National Volunteer Week (Monday May 18 to Sunday May 24) is the annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of Australia’s volunteers and give thanks to the countless people who make our communities run.

The Rockingham Basketball and Recreation Association and Rockingham Flames rely primarily on its band of selfless, hardworking volunteers to ensure domestic, WABL and SBL competitions can run, from coaches to scorers, court controllers to parents.

Without these people willing to give up their time for the benefit of the players, there would be no basketball in Rockingham, and at this uncertain time we feel it is more important than ever to recognise and acknowledge these valuable assets to our club.

We’d love to profile every single person involved at the club, and give thanks for the time and effort they put in, but that’s not practical. Please know that we appreciate you all and without you the RBRA and Flames would be worse off. But here are some words from four of our brilliant volunteers about what volunteering for the Flames means to them.

Jodie Heath

“My first volunteer role with RBRA came in 2016 when I volunteered to manage the Under-14 3 boys for the 2016 WABL season. I volunteered because I hate to sit still and I’m always looking for something that needs doing. I’ve volunteered for more than 30 years in various roles. In my younger days I was an active Volunteer Fire Fighter, but after having kids I stepped back and took a volunteer admin role with a Volunteer Bush Fire brigade, which I only gave up last year.

“When my boys were old enough they took up Little Athletics and I served on the committee in Kwinana in various roles for five years. Then they found basketball. My husband and I played for many years so we were excited to be involved, first with coaching and managing our boys’ domestic teams, and then when our oldest decided to try WABL it was a natural progression for me to put my hand up and take the team manager’s role. I have continued in this role for both boys ever since.

“I have also served on the Domestic Basketball Committee, the Board of Directors for a short time, the SBL Committee, WABL Committee, Touring Committee and I’m the merchandise officer. Call me a fool, but I’m still on some of these committees today as well as a team manager to both my boys’ WABL teams and the Men’s SBL team!

“If I had to choose one thing I enjoy most about volunteering it’s the kids, and not just mine! To be able to be part of these kids growing, developing on and off the court, their wins and losses, it is truly a privilege. Nothing brightens my day more than the hugs I get from my basketball kids when I walk through the stadium – best feeling ever! It’s also the Flames Family. I see this week in, week out; people stepping up and helping each other, having each others’ backs and coming together as a club and family to support each other on and off the court.

“My favourite memory is the 2017 Under-14 Championship Division WABL grand final – the boys were down by a few points and our captain went down with a serious knee injury, He was the heart of the team, their leader, and with only a minute or so left on the clock the team rallied together and the captain, refusing to leave until after the game, watched courtside in a wheelchair while the boys came from behind to win. But the 2019 Dandenong tour would also be up there. We had seven teams travel in all and two came home with grand final wins. It was amazing to be part of… I may or may not have cried after some of the wins.

“The Flames are a family and that’s what makes every memory special. If anyone ever has an inkling that they want to give more to, and get more out of, the club then put your hand up and volunteer, whether it’s as team manager, helping out on SBL nights or serving on the domestic committee, don’t hesitate. There is room for everyone regardless of how much you have to give and the experience is wonderful.”

 

Travis Young

“I moved back to Perth from Kalgoorlie in 2009 and knew a few of the Rockingham SBL boys fairly well, so I decided to move back down near the beach and see how things panned out. Eleven years later and I’m still here, so you could say volunteering has been a good decision.

“I wanted to get back into WABL coaching so my first team for the club was an Under-18 2 Boys team, who weren’t elite but they played with heart and for each other. That team taught me a lot in six months on what it meant to be a Rockingham team and also just to be part of the club in general – we have out differences but at the end of the day we will stick up for each other against any ‘outsiders’. That struck a nerve with me as it says a lot about how good the club can be.

“Over the years I’ve been a coach, referee, SBL announcer, had a couple of very average attempts at being an SBL statistician – that gig is a lot more complex than it looks and they do a great job – been a board member for a few years, and most recently given the opposition some advice from the baseline bar! I’m still coaching the Under-14 Championship Division Boys and hopefully we get a WABL season because they have some serious talent in that team. Each player adds something special and makes them an absolute blast to coach.

“The Flames Family is a real thing. Everyone in our club knows everyone, especially those who have been around for a while. We have some amazing talent coming through right across the club – players, coaches and referees. It’s an exciting period for the club and I guess the most enjoyable thing from that aspect would be to see how the club develops that wealth of talent over the next few years. I’d love to see some of them follow in the same footsteps as so many of our former juniors who have gone on to our men’s and women’s teams.

“I have endless memories and friendships at the club that I’ve made on SBL road trips or grand final successes. Learning from some amazingly talented, but humble, coaches who are elite at what they do. I guess from a personal standpoint I was extremely lucky that Brad Sammuelson took me under his tutelage during the time he had a phenomenally talented and dominant boys group through 18s and 20s in my early years at the club. ‘Sammy’ and those boys taught me a lot of what was required to be an elite WABL team as well as how to maintain that over a long period. I think that has shown in my coaching the last few years, being able to coach a couple of teams who have also had that same vein of dominance and elite players and team play. Hopefully I can pass that knowledge onto some of our younger coaches and players in the years to come in the way Sammy did for me.”

 

Karina Tudor

“To tell the honest truth I really don’t remember when I first started volunteering with the club, it’s been a very long time and I wouldn’t change it. I wanted to volunteer because Rockingham is my home and I want to give back. Currently I serve on the board of directors and I’m also the domestic director. I mostly enjoy helping out and just giving back.

“My favourite memories are all the friendships and new friends I’ve made over the years. It also gives me a sense of giving back to the Association I love.”

 

Charlene Ingate

“I first started volunteering for the Flames in 2018 because I wanted to help out a friend who was in need. I’m always around the club without ever really being in sight! I find volunteering brings joy and happiness to me, which is shared with all the Flames fans. My favourite memory was being on the sideline watching the ladies win the 2019 grand final.”