Carroll County Times
Carroll County Sports

Rec Sports Spotlight: Gibson tabbed North Carroll Rec Council's Volunteer of the Year

North Carroll Recreation Council Volunteer of the Year Erin Gibson is a great example of what one motivated volunteer can do.

Eight years ago, Gibson offered to be an assistant coach for her daughter Elizabeth's rec clinic field hockey team.


She'd never played it, and she knew nothing about it. But Elizabeth wanted to play it.

So mom went out and learned about it.


Eventually, she would run the entire North Carroll Storm youth field hockey program in addition to coaching Storm's teams and three club field hockey teams too.When her two-year term as program coordinator ended this past summer, program enrollment was up 20 percent from 2016 when her term began.

In November, the North Carroll Rec Council recognized those contributions and named the resident of Hampstead its Volunteer of the Year for 2018.

Current North Carroll Rec field hockey coordinator Jennifer Lleras, who has worked with Gibson over the years, composed her nomination for the honor.

Lleras wrote, “Over the past several years, Erin Gibson is, without a doubt the single most involved volunteer within the North Carroll Recreation Council."

When her then 4-year-old daughter wanted to play field hockey back in 2010, Gibson willingly volunteered as an assistant for the clinic field hockey team. She humorously described that job was something like babysitting: stopping the kids from running off and keeping their shoestrings tied.

But that would change.

“The following year, there was no coach. Either I stepped up or there would be no clinic program for my daughter," Gibson said.

She would step up herself.


But she knew she needed help from someone who knew the game if she took the coaching job. Gibson reached out to Katrina Ross, whose daughter was also in the program.

"She had coached at Division I. I pleaded with Katrina to co-coach with me," she said. "I was smart enough to know what I didn't know.”

Thus began her transition from simply field hockey mom to expert coach and program administrator .

She learned a lot from Ross, as she would later do from Gayle Taylor, another North Carroll volunteer.

Taylor had coached field hockey at the high school and club levels. In the next few years, Gibson soaked up a lot of knowledge from the pair.

And, she augmented that knowledge by taking coaching courses and reading up on field hockey. Meanwhile, her responsibilities were expanding.


After two years with the clinic program, many of the girls were ready to move up to the third/fourth grade team. Gibson moved up to coach them while also coaching the clinic program.

By 2016, she had moved from Owings Mills up to Hampstead. This of course made volunteer activities more convenient, and Gibson took advantage of it.

About that time, Gibson took over as overall coordinator for the entire field hockey program.

As owner-manager of her own law practice which is based in Hampstead, Gibson had learned a lot about setting up and running a firm. She quickly applied applied that knowledge to her new rec job.

"I ran the program like you run a business,” Gibson said. “I established a working executive board, and it was fantastic.”

In forming her board, Gibson looked for persons with field hockey experience and a strong work ethic.


She was successful finding both.

“I have a wonderful support team,” Gibson said. “We have a dynamic group of volunteers. I couldn’t do anything without their stepping up,” Gibson said.

In her years of coaching for and running the field hockey program, she has had a dramatic influence.

Lleras wrote, “Four years ago, the North Carroll Storm Field Hockey program was one of North Carroll’s smallest programs. Erin took over as the coordinator and has transformed this program into a thriving organization that provides high level coaching and teaches young girls and women a sport that we believe makes them stronger in body and spirit."

In addition to working directly with the Storm, Gibson has also been heavily involved in coaching with the Majestx under-10, under-12, and under-14 club field hockey teams.

Based in Hampstead, the club is part of the pipeline that begins with the rec program and feeds through Majestx and into the Manchester Valley High School field hockey program. And, since leaving the coordinator's post, Gibson has also joined the North Carroll Rec Council executive board.


Being named Volunteer of the Year was very meaningful to Gibson because of the competition for the honor.

Carroll County Daily Headlines

Carroll County Daily Headlines


Get the day's top news and sports headlines.

"I felt humbled and honored. because there are so many super volunteers in North Carroll Rec," she said.

Despite all of her importance in an executive role and her confident businesslike approach to her administrative volunteer efforts, Gibson remains in many ways a simple field hockey mom. She began as someone who just took pleasure in working with girls and teaching them the nuts and bolts of field hockey.

And that remains her first love.

"I still like working with the kids the best,” she said. “I love coaching.”

She sees coaching as her future role.


"I plan to continue coaching as long as they want me," Gibson said.

She will likely have a job for a long time.