DONNA Conheady has taken up many volunteer roles across multiple sports since she was a young child and there is always one theory she works from.
Her theory, which the 45-year-old still very much sticks to these days with Camperdown Football Netball Club and Terang Tornadoes basketball, is "I'm not there to watch, I am there to help out".
Conheady's first volunteering experience was umpiring at 11 years old with Camperdown and District Hockey Association.
At 18-years-old she took over as president of the association and held a number of other roles as well as continuing to umpire and play in Camperdown and Warrnambool..
She was also part of Hampden Tennis Association's committee for a number of years where she served as junior co-ordinator.
Now the mother-of-two is the joint-netball coordinator for Campderdown and is on the Terang Tornadoes Basketball Club's committee and is team manager of the under 16 girls team.
Conheady (nee Murrihy), the wife of Magpies stalwart and Hampden league life member Peter, said volunteering was one way she could stay part and serve the community she calls home.
"It gives you a complete sense of community and giving something back to community and being involved in the sport allowed you to get so much enjoyment over the years and keeping me involved in what my kids are doing," she said.
"I work off the theory that I am not here to watch, I am here to help out.
"I am not one to sit and watch. Sitting and watching is nice but it's just really nice to be involved in what my family is doing and giving back to sport as well"
Conheady said her desire to volunteer could be traced back to her upbringing.
"My dad (John Murrihy) was a volunteer for a lot of things when he was alive and as kids we (her and twin sister Mandy Dalton) learnt from our parents," she said.
"Dad was volunteer with the local CFA as a communications officer and also was one of the founding members of the Sportsmen Association.
"We had good role models for volunteering as our parents.
"They instilled it in us when we were young to give back to your sport and that was probably the main driving force behind why I help out.
"We grew up thinking that is what you did."
The sisters both started their volunteering at hockey but have since gone different ways with Mandy now helping out Warrnambool and District league club Nirranda.
Conheady is passing that same message onto her two daughters - Maggie, 16, and Sophie, 13.
The baton laced with the family's desire to help out, which includes Peter's long history of service with Camperdown and the Hampden league, started to shine through last year.
In 2019 Maggie was awarded the Hampden league's rising netball umpire award at the Maskell Medal awards night, the same year her father was nominated to be a life membership of the league.
Conheady said there was a few traits she believes volunteers should have.
"You have be diplomatic, open-minded and you have to not take things personally and be open to criticism," she said.
"You also have to love what you are doing and the people you are with. You really just need to enjoy it."
Connections have played a big part in why Conheady continues to dedicate her time to many different parts of her community.
"I have made some wonderful friends through sport and still continue those friendships from a personal level or professional level," she said.
"Doing the netball and co-working with Hampden league executive has been great. They have done a tremendous amount of work even though they do cop some criticism at times.
"There is so many people who do a mammoth amount of work and they are all volunteers. I have also enjoyed connecting with other people on club committees and have built a strong rapport with them.
"It (the connections) does drive you to want to come back with like-minded people.
Conheady usually spends the winter months dedicating 15 to 20 hours a week to the Magpies netball, whether that be Thursday training, Saturday game days or with admin work.
She was excited for the club's season because its volunteer base was the strongest it had been in years but because of the coronavirus forcing sport to a grinding halt she will have to wait.
Have a listen to this week's edition of The Standard's podcast on The Booletin and Beyond.
The dedicated Magpie concedes this could be her final year of helping out with the netball but she knows from experience it's not exactly a bad thing for herself and the club.
"You have to hand the reigns over to people who have fresh ideas and enthusiasm as you can be in a role for too long even though it is nice to bear the burden," she said.
"Involving others who are willing to help and accept that it is all not up to you. Everyone has a place and has a role.
"I think if you can't do that role anymore or aren't happy in it then you need to be more than happy to let someone else take over."
Conheady is showing no signs that she is willing to put away her volunteering cap anytime soon.
"I'm keen to keep going and keep playing sport for a bit longer and certainty hope to still stay involved in some way," she said.
"That's what people have missed during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's not so much the helping part but the socialising and being around people is something that I probably have noticed."
- For National Volunteer Week The Standard is celebrating the people who help sports across the region continue to run smoothly and efficiently. From Tuesday to Saturday a new volunteer will tell their story of service and dedication.
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