(ATR) Generosity, enthusiasm and an ability to work as part of a team were part of the recruiting pitch to attract the nearly 12,000 volunteers who are working at the 18th Pan American Games.
In Lima, many of them are on their feet constantly, attending to everyone’s needs, and work really hard. They are proud of their position, they are happy, and not afraid to show it. Even though the organization of the Games does not always work perfectly, they stay positive and try to provide the best solution.
Many were brought in and began training just before the Pan American Games began.
“We are part of one of the three major events of the world, being a volunteer here, at my country is a real honor, it’s unique. We’ve only started a few days before the official inauguration, that’s why we are still learning,” says Sabrina, 24, who is in charge roller skating athletes.
Commitment. That’s the word to describe this big group that is part of the workforce. While Peruvians make up the overwhelming majority of volunteers, there are 2,476 (4.12 percent) from Argentina and 983 (1.64 percent) from Brazil. Also, they have around 529 persons with disabilities.
The majority of volunteers, 60 percent, are women between the ages of 18 and 24. Only eight percent are less than 16 years old and only four percent are men and women over 50.
“I’m from Argentina and had the opportunity to be a YOG Buenos Aires volunteer, and loved the experience. So I decided to try another event, and as Lima was close I came. I love getting to know new people, being involved with the athletes, get to see their routines,” explains Matías, who is 21.
Volunteers at softball venue on Tuesday (ATR)
“Also being able to learn how a major event is built up and how everyone has a specific job. It’s something I really enjoy.”
“Getting to know different cultures, new countries and have the opportunity to help others, are some of the reasons why I choose to enroll as a volunteer,” answers Ana, who works with the general public at Villa María del Triunfo, which includes six different venues for various sports.
The volunteer force was trained in different functional areas. They have their supervisor, but all of them wear the same uniform. They don’t want to be differentiated because all of them work with the same purpose and with the same aspirations. Some of the areas in which volunteers play a prominent role are with the press, sports, accommodations, language, protocol, doping, NOCs, Olympic family, transportation, accreditation, workforce, EVS (general public), and medical services.
They walk around and do their jobs at the different venues. It doesn’t matter where you meet them, their excitement is the same. They are asked to complete an eight-hour shift, which includes one of their meals. But most of them are so excited about the work, they stay longer just for their own pleasure.
“I’m really thrilled about being here, this is a major event and it is Lima’s opportunity to show to the world,” said Nicolás, 22, who works in one of the press areas.
“I decided to become a volunteer to have the opportunity to get to know new people, different cultures and to bring my little grain to motivate Peruvians to enroll in the sports culture."
Written and reported by Olivia Diaz Ugalde in Lima
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