DiversityRelationship management and support is a key element of the role Megan and Mel fulfil for Touch Football Australia, whether itâ€™s ensuring the leading Referees are in a worry free environment to facilitate best performance, or a first time referee that requires that little extra bit of care, Megan and Mel have an innate ability to manage and respect the most diverse of people. Fantastic ambassadors for the sport, Megan and Mel epitomise the respect and understanding required to embrace the diversity of our sport President â€“ 2010 to 2012Treasurer â€“ 2012 to currentGeneral Committee â€“ 2008 to 2010Referee Director â€“ 2009 to 2012Benâ€™s long time commitment to start back in 2001 when he made his Open Debut for Fremantle, a commitment carried through until 2011 where he filled roles as a player, coach and manager for Menâ€™s and Mixed Teams at various times. In 2015 Ben was made a Life Member of Fremantle for he continued contributions to the affiliate whilst being involved in the game elsewhere on much larger scale.At a State Level Ben has once again shown his commitment in all areas of the game. Ben has previously been a player, manager, selector and referee. After being a player in the 2002 WA Under 18â€™s Boys Team he was then Team Manager for the 18â€™S Boys in 2009, NTL Mixed Open Manager in 2011 and Selector in 2012.Over the past two months, ben has been active in driving change in two key areas of our sport that have had a significant impact on the sport and engagement with our members in WA. In February, this year Ben sought election to a position on the WA State Operations Panel â€œto give back to the sport that I enjoy being involved inâ€. Ben felt that as a player, referee, coach and local volunteer I thought that I had a wide range of experience across the sport that I could help contribute back to the future direction of Touch Football in WA.Post the Annual Meeting in February, Ben further nominated himself to Chair of the SOAP to help set targets and realise the achievements possible for Touch Football in WA towards our 2020 goals. The SOAP in WA had been fairly inactive in WA for a period of time and Benâ€™s enthusiasm, passion and leadership have helped create a new level of engagement with this panel which has set the sport up for a period of long term success.The other vital role which Ben had undertaken was with the Lead Role at the 2016 WA Junior State Championships. With the WA Referee Panel in transition and a number of key members unavailable Ben volunteered to take on this key role at the WAâ€™s premier junior touch football event. Benâ€™s leadership, integrity, professional and excellence in this role enabled this key part of our sport to operate successfully ensured a quality event experience for referee, participants and spectators through his operation in this role. Ben even managed to referee a few games himself where needed across the weekend. Benâ€™s previous work as a Referee at State Events since 2000 and being part of the Referee Coaching Team since 2015 held in a good stead to undertake this position.What consistently is shown in Benâ€™s work is his embodiment of the TFA Values and this has been the key to being such a successful contributor across all facets of our game for a long period of time. Benâ€™s contributions over the last twelve months have highlighted his passion to see the ongoing success of Touch Football in WA which, under his leadership and guidance will be achieved for many years to come. Other nominees will continue to be posted through the week.Related LinksVolunteer of the Year Award Excellence Consistently looking at ways to improve the experience for Referees and event participants, Megan and Mel have played a significant role in the development and ongoing improvement of the Referee Experience for Touch Footballâ€™s major events, their pursuit of excellence and quality experiences is second to none.Megan Harapa and Mel Jones have completed the same role in unison for Touch Football Australia for many years now, they as a team and individuals are at the core of the sports success and growth of the Referee Program, and individually or collectively would be a worthy recipients of the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award. Graeme Clancy QueenslandGraeme is the founder of Touch Football Specialised which gives participants with special needs the opportunity to play Touch Football.The countless amount of volunteer hours Graeme has contributed has seen substantial growth in Touch Football Specialised and the programs now available for participants.The QLD Special Education Championships were held for the third successive year in 2016 with seven new schools attending, an additional thirteen teams and ninety six new participants.Graeme has also created a prototype competition for special needs athletes which will see athletes compete in a regular form of competition over multiple weeks. These competitions will be held at difference affiliated associations in South Queensland for the first time in season two of this year.He has also developed resources