17th January 2019

Meet Chris Bowden, our newest Competition Session Officer 
Gymnastics WA relies on passionate and dedicated volunteers to ensure our events are delivered successfully for athletes, coaches, judges, parents and spectators. Whether it be lending a hand every now and then whilst watching your child compete, or taking on a more frequent role, we have something available for everyone. Chris Bowden is a prime example of where volunteering with Gymnastics WA can take you, now working casually for us at Championship events as a Competition Session Officer. Chris demonstrated skill, the ability to problem solve and a positive attitude when first training as a Floor Manager and has worked hard to provide all athletes with events where they can feel safe, do their best and have fun. As a parent himself, Chris also strives to make the event experience as best it can be for parents and all other spectators. 

We caught up with Chris to ask him a few questions about why he chose to volunteer with Gymnastics WA, what his role entails and why he believes you should do it too! Check out our conversation below.

Q) How long have you been volunteering for Gymnastics WA?
A) My first time volunteering was in 2017 when I was asked by my daughter’s coach to be a scorer. I was initially a bit concerned as I didn’t really understand how gymnastics was scored, but it turned out to be simpler than I was expecting. Since then I have been involved with around 10 different events in 2018.

Q) What role/s do you undertake with Gymnastics WA?
A) I volunteer as a Floor Manager, which is one of the few roles that has prerequisite training. Many of the other roles including announcing, scoring and music duties are all ‘come and learn on the day’ roles, so parents and friends can jump straight into these positions and we will provide training on the day.

Q) What motivated you to volunteer with Gymnastics WA?
A) Our club coach asked me to step in as they were struggling to engage much needed volunteers. Getting to see the competition from the floor instead of the stands was a completely different experience, and I was able to see so many great competitors up close. After that session I offered to volunteer for the next competition as well. When the opportunity arose to train as a Floor Manager, I jumped at the chance.

Q) Have you volunteered before this? If so, who did you volunteer with and what roles did you do?
A) Working with Gymnastics WA was the first time I had volunteered anywhere. I really enjoyed the way that everyone worked together to make things better for others, so I have since volunteered with the club fundraising committee, as well as joining the school P&F committee and various other school based fundraising collectives.

Q) Your daughter Sienna is a WAG gymnast, how long has she been doing gymnastics?
A) Sienna has been involved with gymnastics almost her entire life, and we enrolled her into Gymbaroo at around 12 months. This year she will be competing in National Level 6 with Northern Districts Gymnastic Club. The dedication required to continue with her gymnastics has really helped her with her schooling as well, and she enjoys success in the pool and the athletics field as well thanks to her gymnastics fitness.

Q) What do you like most about volunteering for / working for Gymnastics WA?
A) I really enjoy working with the different staff and volunteers at events. It is refreshing to see so many people who have all come together to support their kids. Seeing the competition up close is another bonus.

Q) What do you think you get out of volunteering as a Floor Manager?
A) I like to be involved with Sienna’s activities as much as possible, and volunteering with Gymnastics WA is a great way to not just spectate, but be involved. Gymnastics is a tough sport to understand as a parent, as we can’t really see them train. When we do see our kids competing, we don’t really know what we are seeing and how the sport is judged. I have got to know many of the coaches and judges who are always happy to share their knowledge. I have learnt a lot about the sport, and I share this with my daughter to help her become a better gymnast.   

Q) Are there any other roles that also interest you?
A) At the moment I am really enjoying my work as Floor Manager, and I am looking forward to the 2019 competitions kicking off. Next time a seat opens up on the board however, be sure to call me!

Q) Would you recommend volunteering / Floor Managing to other parents?

 A) I have really enjoyed my time volunteering, and would highly recommend it to parents who want to see a competition from a different perspective. Running the music, or working as the announcer can be a bit daunting at the start, but everyone loves it once they get into the swing of things (and we are always there to help if things go off the rails). The Floor Manager role is one of the few that requires prerequisite training, but it is very rewarding. Knowing that you have kept all the competitors safe, and provided a smooth running event that allows everyone to compete at their best is a great feeling.

We would like to thank Chris for all his help over the past year. Be sure to say hello if you see him around at competitions!

Want to know more about volunteering with Gymnastics WA? Read through our Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities document or register for the next Floor Manager & Volunteer Workshop here. For further information or to express interest, contact Lucy Young on (08) 9228 9399 or events@gymnasticswa.asn.au