What would you think a commitment is for volunteering at the 2010 Olympic Games?

How it all started

In January of 2001 a small article appeared in the Pique News Magazine, it read come to the inaugural ribbon cutting at the library in Whistler and be one of the first volunteers for the 2010 Olympic bid… So I went not because I was an Olympic fan, but because the best way to make an educated decision about anything is to have the facts… or at least start asking the right questions. I was the only volunteer present that day. Which officially makes me the first volunteer for the 2010 Olympic Games!

The years that followed

While the bid process would take two years it was a time for listening and sharing as much information as possible about the Olympics and what it would mean to Whistler. When the process started it was actually the Vancouver/Whistler Games….Never had the Olympic Games allowed two bid cities under one umbrella. The first year was very slow at our small office located in a trailer near the library; surprisingly not many locals wanted any information. The organizing committee for the 2010 games (VANOC)  decided that they should try to engage the community through Fireside Chats… attendance was still low, but we continued the process serving food & drinks while running contests related to venues, sport, and of course Olympic trivia.

The year 2002

The opening of our donated “Information Center” located close to my office meant I could continue volunteering or running over to cover someones lunch hour while holding down my real job. The center was a busy spot located next to the Brewhouse… We still laugh today about the fact people thought we were an information center for Whistler and that we would have running water, which would mean a toilet… we had neither, bare bones. What we did have was a lot of fun!

All those wonderful mothers

On Tuesdays in Whistler the medical clinic has a gathering in the morning with mothers and their new babies, as I had just had my first little girl Tashi I too attended – that is where I got the idea to invite the moms to volunteer with their babies… it got everyone out of the house and who doesn’t love a new baby…It worked fabulously and we all became really good friends… I believe this was a small part of the bid process which might have been overlooked, all those Whistler mothers dedication to the bid office before we won the rights to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games… Thank you to all the mothers who gave of their afternoons.. Bid Offices hours 11am – 5pm

July 02, 2003                     http://bit.ly/aEg4PV             

This was the decision day on the other side of the world in Prague… and the winner is Vancouver!!!! We won – it was amazing – we won…

I was on the stage located in the middle of Village Square…. Oh my gosh we won? It really didn’t seem real… But it certainly was. That is when the ball got rolling…. pins, stickers story boards were made the world was coming and Whistler was going to tell every tourist in town between July 02, 2003 and February 12, 2010 that our doors will be open and come back for the games… recruitment began for more volunteers, office hours increased… and the snow kept falling…and all us volunteers would shovel it off the decks at the bid office so tourist could come in the doors or take a picture on our homemade podium thanks to parks and recreation Whistler..

As things progressed the red tape began.. security checks, official venue materials, and slowly but surely it became more official each month….That this thing called the “Olympics” was a well oiled machine that no one could stop…. people were now being hired, the logo was created and then two years out the Mascots appeared..

That is when I changed my place from volunteer hostess to Mascot extraordinaire 


It has been a long journey to 2010, perhaps longer for the first pioneers, but for me thousands of volunteer hours and nine years of anticipation. VANOC has treated me very well, shirts, coats, an actual bid book, and invitations to attend many events and parties… Every summer we would have a volunteer appreciation party, every holiday an Olympic cake, every year an Olympic countdown…Oh and those holla hoops…

Volunteer Vancouver’s 17th Annual Volunteer Recognition Awards

One year I accepted on behave of all 2010 volunteers an award in Vancouver for Spirit Vancouver local volunteerism…I have been on Global television many times, spoken at special function…. but the biggest and most rewarding experience has been the past two weeks…. My daughter Tashi and I enjoying the games together.. Tashi is an Olympic child as are all those other babies born in Whistler around 2001/2002….I believe the 2010 Games means something very special to all of them… because their parents have been involved….We are still volunteering and I can honestly say it has been well worth every minute…

Stay tuned for part two – the past 17 days of volunteering for the 2010 Olympics! Don’t forget to give me your opinion via my comment section below….

Cheers!     [tweetmeme source=whistlerheather only_single=false]

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