TFA Volunteer Of The Year Award 5 Web Hero (1)

There is little that January’s Volunteer of the Month winner David Parker has not completed when it comes to Touch Football. He has been heavily involved in the sport in the sunshine state for over 4 decades and continues to give back to the game. Whilst a softly spoken man, David is a doer, the brains of the operation and glue that keeps Palm Beach Touch strong and ever-present in Queensland.

David has worn countless hats during his Touch Football tenure and like many volunteers does all this work without fuss, quietly in the background. David was a huge advocate and instrumental in commencing a junior program at Palm Beach Touch and has also featured in Touch Football internationally.

As our Bristol Volunteer of the Month, we speak to David about his passion for Touch Footy, his own personal journey, and the remarkable role he has and continues to perform in his local community.

Congratulations David, can you begin by telling us a little bit about your Touch Football journey?

Thanks, I am actually wrapped to have been awarded this. I understand this game has MANY volunteers that make it tick, so to have been nominated and chosen as this month’s recipient, I’m grateful.

I started playing touch back in the late 80s at school, it was a sport that many of our teachers advocated for and got me into it back then. Initially it started as a means to have some fun during the later years of school and with time I began to see how much this game means to many people.

In the early 2000s I moved down to Palm Beach and got involved in the club. I noticed we didn’t have a junior program so got to work to try and change that and did so with a couple others. I’m pretty proud of where our junior program has gotten to now, it started off at 10-12 teams and is now upward of 140! Safe to say a very proud achievement for all involved.

I’m now the President at Palm Beach Touch and have been for a few years now, prior to this I’ve been involved with Queensland Touch Football in a coaching capacity and also coached the Men’s USA 30s team at the last World Cup.

Wow, that is some introduction David, what is it about Touch Football that lured you into the sport and drives your passion?

As I mentioned initially it was just a school sport that I played. The teachers loved it and then growing up it’s a sport you can play with anyone… mum, dad, partners, it really doesn’t matter because of the gender neutrality.

Now the focus has changed, I want to continue to drive Palm Beach Touch forward and get as far ahead as possible, see the young kids come through and achieve what they set out to achieve.

You wear many admin hats as well;  president, player, coach and even volunteering on Boards… which role do you love the most?

Overall as I look back, I’ve enjoyed them all! It’s probably being involved with the youth and kids that I find most rewarding and can appreciate. I’m also on the  Federation of International Touch (FIT) youth commission, my mission there is to try and help countries wanting to develop their youth systems and improve or establish development pathways and opportunities.

You have a passion for coaching and vast experience both at Palm Beach and Queensland Touch, where did this passion originate.

A lot has come overtime, as I said I my involvement with touch started back in the late 80s, so I’ve had a good amount of time on the circuit and seen plenty. A while ago I put myself through coaching programs and just dived into different environments, always with an eager mind to learn and observe. So, when I’m not a coach or assistant coach I would still go and watch training sessions, see what I could learn from those out there, some were in my opinion the best of their time.

Along the way different coaches have mentored me and shaped who I am today.

You did some work with USA Touch; can you tell us how that came about and the results?

Yes this was a genuine highlight, being able to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the FIT World Cup in 2019 as the USA’s 30s Men’s coach.

It came about with a mutual friend who was the organiser of USA Touch, initially I was going over to be the Mixed Opens manager however the Men’s 30s coach unfortunately had to withdraw so I was lucky enough to be considered and stepped into this role. Unfortunately, we didn’t achieve our goals in this tournament, the conditions got the better of the players and we finished 9-10th overall. But it was a huge learning curve and what an experience to be a part of! I’m hopeful to be in the UK for the 2024 FIT World Cup.

What is your favourite touch footy memory?

You’ve actually covered a lot of my highlights above already, but if I had to pick one, we haven’t spoken about it would be winning the Inferno National Touch League (NTL) in 2021 as the Men’s Open assistant coach. The South Queensland Sharks team had not won the title for a while, so that was quite special.

Vom Jan 2023

What do you believe has been the biggest improvement or advancement in the sport from your perspective?

It would have to be the skill level of the players which has improved dramatically along with the speed of the game over the course of time.

Where does this come from? For me I believe it comes from a grassroots level, early education on skill development and core skills have been drummed in at a young age. So, when they become seniors or go onto representative levels, the foundations are so solid the game has enhanced drastically.

Awesome to hear your views! What is next for David Parker and Palm Beach Touch?

I’ll be at the Inferno NTLs in March as the assistant coach of the South Queensland Sharks Men’s team and then at Palm Beach Touch we have our representative junior tri-series starting shortly so I’m really looking forward to that.

Finally, if you were to win the Bristol Paint Volunteer of the Year award and $5,000 worth of paint does a project comes to mind?

I’d put this towards our Clubhouse. It needs some touch-ups and we’re actually looking to refurbish the bar area, so $5,000 worth of paint from Bristol would go a long way for us.

As our volunteer of the Month, David is now eligible for the Bristol Paint TFA Volunteer of the Year (VOY) Award. The TFA VOY will receive paint to the value of $5,000 for a project of their choice, thanks to our friends at Bristol Paint.

DON’T FORGET  All Touch Footy participants are entitled to 15-20% OFF Bristol Paint products. Download your exclusive discount card on our website here.

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