As Touch Football affiliates across the country prepare for what is sure to be a dynamic summer season, Touch Football Australia would like to recognise a few of the great of efforts of some hard-working volunteers over the winter months.Two such volunteers who have made tremendous contributions to their local affiliates and the sport of Touch Football in their areas are Laurie Smyth, president of Sale Touch Association in Victoria, and Warwick Gates (left), administrator of Rosalie Touch Association in Western Australia. Laurie has been the president and engine room of Sale Touch Association since it was established 14 years ago. He is responsible for such roles as assigning fields, allocating referees, providing player sign-in sheets and handling any necessary disciplinary action.Laurie employs an effective system whereby anyone who complains about field markings will mark the fields themselves. He has never had any complaints!The dependable Sale president has championed the Touch Football movement in the Wellington Shire and entire East Gippsland region. As well as his tremendous commitment to Touch Football, Laurie is also a member of the Rotary Club and has regular meetings with Wellington Shire Council. This year the Council recognised the innovative administrator with an award for bringing in $2.2 million revenue to the community over the past eight years from his annual Sale Knockout competition!His involvement with Rotary Club has given Laurie first-hand knowledge of upcoming Rotary and local council grants. He uses the grants for pizza nights for students in the six-team Sale comp as well as to finance players competing locally and at state level. Laurie has procured an impressive list of contacts in his time as Sale president, evidenced by the fact that he has arranged for the Sale Touch Association to pay just $14 a night towards lighting and field hire.Laurie also has had a big hand in promoting the sport to the community. He regularly contributes Touch Football articles to the local Sale newspaper and has also featured on local radio and television promoting the sport. Laurie’s ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude was recently displayed in a disability services article in the internal publication of oil company Esso. In the future Laurie hopes to establishment a school competition as well as a junior Touch competition throughout the Warragul region. Laurie has also arranged for a game of Touch to be played during the Sale Festival on 2nd November, 2007, promoting the sport with a fireworks display at the conclusion of the game. If you’re around Sale at the time get down and check it out. On the other side of the country another volunteer has been similarly busy working behind the scenes for his affiliate. But after 10 years as the administrator of the Rosalie Touch Association, Warwick Gates has decided to take a step back from the club he has been so passionate about.Warwick first joined Rosalie 12 years ago before deciding to join the board of directors with current president Albert Nascimento. Warwick and Albert have been responsible for reworking the infrastructure at Rosalie. This initially meant a reduction in team numbers to ensure that everything ran smoothly within the competition and that all members were satisfied.The restructure has paid off in recent years, with the club experiencing significant growth in membership and team numbers.In the past 12 months 69 teams have competed at Rosalie, up from 51 in 2004. With a young family to look after, Warwick has decided to give up his position as administrator. However he will still be around the club, taking care of the administrator duties in an unofficial capacity and ensuring that the new administrator makes an easy transition into the role when they take over in October. TouchWest State Manager Matt Bamford said Warwick’s involvement had always been impressive.“He’s got an interest not only at club level but at state level,” Bamford said. “He’s always enthusiastic about providing advice and input about referee development matters and that kind of thing.” In March next year Rosalie will host the 2008 Western Australia State Championships.Rosalie Touch president Albert Nascimento said Warwick was sure to be directly involved in the event. “If ever there is anything that would need to be done, you would only have to ask him,” he said. “Even to the extent that if we hadn’t of found another administrator he would have stayed on. “He wouldn’t have just walked away and said that’s me finished – he would have stayed to make sure the work that he has put into place didn’t go to waste.” When Warwick does finally cut ties with the club he’s contributed so much to, his legacy will be the structures that he has put in place that will ensure Rosalie Touch continues to be a well organised and successful club for many years to come. Congratulations to both Laurie and Warwick on their achievements. Touch Football Australia would like to thank both men for all their passion and dedication to our game.
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