Volunteering Wins Gold: Volume 1

Hello and welcome to the first in a new series of JVN blogs entitled Volunteering Wins Gold. We’ll be posting stories about volunteering during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We all hear about how amazing Team GB are doing (it’s impossible to ignore!), but what about the people behind the scenes? Our Jewish community has some amazing volunteers who have given their time to ensure the smooth running of the Games, and we’ll be blogging about their experiences every week. We’ll also be featured on the Jewish Chronicle’s blog so we can spread the word about their fantastic achievements. And don’t forget, if you feel the need to go for gold but you weren’t lucky enough to be picked to represent Team GB, you can find the volunteering opportunity for you on the JVN website.

This week’s blog features Doreen Samuels, a Flash Quotes Reporter at the Badminton in Wembley Arena. Over to you, Doreen…

My Gamesmaker experience began in Sydney in 2008.

We met up with good friends who had been volunteers in the Sydney Olympics and were emphatic that, when the opportunity arose, I must volunteer for the London 2012 Games.

I have Ingrid and Jack to thank for my amazing experience, as I’m sure that I would not have persevered had it not been for them.

When the applications opened, I began to fill in the online form and this was the first hurdle which nearly put an end to the process! It seemed to take ages and the further I progressed, the more it seemed that I failed to tick any useful boxes. French? Rusty. Hebrew? A bit … Medical qualifications? No. First Aid certificate? Lapsed … Singing? Definitely not. Dancing? At my age?

Doreen poses with Nathan Robertson, British Olympic silver-medallist in the badminton at the 2004 Games in Athens.

Anyway, I did get an interview, and a ‘Test Event’. I had no idea how I had qualified for this, but perhaps my past editorship of Junior Chronicle, authorship of at least one children’s book and writing experience which I had used to pad out my application had actually worked.

I was to be a ‘Flash Quotes Reporter’ at the World Badminton Federation championships at Wembley. Sure that this meant that I was to follow the ‘proper’ reporters around and ‘flash’ their quotes up to the newsroom, I was thrilled to find that I was to be the reporter! After a short training, I was sent down to watch the most exciting badminton matches and then to interview either the winner or loser and rush back to the newsroom to type up the quotes within fifteen minutes of them being obtained. The quotes went onto the newswire and could be picked up by subscribers to the system.

The whole experience was exhilarating. The team leaders, who were professionals, the other volunteers, and the players, were all patient, charming and outstandingly helpful. The work was fun and I enjoyed every minute. So I was thrilled to find I had the same role in the badminton for London 2012.

Much trailing around London for training and to try on and collect my uniform ensued.

To my consternation, there was no skirt, and as I don’t wear trousers except for the gym and cycling, I had to ask for a very long T-shirt!

As well as enabling me to obtain a ticket for a technical rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony, which was a huge perk, volunteering on my first shift at Wembley I was privileged to see the Torch right out in front with my colleagues. I saw Gordon Banks bring it down the ramp from Wembley Stadium, and later had my photo taken with Nathan Robertson, the Olympic badminton silver medallist.

Next shift tomorrow, starting at 7.30am at Wembley.

Bring it on!

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Categories: JVN News, Olympics, Volunteering, Volunteering Profiles

Author:Mike

Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.

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