Volunteers: a veritable army of people from all walks of life who give their time, effort and expertise.
Why do I enjoy being the Judges and Officials Director of the National Ice Skating Association? I enjoy it because I have the chance to champion people who give their time and share my passion for the sport of ice skating.
Who are our volunteers?
Our Judges - they travel up and down the country judging competitions and tests. There are also those who travel around the world on behalf of our skaters and association.
They often work extremely anti-social hours and spend time studying all the rules and regulations, attending seminars to keep up-to-date.
If they are refereeing, they will have reports to write and officials to mentor and assess, and often maintain a high level of concentration on very long days.
To cap it all, the senior ones also are regularly asked by me to moderate seminars and mentor new young judges.
When you next have a test session or club/open competition, spare a thought for the judges. They don't have to be there, they are there for the skater and sport.
The Technical Panel - your technical controller is a judge who has taken it upon themselves to train in depth into the technical rules and regulations, and acts as the controller of a panel of two technical specialists.
Specialists are mostly coaches, and it should be remembered that when these specialists are working on a panel at competitions, they are volunteers.
This work is unpaid and they generously give their time and expertise to undertake this role.
Data Operators – they are required at all competitions and use the International Judging System (IJS).
One will input and check all information (being extremely quick and clear in their understanding and feed back to the technical controller).
The other will ensure the judging and technical panels have video playback and are able to review all elements of the skaters’ performances, as necessary.
Results Officials - these officials work some of the longest hours at events, as they have to be there ahead of everyone else to set up, and leave long after to take down.
As far as I can tell, they also must remain incredibly calm, patient and analytical. Systems do crash, things do go wrong and yet somehow, they always seem to keep it all going.
I have it in the best of authority that Jelly Babies have a calming influence!
Test Organisers - sometimes our test organisers are judges, often they are a parent or local club member.
The applications for tests at some rinks are huge, dependent upon the number of coaches and ice availability.
These volunteers have to book the ice, timetable the test session based on entries received, find judges who are of the correct discipline and standard, ensure all the paperwork is prepared, meet and greet and sometimes book hotel accommodation, meals etc... It is not for the faint hearted!
An event will not run without an Announcer, Timekeepers, Music Stewards, Competitors Stewards, Gate Keepers, Registration Desk,... the list is endless and this is just figure skating.
Of course, competitions wouldn’t even exist without the sterling efforts of the Organising Committee.
I am pleased to say there is another volunteer like myself whose passion for Speed Skating means that I can leave this discipline to her - take a bow Tina Noble.
Not only does this lady look after judges and officials for Speed, but also gives weeks at a time to volunteer at figure skating events.
If you know skating, then you will have skimmed the above. If you are new and reading about our volunteers you will see how they, as in so many sports, really do hold it all together for you to enjoy - whether participating or spectating.
If you are in the latter category, a spectator, remember there is always a role. Just let us know, and you can join our family of volunteers, supporting our skaters of all ages in their quest to conquer the ice.
I can think of many words I could use to describe the fabulous people I get to work with but I guess one will do for now. RESPECT!
Judy Clinton – NISA Judges and Officials Director
The National Ice Skating Association is supported by a fantastic network of volunteers, including the entire judging and officials team.
We can’t say a big enough "thank you" to all the volunteers who put time and effort into supporting ice skating.
We’re always looking to welcome more on board, if you’re interested in becoming a NISA volunteer please contact firstname.lastname@example.org