Ruth Wilson

What was your experience in sport growing up?

I have always loved sport. At school, hockey and athletics were my main focus. Outside of school, sporting activities were accessible through youth clubs/groups, like badminton & table tennis, all run by volunteers, but there wasn't the same variety of options and structured clubs like we have now. When I left home and moved to Edinburgh for University, there were far more opportunities for sporting activities, and again joined as many as was possible to fit in, continuing hockey, but also taking up trampolining and mountaineering. It was fantastic to get involved in something new, including gymnastics.

What is your volunteering experience to date?

As a young adult, I volunteered in the local youth groups and then at University I saw my first formal volunteering on the sports committee, which I thoroughly enjoyed and it was a great learning experience. Within gymnastics, I started as a parent helper and then got drawn into coaching and judging and then gradually onto the technical committee for Scottish Gymnastics. I was also fortunate enough to be able to get involved not only at Scottish level but also British level, which has led to me volunteering at international events such as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. I have loved having the opportunity to represent my country through sport, it's a great honour, and one of my latest best moments was judging for Scotland at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

What/who inspired you to get into volunteering?

I found opportunities for sport when I was younger though other volunteers, so it felt natural for me to volunteer to give something back when I joined a sport.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

There are so many different aspects to mention, but working in a team, getting to know people, gaining new skills, being part of the wider sport that enables others success to name but a few...

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

Volunteering takes time, which is sometimes difficult to find when you have a young family and a full-time job, but I found the balance between being involved with sport, and working with children and young adults which was in a completely different area from my work life was very rewarding. It was also challenging sometimes when I needed to study and going back to learning, but again the benefit from that learning was insightful to other aspects of life.

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

I had no idea then when I first took my daughters to a gym club, that over 25 years later, I would still be involved in the sport. It has played such a big part in our family life and opened opportunities for achievements in sport, way beyond what was available as a young person. Volunteering can be very rewarding and opens all sorts of avenues for achievement and personal satisfaction with involvement in sport beyond being the athlete, just take that first step and see where it takes you.


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


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