Volunteer Profile: Fernando TavaresAugust 20, 2012
Few people have offered as much volunteer time to a national athletics federation as Fernando Tavares, who can proudly say he has participated at all the international events organised by the FPA (Portuguese Athletics Federation) since his initial involvement 18 years ago.
Fernando, a physical education teacher from Sesimbra, Portugal, has also served as a national coach, a lecturer and helped to set up the FPA’s Youth Programme. He attributes his initial motivation to a friend, Jorge Salcedo, the FPA’s General Secretary, who encouraged him to help coordinate volunteers at the 1994 IAAF World Junior Championships in Lisbon.
Since then, his enthusiasm and commitment to the sport have remained strong.
As an avid fan, Fernando cites the opportunity to watch some of his favorite athletes compete live as an added incentive for volunteering but says the most important aspect for him is the opportunity to meet other volunteers, including those from other countries, and share experiences.
Two events he was heavily involved in recently are the 17th Spar European Cross Country Championships in Albufeira, in 2010, and the 9th European Cup Race Walking in Olhao, in 2011. Both events were successful, thanks in part to the hard work and dedication of the volunteers he recruited and managed.
For the work he put in on these events Fernando has received a Silver European Athletics-UNESCO Young Leaders Community volunteer certificate. He says he hopes to continue volunteering whenever the opportunity arises and it surely is only a matter of time before he earns a Gold Certificate for his contributions to Portuguese athletics.
We recently asked Fernando a few questions about his involvement in athletics.
What is your regular occupation?
I’m a physical education teacher at a secondary school and also work as a sports consultant. Occasionally, I do workshops in human resources for sports and education.
How did you get started volunteering in athletics?
I started volunteering in Athletics when I received an invitation from my good friend Jorge Salcedo in 1994.
At the time I was a national coach in the FPA and Jorge challenged me to be in charge of the volunteers and the coordinator of the warm-up areas and athletes circulation. My first assignment was at the World Junior Championships in Lisbone. Since then I have participated in all of the international events organised by the FPA till today.
What is the most important thing you gained from your experiences?
The main reason I continue to work as a volunteer in the field of athletics, is the opportunity this task gives me to meet colleagues from other countries, and get to work with people with different backgrounds and experiences. As an added bonus, I get to watch my favorite sport live, being played at the highest level.
Who is your favorite athlete? Why?
My favorite Portuguese athlete is Nelson Evora, because of his outstanding class as an athlete and as a human being. On the international stage, I like the Croatian athlete Vlašic Blanka. I admire her quality and longevity as an athlete, together with her enormous self-control under pressure.
Are you planning to volunteer again?
Yes, as often as I am given the opportunity to do so.
To see Fernando’s profile click here.
Are you a member of the European Athletics Young Leaders Community and doing volunteer work in athletics? Be sure that the club, event or school where you are working is registered as a partner, or that your personal project is registered, so you can log your hours and your valuable contribution to the sport can be recognised.
Certificates are now being sent to members of the community (Bronze for 100 hours, Silver for 250 hours and Gold for 500 hours) and athleticscommunity.org will be publishing spotlight profiles of many of the winners in the coming weeks and months.