The European Para Championships (EPC) is a multisport event. It will be staged every four years and will always be hosted by a major European city in the year preceding the Paralympic Games. Behind the scenes of this fantastic event, volunteers play a vital role in bringing the European Para Championships to fruition. This article interviews Esther Bot-Abbenhuijs, a passionate volunteer at the European Para Championships. She talks about her rationale for being involved in the European Para Championships and about previous experiences at (similar) sporting events.
The important reason for becoming a volunteer at the European Para Championships, according to Esther, stems from her interest in the event and it being an event in her hometown. Especially with the experience Esther gained at the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, this is an event where she hopes to gain great new experiences. In addition, Esther indicates that, in her opinion, the parasport is undervalued. This while people are delivering an absolute top performance at their level. She is happy that she can contribute to this during the European Para Championships.
Appreciation for the Para sport
Esther praises the mental resilience that the athletes have as the most beautiful aspect of parasport. The fact that people who have become disabled through accident or illness still say, “I’m going to play sports,” Esther only appreciates. This may not be in the sport they have always played before, but in a sport that can still be performed. This mental resilience of athletes and the energy they draw from playing their sport is only to be admired.
Recommendation to become a volunteer
Esther shares her personal recommendation for others considering becoming a volunteer. She emphasizes that the moment you have the time for it, you make new friendships with other volunteers. You often meet the same people after all, and in addition you contribute to society in a nice way. You may not get paid for this, but you get so much in return. Think of the fact that you gain contacts, enrich your experiences outside your own familiar environment and it is very interesting to see what is involved organizationally.
Esther knows that for many people it is difficult in terms of availability or perhaps a threshold you must cross for yourself. Esther herself experienced this in the beginning. She found it difficult to get stuck with volunteering two or three days a week. That is why she likes the fact that the event is a defined entity. That way you can see if you are available or not for each week. Try it once and Esther is sure it will be a nice step for some people to do this more often.
We are looking for volunteers to help us organise the greatest event possible! Click here to go straight to volunteer sign-up. Thanks in advance and we’d love to see you in August!