Monday, July 16, 2012

#2012cymruwales - Richard Dando, Games Maker

London 2012 is on its marks with less than two weeks to go until the Opening Ceremony kicks off. We've been hearing from Sport Wales staff who are joining the thousands of volunteers who'll be keeping the Games ticking behind the scenes. Here we hear from Senior Officer, Richard Dando who has been chosen as a Games Maker official with the Event Services team based at the Olympic Stadium.  

My journey as a London 2012 Games Maker started back in the summer of 2010 when I completed the online application form in the hope of being one of the 70,000 volunteers needed to help London stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I do a bit of volunteering for my local athletics club and have helped out at various sporting events but saw this as a chance to further practice what I preach in the day job.

In February 2011 I responded to a request from the nWelsh Government’s Nations and Regions team to interview the local Selection Event Volunteers (SEV’s) needed in Cardiff, who themselves would then interview potential Gamesmakers. I then volunteered to become an SEV myself and in June 2011 carried out a number of shifts at the Coal Exchange, Cardiff which was the dedicated Gamesmaker Selection Event for Wales. 

I found interviewing SEV’s and Gamesmakers very humbling; as I listened to people from all walks of life tell me their amazing volunteer experiences, passions and reasons for wanting to volunteer at the Games.  I managed to squeeze my Gamesmaker interview in at the same time and finished that fortnight inspired and glad I had put my name in the hat.

At the end of each Gamesmaker interview I had to tell the candidate that they could expect to find out between November 2011 and April 2012 as interviewing over 100,000 people was going to take a long time. Come March 2012, I still hadn’t heard anything and started to question my own advice about waiting until April!

Had they lost my interview? Or didn’t I have the skills necessary to volunteer?! It was mid April when I got an email confirmation that I would be part of the Event Services team based at the Olympic Stadium. That didn’t sound too bad to me!

I have subsequently made several trips to London to collect my Gamesmaker kit, attend ‘role specific’ training at Hackney Community College and more recently ‘venue specific’ training at the Olympic Stadium, which included a sneaky tour around!

So what will my role be?  The Events Service team have been called the ‘unofficial face of the Games’ and will be involved in front of house activities like ticket scanning, accreditation checking, queue management and showing spectators to their seats.  My first shift is Monday 23rd July which is the first public practice session of the opening ceremony and then I’m there for the opening ceremony on 27th July and 6 nights of athletics, which includes the showpiece 100m final!

It may not be the most glamorous of roles and I may have to say ‘This way please’ or ‘can I see your tickets please’ many times, but I’ll make sure I do it with a smile on my face knowing that my small role in the world’s biggest sporting event may inspire more people to participate in more sport and physical activity or to try it for the first time.

Watch this space for a day in the life of an Event Services Gamesmaker at the Olympic Stadium during games time.

Keep track of all our Welsh athletes at London 2012 and follow @sport_wales on Twitter for all the latest news. Remember to use the #2012cymruwales hash tag!