It seems impossible to believe that it’s almost two years since I submitted my application to be a Volunteer Gamesmaker for London 2012, yet my journey goes back even further, to the 6th July 2005, the day London won the right to stage the 30th Olympiad. I remember watching the announcement live on the TV, and the pure surge of joy and pride as London was announced as the winning bid. I vowed at that moment to find a way to become a part of what will be a once in a lifetime event, an Olympic and Paralympic Games in my home country. Clearly actually competing was going to be beyond me, but I was determined to find a way to be involved.
When the volunteer Gamesmaker programme was announced, I knew this was my opportunity. I submitted my application as early as I could, then sat and waited for months, hoping that I would be given the chance to attend an interview. Eventually an email arrived – I was one of the lucky 240,000 to be interviewed! The interview was a fun experience and a strange one – it’s the only interview I’ve ever been to where you exited the interview process via the gift shop!
Cue the next long wait… but in January the email I’d been hoping for arrived. I’ve been invited to volunteer in Weymouth to support the Paralympic sailing events. To say I was excited when the invitation arrived would be a serious understatement! Now, here I am, two days before I head down to check in to my accommodation and start venue training. Unfortunately I missed the first orientation training as I was on jury service and couldn’t get away, but I have been assured that I will be able to catch up easily.
Obviously giving up time to volunteer has a cost – I’m self employed and am going to need to juggle business and volunteering over the time I’m away – but fortunately I have been told that there will be WiFi access in the accommodation so with the help of the awesome Katie at Jam (www.answer.co.uk) and email access I should be able to keep up with enquiries and customer needs. It’s not going to be easy, but most of my business contacts are so supportive of what I’m doing and will be understanding if I’m not able to be as responsive as usual.
I intend to try to blog every day as the experience unfolds, so please do subscribe and follow my updates if you’re interested in my Paralympic journey. I’d love to hear from you.