On 5 December, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) joins the international community in celebrating International Volunteer Day. Volunteerism is the very foundation, and also one of the core values of the Olympic Movement. The development of sport, and indeed the very organisation of the Olympic Games and the celebration of all other sports events, big and small, would not be possible without the participation, dedication and commitment of volunteers.
For each edition of the Games, there are thousands of people, of all ages, cultures and origins, all inspired by the same will to assume their responsibilities and serve with distinction, sharing the same emotions and passion for sport and its ideals of excellence, respect and friendship. “Volunteers are true Olympians. They transmit the true spirit of the Olympic Games”, said IOC President Jacques Rogge, underscoring the role and impact of those whom he also praised as the unsung heroes behind the successful organisation of every Olympic Games.
“As a long-serving volunteer myself, I know that being a volunteer is a life-enriching and fulfilling experience, and a wonderful human adventure. Like the athletes, all volunteers who serve the Olympic Movement are also ‘champions’ in their own right at community, neighbourhood and family levels.”
A large part of the success of the Games is thus attributable to each one of these selfless people. There were more than 71,000 of them at the London Olympic Games last summer and the Winter Youth Olympic Games in January, all making the Games happen.
Finally, to summarise this essential force which are the volunteers, a quote from a volunteer at the 1996 Atlanta Games: “You become a volunteer not for what you get out of it, but for what you become by doing it.”
International Volunteer Day (IVD) was established by the United Nations in 1985. It takes place on 5 December every year and is now celebrated worldwide with thousands of volunteers involved in events, celebrations and ceremonies aimed at highlighting the role of volunteers in their communities. The main focus of IVD 2012 is awareness of and recognition for volunteers and volunteer organisations. For more info : http://www.unv.org/what-we-do/intl-volunteer-day/ and http://volunteeractioncounts.org/en/