Volunteer Recognition Vanessa van Dongen

Thu, May 30, 2024, 10:00 PM
by Rose Jackson

Vanessa van Dongen's enthusiasm with getting Junior players excited about rugby, is contagious. She started with Elizabeth Rugby Club 7 years ago by getting involved with the junior committee as the junior coordinator. Relatively new to fielding junior squads, Vanessa felt that she could help grow juniors by providing a safe, welcoming place where children can enjoy the game of rugby but also grow playing numbers and build confidence on and off the pitch.

A typical week in-season for Vanessa starts with debriefing coaches and players on the previous weekend's games. She also captures video and photo content at training sessions for social media. Additionally, she liaises with parents, answers questions for those new to the game, and stays up to speed on the policies and procedures of Rugby Union SA and Rugby Australia.

"Vanessa is the heart & soul behind the Elizabeth Juniors. It is her hard work & unwavering passion that keeps the Elizabeth Juniors program going. Vanessa's dedication & commitment are truly inspiring and have a profound impact on everyone involved. Her efforts don't go unnoticed, her energy & enthusiasm light up the entire program. The club is incredibly fortunate to have had Vanessa leading the way with her tireless dedication no matter what obstacles are in her way." says Kylee Iloka

Throughout the week, Vanessa engages in numerous conversations with coaches, players, and club committee members. By the end of the week, she coordinates with the junior coordinators of upcoming opponents to ensure the weekend's games run smoothly, whether at home or away.

Saturday mornings are especially busy for Vanessa, and she is there from start to finish. She fills in any positions that need to be covered, including ground marshalling, coaching, refereeing, encouraging and supporting, ensuring all the kids are enjoying themselves. For home games, she also helps with bar, canteen, and other club duties. At the end of the day, Vanessa posts photos for the kids to relish in their team's performances. On top of all this, she balances being an awesome mum of three.

Jane Healy says "Both Vanessa and Jason are around the club from the crack of dawn ensuring everything is set up for our juniors to have an amazing game day experience. Working behind the scenes as junior coordinator and a member of the Elizabeth committee, Vanessa's enthusiasm and drive knows no bounds! Her can do attitude is inspiring and her sense of humour means it's always going to be a fun day!"

Vanessa's efforts have led to significant successes, including the continued growth of the junior program. She has been instrumental in providing quality coaches across all grades, thereby building a strong foundation for the club's future.

RugbySA vanDongen Family

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