Volunteer Profile: Eemeli Kaartinen | 18.09.2012
|Eemeli Kaartinen of Finland.
As soon as Eemeli, a sprinter, became a member of his local athletics club, he wanted to make a difference. He saw the club's dependence on the hard work and dedication of volunteers and had a vision to improve many aspects of the operations.
He volunteered to help out and quickly moved through the ranks. Within a year he was on the board of the club. This injection of youth was welcomed by the club's older leaders who have been crucial in helping and guiding Eemeli in the early stages of his leadership.
But it did not stop there. Eemeli, who is physiotherapy student and part-time masseuse, was soon on the board of his district athletics association, and then was appointed as the chairman!
This position also makes him a Council member of the Finnish Athletics Federation, where he is involved in the strategic decisions affecting a sport that is going through a period of change.
Eemeli took part in this summer's the European Athletics-UNESCO Young Leader's Forum, which was staged in conjunction with the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki. The Forum added yet another string to his bow as he looks for job opportunities within athletics.
Remember the name Eemeli Kaartinen; we may be hearing it for years to come.
When you are not working in athletics, what is your regular occupation?
I study physiotherapy and I am a masseuse as a part-time job.
How did you get started volunteering?
My club is based on volunteer work so, years ago, right at the beginning of my membership, I got small tasks to do. I saw things that could have been done better. I had a vision on how to improve those things. I wanted to get in positions where I could make the difference. At first I got in my club's athletics department, the next year I became a club board member, then I got onto my districts track & field organization's board and just after a one year I was made a chairman of it.
In my area it is easier to get in leading positions because there aren't really many people who really want the responsibility. Most of the older functionaries are happy when someone younger is willing to get involved and they are ready to give responsibility and guidance.
As a Chairman of Westlaplands athletics association and Member of Finland's athletics federation's council, what do you do?
Most of my volunteering time I spend with tasks connected to my club. As a chairman of my district, one of the most important things is to organise a competition calendar for the north of Finland. Actually, I have to be involved in anything related to athletics in my area. All in all, I have to keep things going and try to come up with ideas that could revitalise athletics in my area.
As a member of the Finnish Athletics Council I am dealing with matters nationwide. There are big issues going on in Finnish Athletics. A new competition system is under construction, a new strategy is in preparation and a new chairman is going to be elected for Finnish athletics next November.
You recently took part in the European Athletics- UNESCO Young Leaders Forum. What did you learn from it? What did you like the most about it?
Now I can see more clearly what is the role of the European Athletics. Before I wasn't sure about the relevance of the organisation. Now I know what it really does and I can see that continental athletics associations have very important roles. Of course getting international contacts and friends all over the Europe was one of the best things about the Forum.
What would you like to do in the next few years?
I would like to get a job in athletics. Also I'm going to keep competing in sprint events.
Who is your favorite athlete? Why?
Justin Gatlin. He was my favourite before and it's great that he is back on the top. For some reason I think that the world fastest man should be American. I like the presence of Justin Gatlin more than the Jamaicans.
Are you a member of the European Athletics Young Leaders Community and doing volunteer work in athletics? Be sure that the club, event or school where you are working is registered as a partner, or that your personal project is registered, so you can log your hours and your valuable contribution to the sport can be recognised.
Certificates are now being sent to members of the community (Bronze for 100 hours, Silver for 250 hours and Gold for 500 hours) and athleticscommunity.org will be publishing spotlight profiles of many of the winners in the coming weeks and months.
For more information on the European Athletics Young Leaders Community, click here.