In preparation for Volunteers Week starting on the 1st of June I thought it would be nice to share my volunteering experience.
My journey with the Central YMCA started back in 1999. I had just completed my Level 3 personal trainer course, and towards the end of the course the tutors mentioned volunteering opportunities at the club in the gym and studio areas. Being fresh from qualifying, I felt that before I dive into running my own personal training business I needed a bit more experience in the field.
I sent in an application to the join the YMCA team, and was then invited to audition for a role that would assist on the gym floor with one of the exercise referral programmes. I passed the audition and thus my journey here begun.
Upon starting to work here I quite quickly began to understand why the Club had such a special feel about it and why this is reflected in the members who continue to come year after year. The atmosphere in the club felt like it was more of a community than a gym and the staff was a huge part of this.
After five years of volunteering I ended up doing some part time work for the club and eventually ended up leaving my old profession of nursing to take up a full time managerial position at the club.
The most important part of my journey has been meeting members and developing friendships over the last 18 years. It also gave me the opportunity to really learn from industry experts and grow as a fitness professional in a supportive and exciting environment.
Volunteers continue to play an important role in the various programmes that are run out of the Central YMCA Club, these include the children’s programme, the gym programme, the older adults programme and the healthy weight programme. We currently have 340 volunteers covering these programs and the number keeps increasing.
Volunteering at your local YMCA is a great way to learn new skills, build new friendships and contribute to your local community. It may also enhance your CV and job prospects for the future.
With YMCAs working in more than 660 communities in both England and Wales, there are plenty of roles to get involved in and opportunities to embrace.
For further information about volunteering at the club visit our work with us page.
About the author
Declan Duncan is the Community Programmes manager at Central YMCA Club. He is also a certified personal trainer and a YMCAfit tutor, covering the Older adults/ Westminster/Camden/Islington Exercise Referral, and the evening and weekend courses. Duncan previously trained and worked as a nurse in surgery before switching to fitness. Currently he teaches indoor cycling, older adults circuits and Zumba Gold.