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Workopolis and VANOC welcome 13 volunteers to the 2010 Winter Games team

By Workplace Staff
| www.cos-mag.com

The names and welcoming faces of 13 volunteers chosen to represent their home province or territory as Canada’s ambassadors to the world at the 2010 Winter Games were unveiled today by Workopolis and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). Workopolis is the Official Supplier of Online Recruitment for the 2010 Winter Games.

The 13 are among the first 200 volunteers offered Games-time roles with Vancouver 2010 out of almost 64,000 applications received so far through www.volunteer.workopolis.com and www.vancouver2010.com. Volunteer positions will be offered throughout the summer and continuing up to Games time.

Following the launch on February 12, 2008 of what is quite possibly the largest request for volunteers during peace time in Canada, applications started pouring in. Candidates have applied from every province and territory, as well as from almost 130 countries worldwide, including the Cayman Islands, Iceland and Tunisia, which is more than 9,400 kilometres away from the Host City of Vancouver!

“Last February, Workopolis and games organizers literally hit the streets to get the word out about the call for volunteers in order to recruit the 25,000 volunteers needed to bring the Games to life,” says Gabriel Bouchard, president of Workopolis.  “The response was incredible and we’re thrilled to introduce this team of fantastic individuals who will represent our country and help truly make these Canada’s Games.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Cathy Priestner Allinger, who heads up sport and Games operations - including volunteer recruitment - for VANOC. “Thanks to the recruitment and promotional campaign we launched with Workopolis, we’re finding a great team of volunteers who’ll be integral in helping us stage great Games. We’re grateful for the enthusiasm and willingness of those who’ve applied.”  

As the backbone of the 2010 Winter Games, these volunteers come from all walks of life and all adult age groups in Canada, and speak a variety of languages.  Assigned to a number of areas, they will groom ski hills, take tickets and usher spectators to their seats, welcome athletes to the Olympic and Paralympic Villages in Vancouver and Whistler, shuttle athletes and coaches to and from Olympic and Paralympic venues, and much more.

For additional details about the first 13 volunteers, as well as their photos, please visit www.volunteer.workopolis.com

For Ontario volunteer Tom Broumas, volunteering at the Games has been a dream almost 20 years in the making.  He will be working in workforce break areas and doing check-in for staff and volunteers at the Games.  

“My first memory of the Olympic Winter Games was watching Kerrin Lee-Gartner win gold in Albertville (in 1992).  That’s when I realized what a great honour it is to be involved with the Olympic Movement - whether that’s as an athlete or as a volunteer,” Broumas said shortly after learning he had been selected.  “I’m most looking forward to the opportunity to work together with all of the other volunteers and being part of an event that will showcase Canada to the world.”

VANOC will continue to recruit applicants up until Games time next February.  Interested volunteer candidates, especially those with language skills in French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Norwegian and Spanish, as well as those who have event services and transportation experience, are invited to apply at www.volunteer.workopolis.com or www.vancouver2010.com.  The application takes about 20 minutes to fill out and captures information about your skills and experience, preferences, availability and accommodation.

Volunteer experience - giving you a competitive edge in a tight job market

Volunteering your time also shows leadership, time management and altruism - all qualities that employers value. Workopolis offers the following ways volunteering can work for you in a tight job market:

  • Increasing your stock. Employers admire people with a social conscience who make it a priority to take action. A willingness to work for free demonstrates to an employer that you’ve got a strong work ethic and the benefits you seek are more intrinsic in nature than just financial gain.  
  • Testing the waters. No matter your interest, there’s an unpaid position with your name on it. Think of it like swimming; before jumping in the deep end head-first, start by sticking your toes in the shallow end through some hands-on volunteer experience. Volunteer experience can result in an added skill set you can include in your resume.
  • Opening new doors. More than half of job vacancies are still being filled internally or through external networking, either through online networks or mingling at social functions. Diversifying your network through volunteer opportunities can help you stand out from the crowd.  

Celebrating the unsung heroes - our volunteers

“Workopolis is encouraging Canadians from coast to coast to give the people helping out behind the scenes at the 2010 Winter Games a virtual standing ovation today,” says Bouchard.  “Too often the efforts of volunteers in our society go unnoticed. It’s important for organizations to recognize the volunteer efforts of their employees - whether they are participating in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this or volunteering their time at a local not-for-profit organization.”   

For more tips on what employers can do to recognize their employees’ volunteer efforts, and to read about the best practices VANOC utilized to help recruit their volunteer workforce, please visit,

www.volunteer.workopolis.com.

Headquartered in Toronto, Workopolis has offices in eight Canadian cities.  Workopolis is a partnership of Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. and Gesca Ltd., the newspaper publishing subsidiary of Power Corporation of Canada.

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010.  The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010.  Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.

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