Kirsty Letton

What was your experience in sport growing up? 

My experience in sport through school was always hockey and more hockey. With a little netball included in the summer term and tennis out of school at the local tennis club.

I enjoyed most of it but there was a minimum of athletics which might have been a little more appealing.

What is your volunteering experience to date?

I don’t think I did much volunteering early on – I was married quite young and after my two children went to school, I was certainly looking for something. Before I went back to work part time, a neighbour suggested curling. Now there had been a tenuous link with my grandfather as I think he used to curl but whatever, I knew folk who played so I went along and tried. That was the start of years of commitment to the sport in one way or another. I loved it!

After perhaps 5-8 years, there had been several courses attended around Scotland where coaching was encouraged and basic qualifications set down and therefore volunteering began in this specific way. But by 1983 plans were afoot to hold a World Men’s Curling Championship in Glasgow and this was held in The Kelvin Hall in the Spring of 1985. There was a tremendous amount of work that went into the preparation for this event and I was asked to look after the volunteers required.  I had a very efficient and hardworking committee and we had about 300 volunteer curlers who dealt with everything from driving teams, parking, security, seating, cleaning to ironing flags!

We transferred to a new ice rink in Glasgow the following year and that was an opportunity to start a Coaching School – Curltec which was linked with the RCCC and we had coaches who were available to run small classes and who had all attended the latest course on the Curling Delivery.

But having had a good committee it wasn’t long till we were asked by the WCF rep if we would organise another World Championship in Glasgow, this time the Glayva World Ladies in 1988.  It went well and although a lot of hard work by many people it was a great experience learning even more about what makes a successful event.

I had several years around that time when I served on RCCC Committees.

Then there were the Worlds in Glasgow in 2000 where it was transport, accreditation tours and tickets.

Soon after that Wheelchair curling had become well established and the World event was held in Braehead in 2005 – with the honour of HRH Princess Anne attending.

Each event was special and another learning curve albeit similar in many ways but the preparatory work spread over the preceding year in each case and as always, a clearing up spell afterwards!

During some of this time the Coaching Pathway had been set up by the RCCC and I was a Level 1 coach. Then a Level 2 Course was trialed and 12 curlers from around Scotland were asked to be the initial group. I did find that very interesting and it had been very well prepared and was the basis of future courses for Level 2. Shortly after that, 6 Coaches were asked to take part in a Tutors course – we had a Level 2 course for coaches – but Tutors were needed to complete the scenario.

This was also interesting and as I seem to remember run by sportscotland who also provided the Assessors courses which came after that.

Apart from competitive curling and coaching at local level, I was also working part time up until about 2000 when we moved to Ayrshire, but luckily for me I was in the Teaching and Learning Service as a research assistant at the University of Glasgow which did relate in many ways to coaching/tutoring/assessing.

What/who inspired you to get into volunteering/what do you enjoy most about it?

I don’t know if anyone inspired me to become involved in volunteering but if you are playing a sport you love there is a desire to share that with others especially if you can help them to improve and increase their enjoyment.

This is probably what I like most of all. If through your training and experience you can determine what can help each individual to improve and overcome any difficulties they have, then that is worthwhile.

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

I have been extremely fortunate in having opportunities come my way over the years when I have been available and able to take advantage of them. In the coaching side of things there have been no barriers as volunteers are welcomed and encouraged.

In event management there are no barriers as such, just problems that have to be overcome!

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

If there is a hobby or a sport or an activity that you enjoy and other folk find interesting, then you will have great satisfaction in becoming more involved, adding to your own knowledge and experience and helping others to do something similar.

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


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