Page 81

had fun together on every occasion. The opportunity to see the competitions at the various venues is something I will remember for a long time. My only wish is that more Americans will realize the importance of contributing with their time and expertise at similar events. Small things made a huge difference, such as an encouraging word or a nod to a volunteer or athlete, and that made this experience worth it – whatever it costs.” (Male, b. 1949, USA)

Another reviewed the Youth Olympic Games as his best time as a volunteer, and others emphasised that they felt that these Games were not just for the athletes but also as much for the volunteers, and that it was fantastic (Male, b. 1987, ­Malaysia). The event was praised, and the volunteer spirit was amazing. An Egyptian volunteer we interviewed (Male, 31 years) said that “volunteering is not just about giving, giving, giving, but also about receiving. It gave value to my personal life.” He saw the fact that it was going to be cold as an added value. Most of the foreigners lived in Kringsjåhallen or Tennishallen during the Youth Olympic Games, and most of them complained about this. A woman from Germany (b. 1993) referred to the shelter as a house of horror. According to her, it had only two toilets and two wash basins for a hundred people. She claimed that “there were a total of 200 who lived in this gym without windows.” Another woman from Russia (b. 1986) wrote this comment: I’ve been a volunteer at many different events. Simultaneously, I have a high position in an international sports organisation. Here in Lillehammer, I realised that I’m not ready to spend my leisure time being a volunteer and stay in such a terrible shelter with poorly organised services for the volunteers. It’s not my thing anymore.

Many volunteers moved to other accommodation, and one person left Norway and went home. Their advice was that they should have tried to accommodate foreign volunteers in private families, and “it would’ve been nice to have had a locker for personal belongings” (Female, b. 1986, Russia) We asked how much it had cost them to volunteer during the Youth Olympic Games, i.e.travel and accommodation. 39 percent of the visiting foreigners ­answered this question. This is probably because it is difficult to gain an overview of the costs. The highest reported travel expense was NOK 20,900. They had to pay NOK 150 per night at Kringsjå and NTG. It was especially Kringsjå, where most of the international volunteers stayed, that was seen as being below acceptable standards with regard to the number of toilets and showers. Some hinted that the organisers should have paid the flight ticket or at least the ­accommodation. The cost of train tickets to Lillehammer was covered for the volunteers, but many did not know this. This was subsequently criticised. Those who stayed at NTG complained about the buses stopping at 6 pm and about the lack of streetlights in the area. Two of the interviewed volunteers had worked at the European Games in Baku in 2015. They expressed that it was more “relaxing” to be a volunteer than

International volunteering  

81

Profile for Norges idrettshøgskole

Report: Volunteering at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016  

Report: Volunteering at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016