The Chance of a Lifetime: Volunteer for London 2012 Olympics

By: Catherine Mumford

The applications for British citizens to become general volunteers for the 2012 London Olympics opened on September 15, 2010.  The Olympic committee hopes to garner 70,000 enthusiastic “Games Makers.”  Potential volunteers must be free to complete a three-day training course prior to the Games, and volunteer a minimum of ten days at either the Olympic Games or the Paralympic Games.

The volunteering homepage of the Olympic site has everything you would need to know when considering being a part of the historic event.  They highlight six core values that potential volunteers must encompass, which include being inspirational, open, respectful, team-focused, distinctive, and having a ‘can do’ attitude.  “Games Makers” are the face of the event, as they will be the person taking your ticket, directing you to your seat, answering questions about the venue, and myriad other key roles.

Lord Coe, Chairman of the games, reinforced the gravity of the volunteer role by saying “It’s what I remember in Sydney when I was a broadcaster, it’s what I remember in Los Angeles when I was competing. I need no convincing. Every prism I’ve seen the Games through – competitor, media, committee member, bidder, deliverer – has been coloured by the quality of the volunteers. That’s why we take it so seriously.”

There are several teams to choose from, such as commercial sales and brand protection, transport, and torch relays and ceremonies.  If understanding some of the behind-the-scenes activity at an Olympic games is of interest, then volunteering is certainly a way to gain some otherwise unknown perspective.  Volunteers are also promised a “fantastic time whichever team you volunteer in!”