Experiences of volunteering in sport: Views from Aboriginal individuals
Our understandings of volunteering in sport can be challenged and broadened by examining the experiences of those whose volunteer efforts go unrecognized or unnoticed. In the mainstream sport system, one such under-represented and under-researched sector is the Aboriginal community. The purpose of this paper is to examine the experiences of Canadian Aboriginal individuals as sport volunteers. The paper is based on a re-analysis of data collected for two related research projects. The first study consisted of nine focus groups with Aboriginal individuals who volunteered for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal sport organizations. The second study involved five focus groups with Aboriginal individuals who volunteered at one of two multi-sport events. The data were manually coded on the dimensions of intended beneficiaries, structure, remuneration, and free choice (Cnaan, Handy, & Wadsworth, 1996). There was little discussion of the issue of free choice, however most participants spoke of choosing the organizations, venues, and sports they wanted to help. The primary beneficiaries of their volunteer efforts were Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal youth. While they helped out formal organizations and events, their preference in those organizations was for relatively unstructured positions, for not being managed, and for a fun and relaxed environment. Volunteering was generally understood as unpaid work; yet, there was discussion of the growing trend of paying Aboriginal individuals to volunteer. These findings illustrate a broader and alternative understanding of volunteering in sport and have implications for the management of sport volunteers.
Volume (Year): 13 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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