Edition number 36; dateline 2 March 2012
The Games Maker journey
“You are very special, you are Games Maker for London 2012,″ was the cry. “You are the best, having been chosen from 250,000 people,” quickly followed by: “We can’t do it without you.” I was, apparently, honoured to be attending the Games Maker (volunteer to you and me) initial ‘training’ a couple of weeks ago and the quotes above were some of the messages. Hmm. I can’t make my mind up whether they (whoever ‘they’ are) truly believe this message or whether they feel they need to bull us up.
The words are not completely matching the actions at the moment. Apparently they value us beyond belief but they wouldn’t buy us a cuppa during the break at this compulsory training; we had to buy our own. We did get chocolate though, care of the Official Snack Provider, Cadburys, but that doesn’t really match the other message they had for us: “You need to keep yourself healthy.”
I was told that I had to attend all training when I signed up to this process as it would be vital for me fulfil my role at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Committed to what I have agreed to, despite receiving no information about parking, which I had asked for a week ago, I sorted myself out and planned my trip to Wembley for this first step. Other than getting up in the middle of the night (which some of the others did), I couldn’t get to Wembley by the allocated time, 8.30am on public transport so I booked a hotel (£41) and a car parking space (£14), the most cost-effective option for me as I was working in Kettering the day before so driving home to set back off to London seemed a little silly.
After driving through a snow storm the night before and on dodgy roads on the morning of my allotted session, I arrived at Wembley Arena just before 9am, late I thought, but no. Apparently there was some small print that said they wouldn’t actually start until 10am – I could have caught the train after all! They did provide free coffee owing to the inclement weather before the session started but didn’t announce this, so only a relatively few received the benefit. Still, this training was vital. It would give us lots of information that would help us so I settled down to learn.
We were given a workforce handbook on arrival and this document does have lots of useful information but to be honest it was the only useful stuff we received all morning. Oh, it was entertaining. Eddie Izzard was there and he was very genuine and funny. Jonathan Edwards hosted lots of guests who were entertaining but as a fellow volunteer commented while we waited in the inevitable queue for the toilets: “They could have sent us the file in the post, put the rest on the website and saved us the trouble.” I am not sure listening to the woman who is tasked with running McDonalds at the Olympic Park added to my experience, lovely as she appeared to be.
It is likely to cost me over £500 in expenses to volunteer at London 2012 and a minimum of £3,500 in lost earnings. I knew this when I signed up, so no complaints there. However, I do expect a little support and at the moment I still feel like LOCOG think they are doing me a favour. Surely it isn’t too much to ask that someone replies to an email about parking? A mass email was finally sent out the night before the event saying parking would be expensive so go on public transport (helpful when you live in the north midlands). And, surely it isn’t too much to give me a cup of coffee. Surely it isn’t too much to ensure that when you are asking me to give up my time you don’t waste it with fluff. Surely it isn’t too much to tell me when the other ‘vital’ training sessions will be so that I can block them out in my diary. And surely it isn’t too much to tell me when you want me this summer so that I can attempt to book accommodation before it is all sold out?I am committed to the Olympic Games, I am excited about being involved even though I am still not sure exactly what I will be doing and I am inspired by my fellow volunteers. I will give my all this summer but come on, LOCOG, credit me with some intelligence and support me, especially when I am paying for it.
Kay Adkins is an executive board member of a county sport partnership, chair of a CSN and a member of the interim board of the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure. Kay is also managing director of KAM Ltd, which offers a range of support services in the sport and leisure industry working in volunteer/workforce development and facility development.
To find Tales from a Tub in previous issues please visit the Comment page.
Tales from a tub
the last word in contemplative comment on the leisure industry
Kay Adkins, hot tub correspondent