People power: YOG volunteers “a part of history”
As the world celebrates International Volunteer Day on 5 December, we speak to one of the incredible volunteers who helped make the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018 such a great success.
No edition of the Olympic Games would be possible without the tireless efforts of thousands of volunteers – and the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 were no exception. More than 8,000 local and international volunteers were recruited to help the YOG run smoothly, working in a wide range of essential roles such as spectator assistance, translation services, media relations and sports competition support.
Among those to give up their time to contribute to the success of the YOG was 18-year-old Joaquin Bustos – a Buenos Aires native who was volunteering at the sailing venue. Here, he shares his experiences from the Games…
Why did you want to become a volunteer at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018?
I wanted to gain some experience and see how major international events such as this are organised and managed. It’s a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Olympic Games.
How did you feel when you found out you had been chosen as a volunteer?
I was pretty shocked at first, and a little bit nervous. I didn’t know what I would be doing; but after we had some training I became really excited and couldn’t wait for the Games to begin.
What was the experience like for you?
It was such a fun time. I thought it would be really hard work, but it was like being at a picnic with friends! None of the volunteers in our team knew each other before the Games, but we all became good friends very quickly. It was a great experience.
What were some of the highlights for you?
One day, I got the chance to go out on one of the support boats, and I was able to really see the sailors in action. It was incredible to watch them up close, and being on the boat was lots of fun. It was also very cool to see people from lots of different countries; you could talk to them and it was very interesting. I met a volunteer who had come all the way from Canada to be part of the Games, and an athlete from the Dominican Republic, who was very friendly.
What did you learn from your volunteering experience?
I tried to learn from as many departments as possible, helping wherever I could so that I could get broad experience. I think volunteering at the YOG will help me in the future if I ever have to work with large groups of people, or organising a big event. I feel like I could definitely work in a massive company, or at another major event again.
How will you reflect on your YOG experience?
I hoped the Games would never end. The fact that I can say I was part of the YOG, and helped make the Games happen, fills me with pride. However small my role, I was a part of history.