"When you volunteer, you tend to get tremendous feedback from people you may never have the opportunity to meet otherwise."
Delivery driver Charles Glenn Shockley, 57, of Albuquerque, NM, invented the field game of terfball, "designed to have a lot of participants and be non-contact and co-ed so everyone can play." For the last 15 years he has volunteered with Rio Rancho Parks and Recreation to teach, play, and referee terfball games for local children and youth.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
I volunteer my time at a summer sports camp with children ages 6 to 15 years old. They play traditional sports: tennis, swimming, football, baseball, etc. My sport of terfball is a non-traditional, 3- team, co-ed game. The groups play in age groups 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, and 12-15 year olds. The groups vary in size, from 12 kids a game, up to more than 40 playing at one time. It's something like soccer and basketball, with a lot of running. I teach the rules and referee the games, which can be 4-5 games on the days I volunteer.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Rio Rancho Parks and Recreation Sportzcamp Program, Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefits from this work.
I have been invited back 15 years in a row to play terfball. I've had almost 300 games with Parks and Rec. I have benefited by playing with repeat players to perfect the rules on my website as well as the work on the foam ball with handles. The kids have been real good to me. I also have a Spanish link for the website. The kids benefit from all the running and the co-ed participation.
What inspired you to get involved?
One of the people whom I played softball with asked me to bring it out and play it in 1991.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
I was a lot younger when I started my involvement with Sportzcamp. Sam Deflippo asked me to play terfball there. He was part of Rio Rancho Parks and Recreation. He has since moved on.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
The best thing is that with repeat players in the program, I have seen a lot of kids come and go. Now some of the kids who played have become teenagers and help run the different age groups. Parks and Rec called the other day, and they would like me to run a couple games for 45-50 kids during the spring break 2006.
What is/was the hardest part?
Finding a site to play terfball. I play at community centers, and the grassy areas vary in size. Over 1000 people played in 34 games in 2005.
What was the biggest surprise?
Their desire to ask me back every year. They say that the kids love it. The community center directors move on, and the kids grow older, but I remain in my commitment to continue to volunteer on my days off.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
The special ed kids who have played it have taught me their special needs. A deaf girl kept coming in front of me to read my lips, and she also didn't stop with the whistle. I have a mustache as well, so I made sure that when she was there, and I was talking, to be sure to look at her. Other kids would tell her when the whistle went off. A guy in a wheelchair wanted to play, but he didn't want to be just a goalie. He wanted to be right out there among the players wheeling his wheelchair. In fact, it was easier than being a goalie. A blind boy, who had a staff member aid him, was told which way to try and run. Sometimes the play would turn and run by him. He loved holding the ball. A French kid on vacation didn't grasp the rules at first, but in the two days that he played, he shared the ball and had a number of assists. He was a good scorer as well.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
When you volunteer, you tend to get tremendous feedback from people you may never have the opportunity to meet otherwise. One kid said, "Now I get it," in the middle of a game. An older boy said, "I feel like an adult," even though he might have been 10 years old. In some games I include the staff to help distribute the ball, and they love it. So if you enjoy or can help people play or smile, go for it and volunteer.
To learn how to play terfball, visit Charles Shockley's website.
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