David Brice can't hide the personal satisfaction as he details the transformation in a young soccer referee from forgetting to blow his whistle in his first game to taking charge of a final by the end of the same season.
National Volunteer Week 2020, which finished on Sunday, had the theme "Changing communities - changing lives" and Brice can justifiably claim to have done both.
He is the mentor for young soccer referees in Launceston and has helped develop many into not only confident officials, but also young adults.
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"I'm mentoring kids to help them become better refs but I'm a great believer that the skills they learn as refs also help them in life such as people management, making quick decisions and taking responsibility," he said.
"It's great having an input into kids who want to do well and seeing them start timidly but, with encouragement, become confident in what they are doing and taking control. I get a lot of satisfaction from that."
Having played the sport until injury stopped him in his early-20s, Brice became involved again when his children, Glen and Michelle, started playing and immediately noticed the lack of officials in junior competition.
"As an ex-player, I had never played a game which did not have at least one official ref so it surprised me that it was just coaches helping out. I mentioned I had played and so was asked to coach but said I would be happy to grab the whistle to help out.
"Eventually my kids stopped playing but I did not."
Completing the required qualifications, Brice found himself as the only adult ref at junior level when Northern Tasmanian Junior Soccer Association president Dale Rigby suggested he become a mentor.
When there isn't a global pandemic going on, he can be found at Churchill Park every Saturday and also taking training sessions on Friday nights.
Over 12 years, the 62-year-old retired transport and logistics officer has become part of the venue furniture.
"Time moves on but I'm still there," he said. "I don't actually ref juniors apart from the occasional fill-in but I am pulling on the boots at senior level.
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"The reasoning behind the mentoring was that kids were getting extra training, but also having an adult on the sidelines changed the attitude of parents and coaches. It became obvious that, just like the players, the refs were people learning the game. And hopefully some of these kids are aspiring to referee at a higher level."
Brice is proud of his refereeing role, and wishes he had begun sooner.
"I've got more from volunteering than I ever did from my working life and achieved more as a ref than I did as a player. I was in a lower division Sydney competition but I've been an assistant ref to a Tasmanian NPL side - a level I never dreamed of reaching as a player. In everything, volunteers are invaluable. Without coaches, refs etc sport would not happen. They are an important and sometimes under-stated part of the community."