Thursday, 15 September 2011

Diary of a Volunteer 2011 - Part 1

About a year ago I was invited to work at a seminar held at Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland to recruit volunteers to assist at the major world sporting event being held in Auckland from September to October 2011.  For copyright reasons I am not allowed to use the official title of the event but most readers will know about it and for those who don't, it involves New Zealand's national sport, rugby.  The organisers of the seminar were thrilled to find the convention room packed, but it was amusing, nevertheless, to see many of the attendees' enthusiasm drain away when told they were most unlikely to see any of the games.  I was blown away by the professionalism of the presentation and the enthusiasm of the presenters, so much so that, while not particularly a fan of rugby, although I do always watch our national team, the All Blacks, I applied to be a volunteer myself. 

Why did I volunteer?  Well there are several reasons,  Firstly, I love the work I do as a guide for  Auckland Tourism, I enjoy meeting people from all over the world and this would be an extension of that.  Secondly, I am very proud of New Zealand and my city, Auckland, and wanted to show it in a good light, make our visitors feel welcome and help make the event  a success.  And lastly, I wanted to be a part of the buzz and excitement surrounding it all.

Just volunteering did not mean you were accepted. There was an interview process to go through and after acceptance the allocation of a role appropriate to your skills.  My role is as a Festival Host and I am eagerly looking forward to this role.   Next we were measured for the uniform, still enticingly top secret at that stage.   Then there were 9 lessons to be completed via the internet and at the end an exam requiring a 100% pass mark.  That sounds harsh but to be honest if you had completed the lessons it wasn't too challenging. Then there were 3 more role specific lessons delivered via the internet, an afternoon of training at Auckland University of Technology and another  at Sky City Convention Centre.  Accreditation photos were taken, we visited The Cloud and Shed 10, the two major features of Auckland's Fanzone and  walked the 4.7km Fan Trail to Eden Park, Auckland's premier rugby stadium where the major games of the tournament will be played.  So, all in all, it was comprehensive, top class, training.
Watching a game on TV during a meal break.  I'm 3rd from right top row.
Finally, it was time to collect our uniforms, in shades of turquiose and teal they stand out in a crowd and reflect the sea, sky and paua shells of New Zealand.  We are all delighted with them. Then our rosters arrived and, at last, we were ready, willing and raring to go.  Bring it on!!