I have worked as a volunteer at the last three Road World Cycling Championships making lots of new friends and much enjoying the experience. I volunteered this year for Mendrisio, offering, as requested, to work once again in Accreditations where my prior experience, multiple languages and knowledge of the cycling world was deemed to be a big advantage.
Having applied, I received confirmation of my application and then an email in mid-May advising that I would know my role by the end of July. I’m in regular contact with a number of those that I met last year in Varese, 10km down the road from Mendrisio, and they told me at the end of June that they would once again be working in Accreditations. Prior experience being much sought after. When I still hadn’t heard anything in early August, I sent a gentle and politely worded reminder to one of the organizers. I heard nothing.
Meanwhile, one of my German friends Ute, a veteran of volunteering, heard that her services would not be required. Having already booked her vacation, paid for her travel and accommodation, she successfully threw herself on the mercy of the organizing committee, who relented and gave her a job on the Press Centre Welcome Desk. She advised me to do the same. I did, but was advised that the Committee had made an executive decision not to take any volunteers from outside the region.
To some extent, I can sympathise and understand. They already had plenty of volunteers with prior experience on their doorstep. Looking again at their mid-May email, I see all the addressees were from outside the area, so why not let us know early on, not 6-weeks before the start? Who knows? Anyway, today I received official confirmation that I would not be required in a letter addressed to “Signor Sheree”. Shows how much notice they took of
my application! To soften the blow they sent me a pin which would grant me free transport on the regional buses during the Championships. I shall of course still go and, to be honest, am now looking forward to having time to catch up with all the people I know who will be attending and, more importantly, having both the time and the opportunity to ride the course.
Of course, this has not dented my enthusiasm for volunteering. Indeed, I have already pre-registered as a volunteer for Melbourne 2010.