17 - 23 May 2021 marks National Volunteer Week (NVW) where we celebrate the significant contribution of Australia’s almost six million volunteers who dedicate over 600 million hours to helping others every year.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of community sport and it’s essential for clubs to reward, recognise and retain them. In South Australia, the labour input of volunteers in sport is estimated to be valued at $272 million annually.

Hugo (Rockstar) Taheny volunteers with Athletics SA, taking photos of athletes in action at weekly athletics events. We caught up with Hugo to find out more about his role and the joy he gets from volunteering…

Name and age?

Hugo (Rockstar) Taheny, age 20.

What do you enjoy about volunteering? 

I like helping people and I like taking photos of people doing athletics.

How did you first become involved?

Debbie from my Athletics Club had noticed some photography that I had done on my Instagram page. She asked if I would like to help by taking some photos at athletics events on a Saturday, after I had finished competing. I said, “Sure can!”

What are your key roles when volunteering?

I take ‘action shots’ of athletes competing on Saturdays at Athletics SA Interclub competitions. I send my favourite 10 photos to my friend and mentor Matt who posts ‘Hugo's Highlights’ on the Athletics SA social media sites. At the Nationals I helped my friend Michael take photos - it was really cool!

In what ways has Athletics SA made you feel recognised and rewarded?

They have made me feel so good! Everyone says hello to me and lots of people tell me that they love seeing the great photos I take. I like wearing the media vest and I like having a chat with my friend Matt when we work together.

Why should others volunteer like you?

Because it is really good to help other people. When you are a volunteer you can learn lots of new things and it’s fun!

For Hugo and the 250,000 South Australians who donate their time and energy to community sport and recreation clubs, volunteering gives a sense of purpose and achievement and improves self-esteem and confidence. It’s also a great way to develop skills and potentially create career pathways.

To get involved with volunteering or find volunteers for you club, visit the Volunteering SA&NT website and discover opportunities for clubs and individuals.