National Volunteers Week | Norsworthy and Hopper help bring national volleyball events to life
Volunteers are at the heart and soul of Volleyball Australia. Volleyball clubs, state associations and national events would not be what they are today without the dedicated and hardworking volunteers who bring them to life.
As we celebrate National Volunteers Week from 15 – 21 May, 2023, Volleyball Australia says a big thank you to all volunteers involved in our great sport.
Two such volunteers who make national volleyball events possible, are referee Jayden Norsworthy and Schools Cup volunteer Chelsea Hopper.
Norsworthy is a very familiar face on the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour, and this year he refereed his first international event at the Gold Coast Beach Pro Tour Futures event.
“I first got involved in refereeing when I was approached by one of my club members, Michael Pitt (NSW) who is an experienced referee,” Norsworthy said. “We started talking about the rules of volleyball and he suggested that I go to a referee course to get a better understanding of the rules. From there I started refereeing games and my passion for refereeing grew.”
Norsworthy, who was named Volleyball NSW Referee of the Year in 2022, says that becoming a referee has given him an opportunity to give back to the sport he loves.
“[I love] being a part of the game in a different way than a player or a spectator. I have the best seat in the building on the referee stand and I also like showing players where their faults are in their techniques so that they can better themselves.”
Chelsea Hopper also started in the sport at a club level in South Australia; volunteering her time to help in the canteen, collect money at the gate, umpire and coach while she was still in highschool.
“Growing up I played many sports, and just seeing how happy and passionate the volunteers at these clubs always were really stood out to me,” Hopper said. “I couldn’t wait to get in and start feeling that too.”
Hopper then stepped up her volunteer game and put her hand up for the biggest volleyball event in Australia – the Volleyball Australia Schools Cup – which she attended as an athlete during her own schooling days.
“Schools Cup events have been the highlight of my years,” she said.
“The sense of belonging, the lifelong friendships created, and the feeling of satisfaction as the participants walk around the stadium with massive grins on their faces, knowing you’ve helped create that is something so special you won’t ever forget.”
Both Norsworthy and Hopper agree that the community they have become part of as a volleyball volunteer makes all the hard work worth it.
“Nearly every event I go to is a great memory, because everyone that volunteers, works and referees at an event is there because they love the sport and want to contribute to the event,” Norsworthy said.
“Volunteering leaves you with a sense of accomplishment while also helps you feel part of a small community,” Hopper added.
“If you’re thinking about volunteering, but not 100%, I honestly can’t recommend it enough. It’s the easiest way to make yourself feel great, while creating such special friendships and memories along the way. Once you start, you definitely won’t go back,” she said.
“The days may be long and sleep can be little, but the people who come to the events make it fun and enjoyable, so you wont regret it,” added Norsworthy.