“I feel like a host here. I have to answer any strange questions from the guests, I have to help everyone and cheer up. We say ‘high five to the volunteer’, we talk about the festival, we show the way. Yesterday, after the opening, an athlete got lost, lagged behind the delegation “But she doesn’t speak Russian. I look, there is sadness in her eyes. I asked in English, calmed down, gave him compote to drink, handed it over to the escorts,” she told RG.
The main thing that Olga likes about volunteering is the opportunity to communicate with young people. “Yesterday, a sophomore was paired with me, she is 18 years old, and the day before yesterday, in general, a 16-year-old girl. I did not know how to talk to this grandmother. But ten minutes – and everything is fine!” – smiles the silver volunteer.
Arina Gnidenko – volunteer headquarters in Yekaterinburg-EXPO. She volunteered for the first time in 2018 at the soccer championship, and now she has decided to repeat the successful experience. “Here I manage the volunteers, I am at the headquarters. In my team there are guys from the age of 14, I am the oldest, I am 21. All the volunteers of the facility go through us, mark the arrival time – departure time I forgot something, I lost the team leader – any questions “We are working very intensively. Yesterday, at the opening ceremony, we felt the magnitude of the event. We looked at the number of people in the room – we got goosebumps. There is even more motivation to work!” – shares Arina.
“Currently, we have about 2,200 volunteers, they are from different regions of Russia and even from different countries. The youngest sports volunteers are 12 years old, the oldest is 79. People came from Moscow, Krasnoyarsk, Arkhangelsk, Yaroslavl, Vladivostok, from Many from Yekaterinburg, Victoria Rominskaya, deputy head of the department for working with festival volunteers, told RG: “There are representatives from Ghana, Egypt, Kazakhstan; these are mainly students studying at Russian universities. Lots of silver volunteers, older people. They actively help, are very involved, really help a lot and create a brilliant festive atmosphere.”
According to Victoria, the situation where guests and volunteers are approximately equal is quite common. In Kazan, at the Universiade, there were more volunteer attendees than participants.
There are many “volunteer professions”: transport volunteers, attachés accompanying delegations, sports volunteers helping at competitions, there are also language service volunteers and many more roles and affairs for these cheerful and caring people. All of them were trained in various stages: face-to-face, absentee and on-site. Obviously, they don’t charge. They hand out a set of uniforms, feed them with hot meals and dry rations, depending on the hours of work, settle in a hostel, but not on the territory of the Sports Village. They have rules: you can’t swear, you can’t smoke in uniform, you can’t… say “I don’t know.” “If a volunteer doesn’t know something, he quickly tries to find information, he says: ‘Wait, I’ll try to help you.’ Otherwise, he’s not like a volunteer,” explains Viktoria Rominskaya.