and modified equipment to allow the game to be accessed and played by numerous participants. These resources and aids have allowed schools and all ability organisations to self-deliver programs of their own.The countless hours Graeme has continued to put in has seen the organisation create a new partnership with the Gold Coast Titans and a continually growing ambassador group which now includes Olympic Athlete Michelle Jenneke.Queensland Touch could not be prouder of the contributions Graeme has made to the special needs and Touch Football communities through his initiative. He has single handily given children and adults with special needs opportunities through our sport which have never been there before. Klaire Carrick TasmaniaKlaire is the current assistant coach for the Under 18 Tasmanian NYC team and has significantly contributed to the success of our touring teams. She has been a part of Touch Football for a number of years and has previously volunteered as a coach before. Kliare exhibits TFAs core values every time she volunteers, often going the extra mile especially when it has come to fundraising and organisation of her team. She has done an exceptional job in reducing team levies for her players. Her commitment to the team is undeniable, from writing to local government to running two separate Bunnings BBQâ€™s, she has shown maturity and professionalism beyond her years. While balancing a university degree, part time work and her own playing, she has never missed a training session and is constantly asking how she can do more to help the team and Touch Football Tasmania.Klaire is seen as a role model and leader amongst the team and other volunteers, she was asked to increase her role and take on more responsibility as a coach and has successfully transitioned into taking full training sessions by herself and developing her skills as a coach. We are lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer here in Tasmania and this nomination is highly deserved.Benjamin Dempsey- Western AustraliaBen has been a long time contributor to Touch Football in Western Australia. Benâ€™s contribution covers â€“ playing, refereeing, referee coaching and also administration at both an affiliate and State level. In WA, Ben is a key driver of the TFA Values and these are consistently showcased in his work throughout Touch Football. At Benâ€™s affiliate, Fremantle Touch Association, he remains as treasurer on the committee, after previously holding the following roles: Integrity, Leadership and Professionalism The National Touch League, National Youth Championships and particularly the Touch World Cup, present many unique experiences â€“ from extreme weather conditions to first time referees â€“ in the face of any obstacle, Megan and Mel have maintained complete professionalism and integrity at all times.The leadership and cultural alignment which Megan and Mel vest into all members of the Referee community is second to none, they have a complete understanding of the various elements and considerations needed to ensure optimal culture development and positivity from Referees and the wider Touch Football community both on and off the field. Touch Football Australia is lucky to have countless volunteers who have made significant contributions to the Touch Football landscape over the past 12 months and beyond.To celebrate and recognise these contributions for the second year running Touch Football Australia will award the Volunteer of the Year Award to one of our highly valued volunteers. â€œThe opportunity to recognise and say thank you to our volunteers is one that we as a sport do not take for grantedâ€, CEO Colm Maguire speaking on the importance of volunteers in our sport.â€œWe are excited to again be able to recognise many of these fantastic individuals, who are all deserving of being awarded this prestigious honour, for the great work they have done in their local community and the sport at largeâ€.Each State and Territory were asked to nominate one individual to be considered for the TFA Volunteer of the Year for 2016, as well as two nominees from a National Level.Nominations were to be considerate of their exceptional service to the sport and have made a notable and measurable contribution and difference in their respective communities.The nominees all will have demonstrated the Touch Football Australia values of:LeadershipIntegrityProfessionalismDiversityExcellenceThe Touch Football Australia Board of Management has reviewed all nominations and voted using a 3, 2, 1 system to determine the 2016 Touch Football Australia Volunteer of the Year.â€œOur Board was absolutely overwhelmed by the calibre of nominees from across the country,â€ Maguire, continues, â€œAnd has found it particularly difficult to determine this yearâ€™s recipient from an extremely deserving groupâ€.â€œWhile itâ€™s always difficult to choose a winner, the flipside is, what a great position to be in – so many wonderfully talented and dedicated people in our sport. The nominees are a shining example of the valuable volunteers in our sport. We wouldnâ€™t exist or be anywhere near as successful without them. