One of the biggest clichés in community sport clubs is that volunteers are the life blood of the club, and that without volunteers, the club would not exist.
It is always dangerous to start a story with a cliché, but the fact of the matter is, it is the truth, and to add another cliché to it – they do not grow on trees.
That is why when Club Business Operations Manager Maree Thomson met Glenn and Jan Furness back in 2018, she asked if they were sane when they came to her and said they would like to volunteer at the club.
With both Jan (Mrs Macs Pies) and Glenn (Pernod-Ricard) working in the hospitality industry there was a natural attraction to clubs, and in particular those of the AFL variety.
To answer Maree’s question though, the Furness’ are sane, in fact, they are two of the nicest people you will ever meet.
As part of National Volunteers Week, let’s unpack how they ended up as part of the awesome volunteer team at the club and why they do what they do.
Their journey to becoming volunteers at the Bombers started when Glenn decided to check out the local footy for his birthday.
The game he happened to check out was the Redland Bombers opening game of the 2018 season, against Southport at Totally Workwear Park.
“I just wanted to see what it would be like because I’d never been to the footy up here, and have a good day out, ” Glenn said.
Glenn and Jan had moved up to the Gold Coast in 2017 as they saw it as the perfect opportunity to start afresh, since their kids were all grown up and they were both able to transition their work roles to Queensland.
After renting for a while at the Gold Coast they decided to move to the Redlands, where Glenn had been exploring whilst doing some work in Victoria Point.
Their move to the Redlands two years ago would prove to be fantastic for the club but also for them.
“We love the Redlands. I am a country boy and it has a real country vibe to it, which I absolutely love. The Gold Coast was a bit too busy for us,” Glenn said.
Glenn had been involved in coaching kids for many years down in Bendigo and helped around the senior footy club, so it is fair to say they were itching to have community footy back in their life.
“When I went to the footy that first time it felt like I was back in Victoria, the vibe was so good, and I said to Jan let’s get involved, “Glenn revealed.
And involved they did; last year Glenn joined the committee as the Match Day Coordinator and Jan worked tirelessly in the canteen during home games.
When asked what the Match Day Coordinator does, Glenn who is a very humble man cheekily said it was a fancy title that someone gave him to be able to sit on the committee.
However, Glenn does a lot on Match Day to help get things organised for the team as well as being the umpire escort and jumping in the canteen or on the BBQ when he can.
Basically, if there is a job that needs to be done on Match Day, Glenn will do it.
At a committee level, he focuses on how the club can continually improve the matchday experience for all – players, coaches, spectators, and volunteers.
For Glenn and Jan, they did not see it as work though, they see it as a great way to connect with others in the local community and build friendships.
“We absolutely love it! For us it has been so easy for us to volunteer here,” Glenn proclaimed.
One of the aspects that Glenn has loved the most about the Redland Football Club, is the people.
“I have never known a club to have so many good people in it. All from different walks of life but they all have one common goal – to help the club be the best on and off the field, which is what I love,” he said.
The best thing about the people for the Furness’ is the approachable nature of everyone at the club and their whatever it takes attitude.
“Everyone is super approachable, and everyone does the best they can to grow the club. We have built so many friendships already and look forward to catching up with them at the footy,” Glen said.
Glenn loves the professional nature of the NEAFL and going to grounds like the Gabba and Metricon Stadium, but the most fulfilment he gets out of being a volunteer are home games.
“It is a football lover’s dream volunteering for a NEAFL club with some of the places we get to go. However, I really love our home games the most, the atmosphere is so good,” he said.
“To be honest the most rewarding and fulfilling part of being a volunteer is the post-game presentation in the club especially after a win. It’s just really special having the whole club coming together.”
He knows that not everyone has the capacity to volunteer but says, one of the best things you can do if you love football, is get involved with your local footy club.
The Redland Football Club is fortunate that they are the Furness’ local football club. Hopefully, Glenn and the rest of us get to enjoy a post-game function after a win soon.
For now, though, let’s celebrate the fantastic work Glenn, Jan and all of the other volunteers do to make the club great.