Bev Boyle (front row, centre) with the Swan Districts WAFLW team. Picture: Blake Parry

Producer: Sarah Morton
Photographers: Blake Parry (@thesportsphoto), Swan Districts; Grant Viney (@grantvineyphotography), Wynyard

THERE'S a common theme for so many of the volunteers who give their time to their local football club. 

Rather than counting the wins and losses, the value of helping out at the club is measured by the people they meet, and the lives they touch. 

Bev Boyle and Phil Spencer, stalwarts of Swan Districts Football Club in Perth, are two such volunteers. 

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Among their many collective roles, Bev is the manager of the Swans' WAFLW team, while Phil is the property manager and match-day ambassador. 

"Swans is a very supportive club and has a very strong set of values and policies and I’m proud to be part of it. I have seen many players helped when in a dark place and return to being good people," Bev said. 

"While we exist to win games of football, there is a higher purpose in the community which Swans aims to fulfill.

"I enjoy the friendship and support that volunteers give each other along the journey.”

Phil, who proudly sports a tattoo of the club logo on his leg, said volunteering was a way of contributing to the club that has given him so much.  

"I’ve always followed and loved the club and just wanted to be involved with the club and games. I also wanted to give something back for all the memorable moments that the club has delivered over my 60 years or so," he said. 

"I have met so many amazing people at the club and am glad to be a part of helping an organisation that does so much more for the community."

Across the other side of the country - and a touch further south - Olivia Smith and her father Peter have been integral parts of Wynyard Football Club in Tasmania. 

Olivia plays in the senior women's team and coaches the under-14 girls side, while Peter is the club's senior vice-president and oversees the football program. 

Olivia said she'd found the experience of coaching a team exceptionally rewarding, capped by the joy of guiding her team to the U14s premiership last year. 

"Seeing them grow not only in their skills but also in their confidence and sense of belonging is incredibly fulfilling," she said.

"Knowing that I've played a small part in their development both as athletes and individuals is something that gives me joy."

And the benefits weren't just on the field, Olivia said, having learned plenty about herself as well. 

"Being a volunteer coach has given me a deeper sense of fulfilment, patience, and empathy. I've learned to communicate better and to be more adaptable, both on and off the field.

"It's a chance to make a positive impact on the community, develop new skills, and be part of something bigger than yourself. Plus, you form lasting friendships.”

Peter, a long-time volunteer at Wynyard, said ensuring the club continued to offer an outlet for the community to enjoy the game was his prime motivation.  

“Our aim is to provide a safe place for our young people to play, support and enjoy football. I hope other volunteers feel a sense of satisfaction running a successful club for the next generation," he said. 

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