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Investing in youngsters' sport

JESS LEE
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2013
Libby Vesty
JESS LEE
ROLE MODEL: West End Tennis Club’s Libby Vesty is always happy to lend a hand to help keep kids in sport.

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Keeping kids on the sports field and off the couch has played a big role in Libby Vesty's ongoing commitment to volunteering in sport. The West End Tennis Club committee member and junior inter-club rep speaks to reporter Jess Lee about the importance of lending a hand at your local club.

For Libby Vesty giving up her time for young athletes has become second nature.

"When I grew up, the reason I probably did so well is because of all my coaching and that was support from parents," she says.

"If those parents weren't putting in that extra work then the kids wouldn't have played."

The culture of volunteering forms the backbone of many clubs but unlike 30 years ago people are often too busy to give up their time.

It is becoming more and more important for parents to help out their local sports clubs, she says.

"Both my husband and I feel that the only reason we both stayed on the straight and narrow is that we played a lot of sport as kids.

"Our children will be on a sports field they won't be hanging about at malls. That drives us to make sure we put some time in."

Vesty has always been passionate about sport. Growing up in Whakatane, she was a competitive hockey and squash player but while she retired her stick and racquet the call of the tennis court was too strong to abandon the game.

"I don't mind losing at tennis but I'm not so good at losing at squash. It was always my one sport that was much more social."

Nowadays people are much more willing and able to pay someone so their child can give sport a go rather than lend a hand themselves, she says.

But just the act of coming to watch your children play or putting your name down on a transport roster can make a big difference.

She is someone who can't say no to a good cause and isn't one to sit still for long, she says.

It is this get up and go attitude which has seen her managing her son's football team, her daughter's netball team and coaching budding tennis players at St Mary's College.

Vesty has been a key fixture at Westmere's West End Tennis Club since 2005.

She is a member of both the club's committee, the West End cup committee and co-ordinates the club's junior programme and junior inter-club teams.

She has also established a new satellite tournament initiative for intermediate players from West End, Pompallier and Herne Bay tennis clubs so youngsters can keep playing on the courts during the winter months.

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"If you don't have the help, you don't have a club," she says.

Does your club have a good sport you'd like to tell us about? Email us at edcl@snl.co.nz or phone 630 5419 to tell us their story.

- Auckland City Harbour News

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