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.
“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.
"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.