Fiji Volunteer Work: A Catalyst for Career Growth and Personal Development

16 May, 2023

Embarking on a volunteering journey in Fiji, Claire Moore discovered an experience that enriched her personal life and proved to be a transformative catalyst for her career.

Through the ACA’s GamePlan Work Placement Program – that allows current and transitioning members to enhance career development and help build their professional networks – Claire was given the opportunity to travel to Fiji and take part in a volunteer program with International Volunteer HQ.

Upon her return, Claire shared some insights into the impact the opportunity had on her professional growth and how it shaped her aspirations for the future.

“When I was in South Africa for the World Cup, we went to a small town and did cricket coaching with kids which was great. I loved helping them out and seeing them running around with smiles on their faces,” she said. “So, I thought I might as well give it another go in another country, by myself –try something new and teach sport that I’ve not taught before.”

“I thought that getting involved in the program was a good way to figure out if I’d like to do some teaching in the future or more coaching, or something else.”

One of the key aspects of Claire's volunteer work in Fiji was to immerse herself in the local culture and way of life. Living in a house for two weeks with fellow volunteers from diverse backgrounds allowed her to form valuable connections and engage in meaningful cultural exchanges. The absence of luxuries like hot water and air conditioning enabled Claire to experience firsthand the realities of daily life for locals.

As she settled into her volunteer role, Claire embraced the opportunity to assist in teaching and coaching sports at a local school. She assisted the teachers with lesson planning and classroom management for students in the Grade 2 class.

“The class was only about 15 kids but 15 very energetic kids! Running around the classroom, trying to get them seated was hard sometimes but it definitely had its perks, getting to teach them things.”

This hands-on involvement in education allowed Claire to explore her passion for working with children and gain valuable insights into teaching and coaching, particularly within sports.

Claire said “It’s definitely opened up more doors in terms of what I might want to do in the future. It’s opened my mind up to working in schools with children, teaching subjects, even doing sporting stuff with coaching in the future. I think it’s really shown me that I’m passionate about working with children. “

Beyond the confines of the classroom, Claire organised activities in nearby villages, encouraging children to participate in physical exercises and games outdoors. Seeing the joy and excitement of the Fijian children during the sessions served as a reminder of the positive impact she could have on young lives through sports.

Claire also found that the volunteer work in Fiji had a direct influence on her cricket career. The experience served as a humbling reminder of the opportunities she had been afforded as a professional athlete and reinforced her commitment to approaching every day with gratitude, resilience, and a positive mindset.

“I think it’s reminded me to not take anything for granted because looking back on the experience, I really do have so much. Making sure I enjoy every day as it comes, with a smile on my face when I play cricket.”

Reflecting on the support she received from the ACA, Claire expressed her gratitude for the assistance throughout her volunteer journey. With the guidance of her Professional Development Manager, Caitlin, she was able to navigate the application process and receive financial support that went towards her participation in the volunteer program.

“We reached out to the ACA with info on what the program was, how it was going to benefit me and the ACA came back with the support of funds which were very helpful to get me over there and able to take part in the program.”

Claire's journey in Fiji serves as a powerful example for other ACA members contemplating exploring career development opportunities, and her advice is clear: seize the opportunities without hesitation. By stepping outside your comfort zone, you can experience transformative personal and career growth.

When asked for her advice to other ACA members considering assistance with their career development, she said:

“I was nervous to ask about what support was there but once I asked, there was so much support available to help get me going. Just try something new. You never know what you’ll get out of it and it could really help you in the future.”

For further details on the ACAs career development opportunities, please contact your PDM.

© Australian Cricket Players Limited
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
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