Volunteering the one constant of Dale’s life

July 2015Dale Constant describes herself as a netball tragic.

Netball has been a major part of her life since she discovered the sport as a schoolgirl growing up in the Queensland town of Blackall.

Wherever life has taken her since – from central west Queensland across the country to Carnarvon in Western Australia and back to Atherton in the Tablelands region of Far North Queensland – Constant has found herself involved with the local netball association in some voluntary capacity.

“I discovered netball when I was a teenager. We played a match at school and I really loved it,” Constant said.

“Before that I’d been a tennis player and I loved the team sport aspect. I was 13 years old when I started umpiring A Grade matches. I had two very good mentors, who were old stalwarts of the Blackall Association, at the time and I’ve loved my umpiring ever since.”

Within a month of moving west to Carnarvon in 2006, she was elected president of the town’s netball association.

When the family shifted to Atherton, located about 90km inland south of Cairns, Constant took her three daughters Bronte, Frankie and Jordy along to an under-12 training session and their presence allowed the association to put together a representative team to participate in a local carnival.

She’s filled a number of roles with the Tableland Netball Association including Coach, Umpire, Junior Coordinator, Carnival Convenor, ANZ NetSetGO Administrator and President.

She’s also been a selector, coach and umpire at association, district and region level.

“Every weekend is taken up with netball,” Constant, a school teacher, said.

Dale C awardIn 2015 she was recognised for her outstanding contribution by being named Netball Queensland’s Volunteer of the Year.

While humbled by the award, pictured left, Constant was quick to praise her hard-working committee, coaches and junior coordinators for ensuring around 200 netballers take the court each week.

They are now sending a number of junior teams each Saturday morning to play in a competition at Mareeba, 30kms away, to give those youngsters experience and help develop their skills.

“We’re looking to get parents involved (with coaching) by getting them to put players in positions and they’re all willing to help out,” Constant said.

“We’ve built up our numbers really well the last few years.”

NVWHer committee is made up of Jake Shepherd (Vice-president), Andrew Polkinghorne (Treasurer), Katrina Klein and Susie Anderson (Secretary), Jenny Kattenberg and Sonya Frost (Junior coordinators), Monique Zappala (Games Manager), Kim Mastin (Umpiring Coordinator), Michael Barlow (Coaching Coordinator) and Julie and Carly Meyer (Mixed Coordinator).

Netball Australia is proud to support National Volunteer Week (NVW), which runs between 8-15 May this year and celebrates and acknowledges the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers.

Like in Atherton, sporting clubs are the lifeblood of communities in country towns across Australia and there are no doubt thousands of people like Constant who give countless hours of their time every week.