Celebrating National Volunteer Week with Canoe Marathon Community

Volunteers are integral to the fabric of the paddling community, and this National Volunteer Week, Paddle Australia is celebrating those who give their time and energy to the sport.

Marc Brehin is well known within the Canoe Marathon community as someone who selflessly volunteers his time for the betterment of the sport.

Currently the Club Captain at Encounter Paddling, a member of the Australian Marathon Racing Technical Committee and a member of the Paddle South Australia Competition Committee, Brehin is driven to volunteer due to his love for the sport.

“I was first introduced to paddling through orientering, I was involved in a 24 hour paddling event and it really wet my appetite for the sport,” he said.

“My love for paddling is really what has led me to volunteering. I do enjoy the sport that I participate in and that drives me to do things for the sport so that other people can enjoy it as well.

“What I do the most is organsing training and events. It’s not necessarily the volunteering itself that calls out to me, but what can happen because of it, and that’s being able to race and seeing other people able to race as well.”

Brehin enjoys the diversity of experiences that volunteering provides.

“What I do changes from week to week. For example, this week we’ve been building racks for our new club rooms at Onkaparinga Canoe Club in Port Noarlunga,” he said. 

“We’ve got dedicated club members – Sven Mollinar, Craig Fowler and Mark Finlay – who are helping put it all together. We enjoy each other’s company and we can see that we’re putting a quality facility together and that it should serve the sport for many decades into the future.

“On another note, I recently organised the 2024 Paddle Australia Canoe Marathon and SUP National Championships alongside the incredible Cathy Venning, President of Encounter Paddling.

“That was a great event and one that really brought our community together. 

“Volunteers really need the support of each other, and neither Cathy or myself could have done it without each other or our amazing club members that were so willing to give their time and help out with the running of the event,” Brehin said.

On getting started as a volunteer, Brehin says that there is a role out there for everyone, and encourages people wishing to volunteer to contact their local clubs.

“If you’re thinking about it, definitely get involved. Find out from those in the community what jobs are available and have a think about which ones you might like to do. Not all jobs are for everyone, but in saying that, there’s definitely something for everyone.

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