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport – the TFA board, and this award, recognises in no small way, the generosity and commitment of all of these people- not just the state representatives or winnersâ€ TFA Chair Anita Hagarty adds.Over the next four days, each nominee for the Touch Football Australia Volunteer of the Year will feature on Touch Football Australiaâ€™s website and social media channels, with the winner to be publically announced at 3pm on Friday 30th September 2016.All nominees will also receive a plaque of recognition and a small gift to say thank you for the tremendous work they have done for the sport of Touch Football.Keep an eye out below for your locations nominee, as Touch Football sayâ€™s thank to them, and all volunteers in our sport. NominationsGreg Mason VictoriaGreg Mason is a highly committed individual to the sport of Touch Football in Victoria, sitting on a variety of volunteer committees, heavily involved in the VT League and coaching at the State Level.Greg has sat on the VT League committee for 5 Years now, a trusted leader in the community and always willing to go above and beyond. Gregâ€™s greatest strength is his ability to separate his club affiliations from the bigger picture, always giving his thoughts and opinion on what is best for Touch Football in Victoria, not just the Melbourne City Lions. However, he has strongly lead that Melbourne City Lions for the past 6 years in the Presidents Role. The benchmark team in the competition, it is known for its professionalism and excellent administration, most of which is attributable to Greg.In 2014, when a VT League club withdrew from the competition only two weeks out, Greg was instrumental in supporting the TFV Office and working on a recovery strategy, creating the â€œSouthern Phoenixâ€, ensuring that the season was able to run with a fifth club. Greg was quoted as saying â€œI just wanted to give everyone the chance to play if they wantedâ€¦ at the end of the day, thatâ€™s all that matters, not politics and clubsâ€.When TFV were unable to construct a â€œstandalone committeeâ€ for the Southern Phoenix, Greg was once again called upon to run the club in 2015, which he did, undertaking all administrative equipmentâ€™s including apparel, finances, organising training etc. The South Phoenix is now being run be a separate volunteer committee, which Greg took upon himself to recruit.Greg was a member of the State Executive Council for five years, providing advice and support to the TFV Office. Despite living in Lake Dewar, he was a regular attendee at meetings, driving the three hour return trip each quarter, and doing so with a smile on his face.Greg has the unenviable task of being a long standing member of the TFV Disciplinary Panel, which unfortunately is created when an on field indiscretion requires further sanctioning. Given his experience in the game and personal contacts, he is often required to sit on panels and make tough decisions about people he knows personally. He does this with respect and sincere honesty, always ensuring due processes are followed. As previously mentioned, his ability to put the good of the sport fist, above his personal relationships, is without doubt his strongest character, particularly given the smallness of the Touch Football community in Victoria.Greg has been the Coach of the Under 18â€™s NYC Victorian Touring Team for the last two years. His coaching ability may not be the best in the State, but the respect his team holds him in, and the manner in which he conducts himself is without doubt the best of all Victorian Coaches.He is also heavily involved with Ballarat Touch Association, in which he is a player, referee and team manager. If called upon, he also referees at the VT League as often as requested. In fact, he goes above and beyond, heading into the Referee Room at the start of each round and ensuring he has offered his services and made his presence known as a possible â€œback upâ€ referee.Lastly, Greg has a strong understanding of the role of a volunteer, and how they can work closely with the TFV Office, as they are there to provide support and assistance when required and help with some of the â€œheavy liftingâ€ to keep the sport moving forward.He is one of the most trusted and esteemed members of the community, and for all these reasons has been nominated for this prestigious award. Sean Harvey Australian Capital Territory Sean commenced playing Touch Football in South Australia in 1981. In 1988, Sean moved to Canberra where he became a member of the Woden Eagles Touch Club. Since joining the club, Sean has made an invaluable contribution to the clubâ€™s sustainability through his leadership, integrity, professionalism, diversity and excellence.Sean has assisted TFACTâ€™s competitions through his work with the Woden Eagles club by his continued involvement as a player, coach, referee and a key administrator since 1988.Sean has shown strong skills in both leadership and integrity through organising and managing six adult Woden Eagles teams to compete