Recreational athletes constituted the largest group of volunteers in all age groups. Nearly two in three, both among the youngest and the oldest, reported that they exercise regularly. Not surprisingly, there are more elite athletes in the youngest group compared to the other two. Volunteers in organised sport are often involved because of their own children (Enjolras & Seippel, 2001; Kristiansen, Skille & Hanstad, 2014). In the two oldest age groups in this study four out of 10 stated that they volunteer because of their own children or grandchildren. They often act as coaches or officials or take care of other tasks related to the children’s activities.
The volunteering experience One key reason for Norway to undertake the Youth Olympic Games was to recruit volunteers. Table 4 shows that this was a success. As shown in the total column of the table, one in four reported that the Youth Olympic Games was their first experience as a volunteer. Table 4: Volunteering experience among the volunteers at the Youth Olympic Games 2016. ≤ 29 years 30-50 years
≥ 51 years
This was my first experience as a volunteer I have some experience as a volunteer
% (n) 36.7 (307)
% (n) 17.5 (70)
% (n) 7.3 (34)
% (n) 24.1 (411)
I have volunteered many times before
100.0 (837) 100.0 (400) 100.0 (467) 100.0 (1.707)
There are major differences between the three age groups, both between the two youngest (≤29 years and 30–50 years) and the two oldest (30–50 years and ≥ 51 years). A fifth of those under 30 participated extensively in voluntary work, as did half of the volunteers between 30 and 50. Barely two-thirds of volunteers over 51 years of age had participated extensively prior to this event. There is also a significant difference between women and men when it comes to volunteering experience. Almost half (47.5%) of the men reported that they had participated extensively in volunteer work, while barely one third (32.6%) of the women said the same. If we look at age, the tendency is the same in all three age categories, i.e. several men and women reported having participated extensively in voluntary work prior to the event. The difference is only significant for the youngest (29 years old and younger) volunteers.
Volunteering at events As mentioned in the introduction, the LYOGOC was struggling to get enough volunteers until six months before the Games. They were particularly interested in recruiting volunteers with experience from events in the region. Table 5 shows that they were successful in doing so. Who are the volunteers?