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Call For Volunteers: 25,000 Wanted


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Olympic volunteer program kicks off Tuesday: 25,000 jobs for grabs

How to see Olympics up close and personal

Damian Inwood, The Province

Published: Monday, February 11, 2008

Anyone who has always wanted a job as an "Olympic flamewatcher," will get their chance tomorrow.

That's when the 2010 volunteer program kicks off and 25,000 jobs are up for grabs -- from parking cars to greeting heads of state.

One of the more unusual jobs is making sure that the Olympic cauldron at B.C. Place Stadium keeps burning throughout the 17 days of the Winter Games.

"We have a shift of people making sure that the flame doesn't go out," said Donna Wilson, 2010's boss of human resources. "We fondly know of them as 'flamewatchers.' " :lol:

Wilson said 2010 officials expect a flood of online applications.

It's not merely a case of "first come, first served," she said.

The application will take 30 to 40 minutes to fill out, as it requires people to list their skills, experience and interests and provide ID such as a driver's licence.

Volunteers will have to be willing to make a time commitment as the total number of shifts for both Games are 13 shifts for the Olympics and seven for the Paralympics.

"We'll be checking to make sure that people are aware of the commitment and are comfortable with that," said Wilson.

The minimum age is 19, as of September 2008, said Wilson, to make security-screening easier. There is no maximum age.

In the spring, about 40,000 people will go through a telephone screening process. In the fall, successful applicants will go to a volunteer centre at the old PNE Forum for a five-hour security-screening and training session.

Wilson said 2010 wants anyone who's had experience in winter sports to volunteer at things like starting gates. There'll also be a need for medical people such as massage therapists, physiotherapists and dentists. Volunteers will also be needed to work with athletes at the anti-doping test areas.

People fluent in languages are needed. Thousands of general volunteers are needed for helping with event services, accreditation, ticket-taking, handling spectator needs and assisting people at the airport.

Volunteers can apply online at www.vancouver2010.com or at www.workopolis.com.

"Volunteers need to be energized, flexible and committed," said Wilson.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Next to the athletes, the workforce is the most vital part of the Games."

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Volunteering at the Olympics is a wonderful experience. My husband and I worked as Volunteers during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, as Athlete Drivers at Olympic Village. I drove the American Bobsled team to their housing one day and another time I drove the Canadian Team's hockey skates, along with the coach to housing. It was fantastic being part of the Olympics.

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What's this about government employees gettig paid for volunteering? technically that's not volunteering if you get paid for it. :blink:

They're not getting paid for volunteering, but they are being offered an extra 7 1/2 days paid (and another 7 1/2 unpaid) vacation so they can volunteer. I suspect that a lot companies may give their employees extra paid vacation during games time, so this isn't without precedent. That said, when the government is writing cheque after cheque for the event, and then writing further cheques to their employees in the form of paid vacation specifically for the event, I can see why people would get a little pissy about it.

Point being though, they will not be compensated for the services they provide as part of the volunteer program, but for the time they miss while volunteering... a fact some of my colleagues in the broadcast media seem to want to overlook.

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While i disagree with what is going on, i do think the media has yet again blown another issue completely out of proportion....it's interesting how they declared this to be a "controversy" all by themselves - namely Global.

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  • 3 months later...

Almost a week ago, VANOC has started calling for volunteers. Right now, it is looking for people that wants to volunteer for the Sport Events area.

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