Deciding to take the plunge
My ‘day job’ is as a Planning and Resources Manager for England (South) based in the London office in Camden Town. I have volunteered before but I have to say in a slightly altruistic way such as getting involved in PTAs at my children’s schools. So applying to be a Games Maker at the London Olympics was a whole different experience. I was keen to be involved as having lived in London for over thirty years I was very excited when we won the Olympics and saw volunteering as a great opportunity to be involved.
Mind you it was a long process – applications had to be in the early part of 2011, the interview was in June 2011 and I didn’t hear I had been selected until March of this year. But after attending two days training, picking up my uniform and accreditation I had been allocated 12 eight hour shifts (08:00-16:00 or 14:00 – 22:00) starting a week before the games began, so I was ready to go!
At work in the media centre
I think I was fortunate in being allocated an interesting role as a Media Conference Assistant in the Main Press Centre – the press village is a huge back of house operation I guess most spectators would be completely unaware of. I worked in a team of 12 Games Makers under the direction of our two lovely Team Leaders Craig and Amanda, and we ran the press conference rooms in the Main Press Centre. That involved – putting headsets out for the translation services, setting up name plates, making sure the soft drinks bottles had the labels displayed correctly (all part of those sponsorship deals), plus a bit of standing at doors smiling and greeting people and even picking up a bit of rubbish!
The best bit of the job
However the best bit was handling the mobile microphones for the journalists’ questions. That meant you were there when the press conferences were taking place, so really interesting to see famous athletes but equally interesting to see the less well known athletes and coaches. Additionally there was a large IOC/LOCOG briefing every day so a fascinating insight in the organisation of the Games. So it was a wonderful experience, sometimes it was manically busy and sometimes quiet, but being a press centre there were plenty of screens around showing Olympic sport to watch during the slacker times!
To sum it up
The atmosphere in the Olympic Park was just amazing, I worked with a great and diverse bunch of people and it felt very special to be part of the London Games. Having worked my volunteering around my day job I was quite tired when it all ended – but sad it was over but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Certainly given me a taste for volunteering and a thirst to be involved in another national event – but after a bit of a break I think!
Find out more: