Throughout our community there are countless volunteers who give generously of their time to make squash such a great sport. They are the lifeblood of our clubs and they provide the inspiration and passion to make things happen. The Squash New Zealand Volunteer of the Year award recognises that contribution and this year the award goes to Nic Dann, a member of the Marlborough College Old Boys Squash Club.
Nic is a club committee member and has been responsible for a wide range of activities throughout the year. As well as providing general support for tournaments she organised and ran a 6-week social league initiative called “Blowout Squash” to attract new players to the club. This was followed by a league called “Game, Mark, Go” aimed at the more competitive players. Nic has been heavily involved in coaching and junior development at her club, running an introductory workshop on club coaching in April and another coaching workshop for members in May.
At a regional level Nic was responsible for the organisation of the Marlborough Coaching Development Squads for the 2017 season, organising the coaches and players for the Junior Development Squads and coached a Junior Development Squad of 7 members during the 2017 season.
Marlborough Boys College School Squash also benefited from her coaching expertise and support during the year. Nic coached the school team of 7 players for the South Island Secondary School Championships in Christchurch in June, coached the school team of 21 players for the Tasman Secondary School Championships in Nelson in July, coached the school team of 11 players for the National Secondary School Tournament in Palmerston North in August and organised, coached and managed the 22 members of the Marlborough Boys College Squash teams that attended three major tournaments in 2017.
Nic has played an active role in the discussions with Squash Canterbury to identify the support required for the clubs at the Top of the South that are now part of Squash Canterbury. This is a new initiative that is still being developed and her input has been greatly valued.
As President of the NZ Secondary School Squash Association, Nic has provided the leadership for the NZSSSA committee and developed key relationships with Squash NZ, NZSS Sports Council, Regional Sporting Trusts and the schools involved in NZSSSA National Championships. She was a selector of the NZSSSA team to complete in the Trans-Tasman Exchange and facilitated the nomination and selection process for the NZSSSA players involved in the event. She developed written guidelines for the selection policy and other administrative tasks associated with the tournament.
Nic coached the NZSSSA team of 20 players who attended the Trans-Tasman Exchange in Rockhampton, Australia. For the 4-day tournament, which New Zealand won comprehensively, she organised the accommodation, flights and all the other associated logistics. During the event, Nic managed the girl’s team of 10 players, providing coaching and encouragement for the 100 matches that the girls played.
Nic has made a valuable contribution to squash at many levels and this award is a fitting recognition of her outstanding achievements.