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Young sporting stars thank volunteers

"Without volunteers I would not be able to do any of this," basketballer Bae Fountain told a gathering of 100 Bay sports volunteers this morning.

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By: Zoe Hunter

Video: Shalom Broughton, 15, Bae Fountain, 16, and Raiha Ensor, 17 of Mount Maunganui College.

He joined fellow Mount Maunganui College students Shalom Broughton and Raiha Ensor as guest speakers at Sport Bay of Plenty’s volunteer breakfast.

Ensor started surfing at age 7.

“Being from the Mount, it was probably just a matter of time before I tried it and I fell in love with it,” she said.

The 17-year-old began surfing competitively at age 11, and the sport has taken her all over New Zealand and overseas.

She competed in the World Junior Surfing Games last year and this year’s World Open Surfing Games.

“That was my best result, I got ninth when I was over there a month ago in France,” she said.

Later this year she will head to Japan for the World Junior Championships.

“I probably would not be surfing today if it was not for volunteers. I started competing through Bay Boardriders which is run by parents and members of the surfing community.”

Ensor thanked the volunteers for all their hard work and dedication to sport.

“Sport as we know it would not exist without you guys.”

Asked about her goals, she said she was aiming for the Olympics.

“Surfing has just been announced as an Olympic sport so I have got my sights on that,” she said.

Shalom Broughton, 15, represented New Zealand in the Basketball Under-16 team.

“I would not be here without the time and effort they [volunteers] have put into me.”

Recently Broughton trained with Kiwi basketball star Steven Adams at ASB Arena.

“He is my role model,” he said.

Fountain, 16, is the youngest player on the 13-man squad recently selected for the NZ senior men’s water polo team.

“I have competed against Olympians and have had the chance to just show my all,” he said.

He had also been selected in the youth men’s team for volleyball and will be going to Florida and America next school holidays to compete.

“Without volunteers I would not have been able to go to the places where I have been, or am going to go. Volunteers are everything to me. The managers, the coaches, they are all doing it voluntarily.”

Western Bay of Plenty community sport advisor Zane Jensen said he was fortunate to be one of the 41,000 Kiwis employed in the sport and recreation sector.

“I get paid to work in my passion, and that is why I am guessing you guys are here because you love volunteering.”

Mr Jensen said across New Zealand there were about 750,000 volunteers.

“In one year that equates to over 50 million hours that you guys put into sport. You can see the massive impact that you are having,” he said.

About 26 percent of the Bay’s population volunteered in sport.

“We all know that without your hard work and hours that you put into sport it would not be as we see it now,” said Mr Jensen.

Allen Robinson from Mount Lawn Bowls also attended the breakfast. He had been volunteering for about 55 years, the longest volunteer in the room.

“When the tennis courts were under the Mount was when this man started volunteering,” said Mr Jensen.

Source: Bay of Plenty Times

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