and league involved
If you’re a member of a local football club or league, then you’ll know how valuable volunteers are.
#KentFAThanksU is your chance to celebrate and show your appreciation for those volunteers that make the game in your area possible for so many. We have launched a toolkit full of useful resources so clubs and leagues can make the most of the campaign by clicking here.
For more details
For more details of how your club and league can get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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