Celebrating National Volunteers Week with Canoe Slalom’s Cameron Folder

Sport in Australia would not be the same without the volunteers that exist at its centre, and this National Volunteer Week, Paddle Australia is celebrating those who give their time, energy and effort to make our sport possible.

For long-time paddler Cameron Folder, volunteering was the logical step once his children took up the sport.

“I’ve been paddling most of my life and in particular did quite a lot of paddling and competing when I was in my late teens and 20’s,” said Folder.

“After that, I started paddling in a more recreationally sense, and did so for about 20 years until my children started paddling and I began to once again get more involved.”

Now the Chair of the Canoe Slalom Technical Committee in Tasmania, Folder is an advocate for giving back to the sport in a volunteer sense.

“When I was coming up through paddling as a young person, I was always surrounded by some really good people that role modelled the importance of volunteering,” he said.

“In part because of their involvement, I’ve always believed that a commitment to volunteering comes as part of the sport, so I’ve always looked to contribute where I can.

“Volunteers mean the events can happen. In Slalom, the events simply would not happen without them.

“Our sport has so many benefits, but to make it happen we need people to give their time to the community, even if it is in a reduced capacity,” he said.

For Folder, volunteering is a continuously rewarding experience.

“Seeing events happen is one of the most rewarding parts of volunteering,” he said. 

“As kayaking can often be an individual pursuit, bringing large groups of people together who all have a passion for the sport is incredible. 

“You certainly get a lot out of seeing the positive interaction between a large group of people at events, and it’s always fantastic to see the progression of athletes, particularly the younger ones, at events that you run.

“The other great and rewarding aspect of volunteering is getting to work with the other people that give their time. I’ve been lucky to work with a great group of people over my time volunteering in the sport, and it’s always good to achieve things when working as a part of that group for the sake of the community,” said Folder.

Folder welcomed interest from new volunteers, stating: “A big part of our committee’s work currently is to encourage more people to volunteer.

“We’d love for more people to gain experience in some of the key roles such as judging so that it takes the pressure off the few who have experience, so feel free to reach out if you’d like to get involved.”

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