The Best Way to Train 3000 Volunteers

February 09, 2009 | Pat Kelly
The Best Way to Train 3000 Volunteers

A few months ago we announced that the Special Olympics World Winter Games was our first recipient of a non-profit grant to use Brainshark in their communications. They chose to use Brainshark to orient over 3000 volunteers to the ethos of volunteering at the games and the process of becoming a volunteer. Click Here to see the Brainshark we helped them produce and was viewed by thousands of volunteers.

Today was the first day of competion of the Games here in Boise, Idaho. Audrey Polce, the CSC who worked with the Special Olympics Volunteer Services on the presentation mentioned above, and I are fortunate enough to be here for the Games. We spent the morning with Doug Brown from Volunteer Services. After picking up our credentials we had breakfast and then went to the Qwest Arena to watch the compulsory figure skating competition. The skaters were magnificent. What they lack in skill they make up for in courage, enthusiasm and effort.

We then moved over to the Festival in Boise Center where the Olympic Cauldron is located.

 

We said hello to Scott Hamilton who had marched the night before with the Bosnia Delegation.

We then went to our assigned volunteer posts at the Floor Hockey competition at Expo Idaho. The Floor Hockey competition has the most participants of any single event. Our volunteer job was to escort the team to the correct court for their games. We carried signs to bring them to one of the seven courts. This was a great assignment. It gave us a chance to encounter several teams and countries and have our day and lives touched by these competitors. We escorted teams from the USA, Korea, Malaysia, Germany, Honduras and Austria.

Takeaway of the day...

The first takeway is from the volunteers. They are without question the most flexible, pleasant, giving 3000 people I have ever seen. Doug introduced us to an executive with the Games who said that he had received feedback from Olympic Athletes in attendance that had made the same observation. He continued that the orientation presentation set the tone for the volunteers. It gave them the understanding of what volunteering at the Special Olympics means.

The second takeaway is a gift from the athletes.
In the process of escorting teams to and from their games I was touched by the sportsmanship of these competitors. They play to win, but never forget to care about a fallen competitor and never once passed another team from another country without extending a hand and wishing each other well.
other well.

They fully compete, they fully support and they fully enjoy the competition and the comraderie of nations. There is a lesson to be learned there that was not wasted on us.

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