Liam, a member of the Young people’s sport panel, is a volunteer with his local hurling club, Tir Conaill Harps GAC, where he does everything from organising events to club promotion and fundraising.
In the latest edition of our series, My Sporting Life, he tells us about the benefits of being involved in sport through volunteering.
Where it all began
Right from the go, sport seemed to be a part of my life. It was almost like it was in my DNA. I never felt pushed to take part in PE at school. I was always keen to get involved.
From a young age I have played in sports like athletics, rugby, hockey, football – to name a few! For me, it wasn’t about whether sport in general was for me, it was about which sport was for me, so I had to try as many as I could.
It turned out the sport I chose was football, where I played as goalkeeper. I was never the best, nor the fittest, but playing as goalkeeper allowed me to be part of a sport I loved and I always felt part of the team.
Through the next few years I continued to play football, but life took over a little. School, for one thing, but also other sporting commitments: I had taken up table tennis and hurling. In 2013, I took up the opportunity to volunteer through hurling, and my volunteering in sport just took off from there.
Volunteering and me
It surprised me at first how much I enjoyed volunteering.
I used to be incredibly shy and I suffered from speech problems at an early age.
Attending speech therapy helped, but volunteering really built up my confidence. Now, as part of volunteering, I speak at events, I present ideas and it genuinely doesn’t faze me!
I had the confidence to overcome any critics who claimed I was too young and I genuinely feel I have the confidence to just be myself.
I’m glad I stuck with volunteering in hurling as the opportunities here have led to more. I’m on the Young people’s sport panel and I'm part of a small team of great volunteers because of my commitment to volunteering in sport. Through these opportunities I have already been given the chance to meet some incredible people, and I look forward to meeting many more.
Recently I found out I have been shortlisted for Young Volunteer of the Year in Glasgow’s Sports Person of the Year Awards 2016. I am very proud of this achievement!
A note to young people
If I had to give other young people in Scotland advice about volunteering, I would say try it and see if it fits. If being active in sport or participating in a team isn’t something you feel comfortable with just yet, get involved in volunteering.
I now have so much experience I can use in later life. Everything from presenting to organising events - I’m sure you will find something and love it!
Also, please persevere with your volunteering opportunities, even if there are people who say you are too young.
What the club said
Sport First spoke to Tir Conaill Harps to find out more about what Liam's volunteering role entails. As well as organising events, helping at fundraisers and promoting the club within the local community, he sits on the committee. Grace McBride from the club told us that Liam put forward the idea of applying for a grant to help the club, and it was successful.
"It is great to see our young people like Liam helping our club to move forward because they are our future," said Grace.
"We hope his example encourages other young people to help develop our club."
Find out more
Discover a range of volunteering opportunities through sportscotland.
Keep up to date with Liam and other members of the Young people’s sport panel using #sportpanel on Twitter.