THE volunteers of our world do not ask for recognition, they simply enjoy giving back to the community and seeing people benefit from the fruits of their efforts.
But when Central Murray Board Member Sheridan Harrop was awarded the RACV Volunteer of the Year at the 2017 Netball Victoria Community Awards on October 21, she received the best of both worlds.
While being presented with the award, she believes the real reward is in the strength of the Central Murray Football Netball League.
“I’m still a little bit shocked and it was a bit unexpected, but very honoured. It’s not something that you strive for,” Sheridan said.
“The reward is what you put into the sporting community and the achievements you accomplish — seeing the league improve and players reap the reward — it’s a high in itself.”
On the night, she explained, in humble fashion, that with more than 40 other nominations, many others were more deserving of the award — but the facts do not lie.
Growing up in a netball family, with both her mother and aunt playing in the league, Sheridan’s always had a passion for netball.
Since 2006, she has been heavily involved in the league, even before taking on a role on the board, having coached at both junior and senior levels in the league.
But eight years ago, the netball league was struggling to find someone willing to volunteer for the role of president.
The board voted in a new by-law, whereby each year, a random club would have one representative take the role annually.
Lake Boga was the team, and Sheridan was cast into the role.
However, before her tenure ended, talks occurred which resulted in the formation of football and netball in the same league, the league we still know today.
With Sheridan already in an executive position, she felt she had to stay on the board at first.
“We started discussing the new system with those from the football, and I just felt obliged to stay on the board,” she said.
With a range of ideas on how to improve the system, Sheridan certainly gave it her all, holding a range of roles, including co-ordinator of interleague and tournaments, setting up an academy program, beginning umpiring assessments, being the liaison officer for the Central Murray region and coaching state teams.
During the past two years, she has spent numerous time focusing on junior members of the league, creating numerous programs, with priority of those improving umpiring development and netball skills.
The end result saw participation in the league increase by 200 per cent since its introduction.
However, while Sheridan is continuing on with a few of her roles, including Central Murray region officer, she will be stepping down from the board, but is adamant the league will be in good stead.
“We are growing, with programs covering the entire region,” she said.
During her tenure, many from the community have been supportive of her efforts and have invested a great deal of time themselves, with Sheridan appreciating their work.
“Thank you to the sporting community. They have invested as much or even more into improving our game. We’re all just striving for the same thing,” she said.
To read more about this story, grab a copy of Friday's Guardian (November 3).