in the 2015/2016 TFACT Summer Domestic Competition and 2016 TFACT Winter Competition.During the summer competition, Sean also coached a junior team in the 2015 Junior Competition, while assisting other volunteers of the club to coach junior teams to maintain the clubâ€™s involvement at a junior level. His level of involvement at both a junior and senior level shows his commitment to the sustainability of the sport within the ACT. Sean has displayed his flexibility and willingness to be involved in multiple programs including being a coach in TFACTâ€™s AusSquads Junior Development Program. He has assisted in the programs delivery since its inception in 2015.Sean is currently a general member of the TFACT Sport Operations Advisory Panel (SOAP) and has displayed professionalism in all aspects of his role. He makes timely and valued input both verbally and written in regards to all SOAP matters discussed and implemented. Sean has displayed excellence at a club level over the past year and for this he was awarded the Woden Eagles 2015 Volunteer of the Year. His excellence is not limited to his work at the club, however as he works with the TFACT staff to ensure the sustainability of all programs within the ACT and assists where he can especially in regards to refereeing and coaching.Sean has been an invaluable member of TFACT since 1988 with a positive and respectful attitude to all those he interacts with regardless of the role he is undertaking. Ben Cooper New South WalesBen is an outstanding individual and one whose values and integrity bring leadership to a small touch footballing community and stamp him as an outstanding candidate for the Touch Football Volunteer of the Year. Benâ€™s passion and drive has seen him as the driving force in the rebuilding of Young TA. Through his leadership and professionalism he has helped build and deliver a better product in the community and gas done this with a view to fostering development of the game in all aspects. In the last few years, helping to build and develop the game in the Young Area. Benâ€™s excellence has been awash over several integral positions on the Young Committee. He has been President, Treasurer and is currently leading the charge through his position of secretary.During the period of Benâ€™s involvement he has overseen the growth of the competition and acceptance of the competition in the local community. Under his tenure the Young TA competition has grown tenfold. He aided in introducing the highly successful ladies only â€œChampagne and Crackersâ€ competition which secured great community interest and buy in.His background in teaching has also seen him play a large role in bringing juniors into the sport of Touch Football. He has ensured that Young High School supports several NSWTA school events across the State and further develops their all-round skills by undertaking Referee Accreditation Courses with the student body.This area of Referee Development isnâ€™t just limited to the student body and through these efforts many students and adults have helped Young TA build their Referee numbers and develop their skills in the game to help develop Young TA.Ben has also engaged with NSWTA to run development days and clinics to update training sessions at schools right across the Young area. Through this practice Ben has assisted developing the game across the whole community.It was through Benâ€™s drive that saw Young TA enter in their first Junior State Cup in 2014 where he was the jack of all trades. Coach, Manager, Tour Leader and Travel Agent. He is now looking at getting Young to participate at their first Senior State Cup in 2016.With the amount of time Ben devotes to Young TA we are at a loss to understand how he finds to for his other roles â€“ High School Teacher and Deputy Lord Mayor of Young. It goes without saying that the qualities that Ben displays in all aspects of his like easily transcend into why the Young community he is such a well-respected individual.His commitment to our sport is shown in the great pride, professionalism and integrity that he delivers our product with. It is a benchmark for others to emulate. He would be not only a worthy winner, but already is a worthy ambassador for our game. Megan Harapa and Melissa JonesMegan Harapa and Melissa Jones are vital members of the Touch Football Community, particularly at the National Level aligned to Referee Support and Major Event Delivery. For the past 7 years Megan and Mel have acted a Referee Managers at all National Touch Football Events, as well as the 2015 Touch World Cup, held in Coffs Harbour.Both have also made countless contributions to the support of Referees at State (NSW) and lower levels for many years, prior to and in conjunction with her work at the National Level.Recognised for their ability to manage complex relationships and the rigors of major events, Megan and Mel are consistently a beacon for everything that Touch Football Australia looks for in a volunteer, as an organisation we are extremely grateful for the commitment and time they have provided so many people for so many years.