Volunteer Profiles: Kathryn Cooper:

Quidditch is an entirely volunteer run sport. This week, as nations around the world start and finish celebrating volunteers weeks, we are profiling some of the people from all around the country who help keep quidditch running. Kathryn Cooper is currently the Chairperson of Quidditch NSW (QNSW), but she started her quidditch journey all the way back in 2013 with the University of Sydney Unspeakables. Since then, she’s been a manager, vice president, coach, captain, team mum, and inspiration to many. Get a sense of what she does and why she does it below…

What kind of things do you have to do as chairperson of a quidditch governing body?

Since becoming Chairperson of Quidditch New South Wales earlier this year, I have to complete a number of tasks, some of which are ongoing throughout the year. Mostly, I just have to make sure that I am communicating with the Club Representatives of the clubs within New South Wales about what the Board is planning, and overseeing much of what is occurring within the New South Wales community (I am an admin of five different Facebook groups or pages for Quidditch New South Wales). Part of this means working with the other Board Directors, Phillip Vankerkoerle and Geoffrey Talbott, to make sure that the New South Wales Quidditch League (NQL) tournaments are being organised fully, and also coordinating with the other volunteers in the New South Wales community, making sure that the tasks we set for them are being completed, or that they are getting the support they need to organise and coordinate their own plans and ideas for Quidditch New South Wales. Recently, I have also been working with the New South Wales State Shield Team Selectors to coordinate the tryouts, and that they have everything they need to select the team.

What’s the hardest part of your job as chairperson?

I would say that the hardest part of being Chairperson is that there are fewer members of the Quidditch New South Wales Baord this year, and that myself, Phillip, and Geoffrey are all having to take charge of multiple portfolios. For 2019, I am also in charge of the Events portfolio. This is quite a lot of work to do, and with this also being my first year as a Board Director, there is a lot of pressure to make sure that everything is working well.

Are there other ways you volunteer or have volunteered in the past for quidditch?

This is actually quite a long list, as I have been somewhat volunteering in different roles since I joined the University of Sydney Quidditch Club in 2013. For the six years that I was part of that club, I held six different leadership roles. Since moving on and joining Valkyries Quidditch Club this year, I have also taken up leadership roles within the club. On top of holding these leadership roles, I have helped coordinate and run multiple fantasy tournaments throughout the years, mostly the Internal Fantasy tournaments that the University of Sydney Quidditch Club have run in the last few years, of which I have also been the Tournament Director. Last year, I also volunteered as a commentator for the State Shield tournament, which my first official outing as a quidditch commentator. I have continued commentating this year, by being a commentator for NQL matches this year, and helping support Arfy Papadam in running QNSW TV this year.

Why do you volunteer in quidditch?

I have always enjoyed helping organise events and tournaments, even before I joined quidditch. Within the last few years, I have definitely taken more of a role in helping organise bigger events, rather than just smaller club-based events, and I think this mostly comes down to wanting to help further the development of quidditch within New South Wales. I want to be able to help others with the ideas that they have, and what they are able to do to help improve how events and tournaments are being run. A lot of this mostly just comes from wanting to make sure everyone is being looked after, and that they are getting the support they need to do what they can do.

What’s been your best experience volunteering with quidditch?

I don’t really have one specific experience with volunteering that I would say is my best experience, but rather I have just enjoyed helping and supporting others to achieve their goals within quidditch. Whether this just be making sure that tournaments are being organised, or that issues are being handled, I just like making sure that they are able to do the best they can do. That might be how I achieved the persona and nickname of Mum when I was still part of the University of Sydney Quidditch Club, and that this image has evolved and grown within the New South Wales community.

Why should people get more involved in quidditch volunteering?

Being a volunteer within the quidditch community has been really rewarding, and has meant that I’ve been able to meet many people, and get to know their own experiences with quidditch volunteering. We all have different ways that we have volunteered, and it’s really interesting to hear the different ways that we have all helped quidditch growed. If anyone has any idea that they want to see happen within quidditch, then they should definitely give a try, because it could end up being an amazing idea that could really help the growth and development of quidditch. I would encourage anyone in the New South Wales community to do this, as myself and the other Board Directors would hear the ideas that you have, and how you would like to see them happen.

These profiles are being conducted in coordination with Q Consultancy, an international quidditch organisation who this week, is compiling volunteer profiles from all around the world, in time for Volunteers Week in the UK. Read more here.