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June Cadbury Volunteer of the Month – Jodi O’Brien

This week Netball New Zealand celebrates National Volunteer week – an opportunity to thank the countless volunteers who selflessly support the sport. We talk to Carterton Netball Club volunteer Jodi O’Brien about her volunteering experiences.

It is the small things that Carterton netball volunteer Jodi O’Brien holds close when reflecting on her time giving to a sport she loves.

This week Netball New Zealand celebrates National volunteer week and Jodi is just one volunteer from around the country to be recognised for her behind the scenes dedication to the game.

From being called on to strap injuries (having taken “a few strapping classes” to tackle the job), babysit the children of Mums who are playing, or simply to provide a supporting voice from the side-line – Jodi has never been one to shy away from giving her time for the Carterton Netball Club.

“I don’t like seeing people being stuck, so if I can help I will,” she said.

She was introduced to netball at primary school but started volunteering for the sport about eight years ago when asked to manage a senior school team her daughter was playing in.

“Once having children, I wanted to be involved in what they were doing which got me started as a volunteer in netball,” she said. “I think I enjoy being able to do something, no matter how big or small, to make people happy.”

Jodi is no stranger to giving her time as a volunteer having “helped out” for over 30 years with roles varying from working with the Young Farmers Show in Wairarapa, at the Wairarapa Balloon Festival, helping at school galas, school trips and camps, volunteering at the local kindergarten and numerous fundraising ventures.

“I’m not one for sitting around,” she said. “This keeps me busy and being able to help and accomplish a goal for a cause is something special.

“To be honest, I’m happy to be in the background and just do my thing to get the job done.”

Having become involved with the Carterton Netball Club, she took on the role of Primary Co-ordinator which includes managing 60 netballers from Years 1-8 – ensuring teams are fully kitted out for the season and ensuring they have a memorable prizegiving at the end of the season.

She has served on the Carterton Club Committee and the Netball Wairarapa Board for a number of years.

Club members describe Jodi as their “precious gem in our community’s crown”, demonstrating the values of selfless volunteers and the kind of person the club’s netballers should aspire to be.

For Jodi, it is the chance to see players achieve in all areas – not just on court – which provide special memories or something as simple as seeing younger club members receive their first uniforms.

“The smiles, sparkle in their eyes, the pure joy you can see – I love it,” she said. “Being able to be a part of something that lets you see the joy, smiles and laughter on the kids’ faces, encouraging them to be the best they can be brings the most touching and joyous moments.”

One of her most memorable experiences was watching a team she managed bounce back from a loss at tournament week to being named “Sports Team of the Year” at their school.

“Knowing I had a small hand in helping them achieve this was truly amazing and humbling,” she said.

Congratulations Jodi on being one of the Cadbury Volunteer of the Month winners from around the country for June and well done to all our other Centre winners.