Volunteer week – Day 4

Today’s volunteers are the INVOC coaching team who have all been working incredibly hard to make high quality coaching available to a wide range of youngsters.  In addition to club sessions, some of the coaches run sessions in local schools as well, encouraging youngsters to get into the sport. The following report from club lead coach Jacquie Laird explains:

The INVOC coaching team started the current model of sessions in lockdown when we began with online sessions on Wednesday evenings – first the older groups, then we added the TD3 group. As lockdown eased we started adding back in alternate weeks forest sessions on Wednesday evenings for an hour. This seems to work well – less pressure than weekly sessions for coaches and parents ferrying kids. 

We have a squad of 38 juniors. Eagles (TD2), Talons (TD3) and iJOS (TD4&5) (INVOC  junior orienteering squad). 

These are all coached by an amazing  coaching team;  Jon Shepherd, Iain Sime, Laurence Cload, Dagmar Borrowman, Francis Williams,  Alison Matheson, Calum Hudson, Angus Laird,  James and Jacquie Laird and last year we had the fortune to have Iain and Zoe Harding join us. 

We also have invaluable register takers, including Claire Hudson, who shepherds the juniors every session to sign in and check equipment. 

We have 2 residential trips a year- one includes the JST and the younger kids are included. In the autumn we have stayed twice in Ballater hostel with the older kids. It makes strong friendships in the junior squad. They look out for each other and support each other. 

One of the challenges is coordinating the coaches especially if someone can’t make it. We extended the coaching to adults this term which has proved very popular. It can put more pressure on the coaching team though, spreading us more thinly.

The parents play a large part in the organisation also, including baking and selling cakes and drinks, fundraising for the residential weekends. 

It’s a huge team but on a Wednesday evening in a wood near Inverness you can hear the buzz and feel the excitement of an INVOC training session.