When I initially applied to be a Winter Games volunteer years ago the process was done via snail mail. Receiving information and updates from the organizing committee was a slow process. If I had timely questions I would have to make long-distance calls and be mindful of the time of day. Reflecting on the old process made me think about the effects Web tools have had on my volunteer experience this time around. I was able to submit my application online for the 2010 Games. I received my acceptance letter in the form of an e-mail. As an official worker, I was given a Web account on the VANOC site for use to access my training schedule, work schedule, receive instant updates, view FAQs and correspond with my supervisor.
I became a fan of the facebook page for Winter Games volunteers and I have met many wonderful people. Everyone eagerly swaps information and tips with one another about assignments, housing, etc. Those who have already arrived in Vancouver are passing along their firsthand knowledge through wall postings. Because of facebook, I can easily communicate in advance with fellow volunteers from all over the world at any time.
My friend Patrick, the tech genius, added a new App on my phone called WOW, which as soon as the Games officially launch will connect me to real-time Olympic news, weather conditions, medal count, events of the day and more. VANOC created a comprehensive and interactive Winter Games website for everyone loaded with video clips, game schedules, results, sports factoids, athlete’s bios and more. You no longer have to wait for the Games to start and follow TV coverage to find out what’s happening. The VANOC website provides you with basically an all-access pass, giving you a broader insider perspective of the process before, during and after the Games. All of these Web tools are a great addition!