Our Rugby Tike’s coach, Neil Gray has been recognised by the City of Boroondara as a great example of volunteering, as they celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Boroondara Volunteer Resource Centre.

We quite literally couldn’t exist without our wonderful volunteers like Neil, who devote their free time to helping kids have fun, make friends and keep fit. So to Neil and all our other amazing volunteers, we say a big THANK YOU!

Full text of the article in the July edition of the Boroondara Bulletin Riversdale Ward wrap around is included below:

Tackling the volunteer challenge

This year, we are celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the Boroondara Volunteer Resource Centre – a remarkable milestone.

Boroondara has one of the strongest rates of volunteering in Melbourne, with more than a quarter of residents donating their time. Our volunteers play a vital role in our community, with many Council programs and initiatives relying on their assistance.

Neil Gray runs the Rugby Tikes program at Kiwi Hawthorn Rugby Club – a program for keen rugby kids aged 3 to 6. It introduces them to rugby union with games, fundamental movement skills, teamwork and all the fun of shouting the team chant at the end.

“I have always worked in sport, and I grew up in sports clubs back home. I love the value that helping people be both physically fit and emotionally fit can bring,” says Neil.

The club is driven by volunteers and mostly parents who want to provide opportunities for their kids, especially after the last 2 years.

“After COVID-19, people want to get outside, be active and do all the things they missed out on. To facilitate that you need people who are willing to put their hands up to organise and administrate or officiate or coach,” says Neil. “It’s also really important that we provide that environment for our kids to interact and be active and engaged.

“Our little kids in the Tikes program are always pretty nervous when they turn up but the volunteers we have there always get around them and we are building up a great culture.

“As a coach who has worked in high performance in 3 sports, it’s a great challenge for me to come up with drills that involve Pokemon and Cars characters!” says Neil.