National Volunteer Award Profile Deo Clark

The next National Volunteer Award winner to be profiled from our round four recipients is Deo Clark a talented young bowler and inspirational coach from Greenfaulds BC. From a bowling family, Deo has been central to the growth of the clubs’ junior section the Greenfaulds Giants in recent years, an admirable achievement for the 19-year-old. Deo is passionate about breaking down the barriers that can prevent younger people from playing our sport and was nominated by a fellow club member for demonstrating high quality coaching, excellent leadership and as a positive role model to others. We spoke to Deo and Alice, who nominated them, to find out more about their volunteering story.

Not long ago the junior section at Greenfaulds had just two members, Deo and elder brother Alan. Now the Greenfaulds Giants has eleven playing members in the u16 age bracket, eight of who have joined in the last two years. We started by finding out how long Deo has been involved in coaching and the rewards they get from being involved as a volunteer at their club. They said:

“Officially for 4 years. However, I helped my dad out a lot when I was younger. We would go to the local high school, taking the carpet bowls with us.

“The Giants are an incredible and insane group of kids that I have the honour of coaching. There’s 11 currently, ranging from ages 7 to 12. I got involved in coaching because of my dad (Kenny Clark).  He’s always been very passionate about getting young people involved in the sport, it is very inspiring. So, naturally I followed in his footsteps. We run try-out days for the local primary and high schools. Which are always amazing days. Without fail you always get most of the young people saying, ‘this is better than I expected’.

“The best reward from coaching is the change in the children overtime. The majority of The Giants were really shy on their first few sessions; unsure if they would be able to play this strange sport.  After a few goes, you could already see the worry leave them. Now you can’t get them to stop talking! Although, I wouldn’t have them any other way. It’s truly a blessing and an honour to be able to be a helping hand to these young bowlers in finding self-confidence.”

Deo also dedicates time to put on coaching sessions for adult members as well as the Giants, we asked what they have learnt from Bowls Scotland’s coaching courses and what advice would they give to others aspiring to coach?

“I have learned the importance of adjusting activities to suit each individual. No one person is the same. By moving the mat, adjusting the distance it allows the kids to challenge themselves and learn how to adjust their pace and lines. My advice to aspiring coaches: be patient, be creative and have fun. Not just patient with the students but also with yourself. We all learn as we go so if things aren’t going as smoothly as you planned. That’s okay! You’ll get it next time!”

Deo was nominated by fellow club member, Alice Wilson, we spoke to Alice to find out why she nominated Deo and to find out the difference that their volunteering is making to Greenfaulds BC and the wider community:

“I nominated Deo because I think it’s important that people took notice of the effort young people are putting into bowls.  Additionally, talking with Deo it’s obvious that they are really passionate about The Giants.  I think it’s important that they got the recognition for the work and care they put into The Giants.

“Deo is such a positive light to have on the green, and when you play alongside them or are coached by them you never play a bad bowl! It’s uplifting and inspiring!

“Volunteers are important in bowls because without them clubs will fall apart. Clubs rely on the kindness of their members to stay alive. Clubs especially need young people coming through otherwise clubs will be dead in the future. Which is why it’s incredibly frustrating to hear from Deo that there’s some members (across different clubs) that complain about young bowlers.

“Deo has helped grow a junior section in their club. For years the junior section in Deo’s club was only the 3 Clarks (Deo and their 2 elder brothers). Deo is helping to keep the club alive by getting a new generation of members into the club.”

Alongside their busy coaching schedule Deo is also a very talented, competitive bowler and would encourage others to try our ‘sport for all’ they said:

“It’s not what you expect it to be.  Bowls is what you make of it. It can be very peaceful and relaxing when you’re out for a throw on your own. It’s also incredibly social and fun, day events at my club are always filled with hilarity. So, if you just want a chance to make friends, or have a peaceful escape from the stress of reality. Bowls is perfect for that. On the other hand, if you’re like me and love to be competitive its perfect for that to. Bowls is what you make of it. Fun, relaxing, competitive. It’s a flexible sport that fits all different types of people.”

Finally we asked Deo what it meant to be recognised as a winner for our National Volunteer Awards:

“Shocked. To say the least. I always ponder if I am doing enough for the Giants. Am I being the best coach I can be for them? So, to be recognised by Bowls Scotland that I am doing enough. It’s empowering.”

A huge congratulations to Deo on winning this award, we are sure we will hear more from this talented bowler and inspirational coach in the future. All the best to Greenfaulds BC and the Greenfaulds Giants for the upcoming 2023 season.

A reminder that nominations for our Volunteer Awards can be submitted year round by completing our short online form, more details can be found here.

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