Emma Howat

Emma has been a volunteer within skiing and tennis from a young age and won the Tennis Scotland Young Person of the Year award for 2022. 

What was your experience in sport growing up?

I grew up playing several different sports, but as I grew older I began to focus more on tennis and skiing. I competed in both sports for many years and then gradually moved to volunteering and coaching.

What is your volunteering experience to date?

I started volunteering when I was 14 years old at Firpark Ski Centre in Tillicoultry where I assisted the instructors with weekly ski lessons, holiday ski schools, race training and adaptive skiing. At the same time, I began to volunteer at Dollar Tennis Club weekly junior coaching. I continued to volunteer for the next two years (about 600 hours!) until I qualified as a Level 1 Coach in both tennis and skiing at age 16. Since then, I have gained my higher level qualifications in both sports and now combine volunteering with coaching. At Dollar Tennis Club, I voluntarily run three of our junior teams along with matchplay competitions, fun days and barbeques to try and encourage junior competitive participation.

 What/who inspired you to get into volunteering?

My dream was always to be a ski instructor. However, you cannot qualify until you are 16 years old and I wanted to get involved in teaching skiing long before then. So, I began to volunteer, initially only 1 hour a week, but I enjoyed it so much that this very quickly grew several days a week and getting involved in tennis as well!

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Tennis is a sport where there is a very clear development pathway and I have now been volunteering for long enough to have seen kids go from red ball, where they are learning just to hit the ball over the net, through to competing in our club teams and external competitions at yellow ball. Seeing them grow, not just as players, but as people is so rewarding. Knowing that the ‘bonus’ voluntary sessions/events you have run have helped in this development is inspiring.

Have you had to overcome any challenges or barriers whilst volunteering?

There are always challenges within sport (and life!), but I have been very fortunate to have been volunteering in clubs that have been incredibly supportive so I have faced very few barriers.

What advice would you give to others looking to get involved in volunteering?

There is never any harm in trying! If you don’t like it, then you don’t like it, but I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t felt incredibly fulfilled by volunteering. It has brought me so many amazing opportunities and experiences and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t got involved in leadership.

Date published: 14 July 2023
Date updated: 14 July 2023


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