Monday, 31 December 2012

The London 2012 Games.... Part 3

The London 2012 Games.... Part 3

The third and final installment of KUSU Volunteer Sara Ann Hope's Olympic diary.


Getting to meet a hero: Sara with comedian and 2012 Games champion Eddie Izzard
Sunday August 12th, Shift 11: 8am – 12.30pm
This has just become the best day of my entire life. I haven’t lived my whole life yet, but I doubt it will get better than this… I just met Eddie Izzard! Eddie Izzard, who I have idolised since the age of twelve, just came into my office and thanked us all for what we’ve done. He is the very reason I volunteered in the first place and there he was, shaking my hand.

I still can’t believe this has been real. It doesn’t get much better than this.

So, there you have it. London 2012 from the perspective of someone who lived it.

Yes, we had reservations – people weren’t sure it would work, or it would cost too much, or we wouldn’t win anything. But when it came down to it, we delivered!

I saw so much enthusiasm and happiness in those two weeks, and all in a city that is famed for its rejection of social interaction unless absolutely necessary.

The world came to tea this summer, and boy were we ready for it! I can honestly say this is the best thing I have ever done… amazing to think when I only applied because my mother told me to.

So London 2012 was such a success I’m planning to volunteer at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. And all this from someone who is scared of sport like most people are scared of spiders.

Who’d have thought it?


Monday, 24 December 2012

The London 2012 Games... Part 2

The London 2012 Games... Part 2

It's time for the second installment of Sara Ann Hope's 2012 Games diary (missed the first part? Scroll down to read it!)

Friday August 3rd, Shift 5: 6am – 2.30pm
Amy lost the key to the cupboard full of keys this morning. It was like searching for a needle in a stack of needles, only less… pointy.
Got sent home sick from shift today which wasn’t very fun but on the plus side did get to watch a commentator try to talk about a volleyball game between Germany and Germany. He resorted to saying ‘brown-haired Germans’ and ‘blonde Germans’ just to differentiate.
This is seriously one of the weirdest jobs I’ve ever had- and I’ve worked with small children.

Saturday August 4th, Shift 6: 2pm – 11pm
Checking the Volley Ball Stadium doesn't blow away!
 Left monitoring two venues again today as we have the Men’s Race Walk on The Mall. Race Walk – the only race you can win by acting like a duck. It was extremely distracting trying not to laugh.

Today I learnt how to calculate wind speeds so that the volleyball court doesn’t blow away. It may seem silly but as it’s only a temporary venue we have to be careful it doesn’t get too bad and do a ‘Wizard of Oz’. Shame about it being temporary but I kind of see the point – the Prime Minister probably wants his garden back.

Amy found an incident in today’s log noting injured wildlife found at another venue - A pigeon named Harold sadly passed away at 11.45am. He clearly lived long enough to be named though so it’s not totally depressing news. Like I said, weirdest job ever.

I wish you could have seen the VCC’s (venue Control Centre's) reaction to Ennis and Farrah winning their races. The place went mental!! Naturally we had cake and chocolate to celebrate. Very pleased I got to share the moment with other people and not just alone in my flat.

Sunday August 5th, Shift 7: 5pm – 1am
Shift off to a great start as I set off all the metal detectors and have to be frisked by one of the soldiers. Forgot to remove my belt buckle like a complete fool – still at least it shows our security teams are on the ball.

Only four shifts left now! Can’t believe it’s all going so quickly.

Bit of excitement in the VCC tonight as we are all put on blue alert after a bomb scare. Some idiot from the newspaper grabbed his bag as it was going through the X-ray machine and ran off into the night pursued by several burly policemen. He didn’t get away with it for long and we all cheered as we saw him get frogmarched back to the checkpoint on the CCTV.
Nothing malicious to report, but still quite exciting behind the scenes here. Made even better by the fact that no one except us knew what happened – We are just THAT good at our jobs, haha.

Modelling the Games Maker uniform waterproof!
Tuesday August 7th, Shift 8: 1pm – 9pm
Prince Harry was in the house tonight – though I suppose it was to be expected as we are kind of working in his granny’s back garden.
Also had David Beckham, with three cute little boys in tow- as opposed to Harry’s decidedly un-cute and frankly rather terrifying army of body guards.

Wednesday August 8th, Shift 9: 4.30pm – 11.30pm
MIKA performed today and as the only one in the VCC who knew who he was I was the only one singing along. Not even going to pretend to be embarrassed because I GOT TO WATCH MIKA!!

Tea was a cheese and appleslaw sandwich. Who is doing our catering, Heston Blumenthal?

Saturday August 11th, Shift 10: 1.30pm – 8.30pm
Clare Balding replied to my tweet today inviting me along to Greenwich Park to say thank you for my work. She’s invited loads of the GMs to say thanks live on air which would be totally amazing. That and of course I’d get to meet Clare Balding who is fantastic, win/win.
Yet more sweets and ice cream today – think once I’ve finished I’ll go into immediate sugar withdrawal.

Just the Women’s Race Walk and Men’s Marathon to go… I don’t want to go back to reality!

Come back for the thirds and final installment of Sara's Olympics Adventures next week- same time, same place!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Blast from the Past: The London 2012 Games.... part 1.

The London 2012 Games.... part 1.

December: it’s cold and gloomy outside. It seems a long time since the sunshine and excitement of the London 2012 Games, doesn't it? Well, the legacy’s certainly not over- lots of people who enjoyed volunteering then have kept it up.

Regular blog readers might already know Sara, who’s an enthusiastic volunteer and received the KUSU Volunteering's ‘Best Newcomer’award last year. Well, over the summer she volunteered as a Games Maker with the 2012 Games. Her report’s so exciting we couldn’t ask her to cut it down to just one blog post, so it will appear in three parts over the coming weeks...

Sara with the Olympic Torch
London 2012 – My Olympic Games- Sara Ann Hope Part 1

I don’t know whether any of you noticed some stuff that went down in London over the summer, you know, a little something called THE OLYMPICS!
I jest of course. You can’t have been in the country over those months without being bombarded with Olympic fever. For most people, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that they’ll tell their kids about for years to come.
And where was I you ask? Well… I was there!
I was chosen along with seventy thousand other volunteers to be part of the Games Maker team, helping to make London 2012 happen. You may have seen us running around in our very stylish purple shirts, (made from recycled plastic bottles in case you didn’t know.)
I was a Data Loggist based at Horse Guard’s Parade and The Mall (right in the centre of things, near Buckingham Palace) for the full two weeks of the games, and here’s a bit of what I got up to…

Saturday July 28th, Shift 1: 3pm – 1am
17.45pm – First shift going well. I have “wisely” been left in charge of both venue logs, since the previous Loggist went off shift just after five.
Cavendish abysmal in the road cycling and the female fencers didn’t even make the semi’s! On the upside the rowers were both quite successful... and attractive.
Not quite sure what my job here actually is… is this bad?

01.00am – First shift over. Tired but happy, going home on the tube. Still not sure what my job is but I seemed to do it quite well so I’m counting that as a win. Spent a lot of time staring blankly at the monitors as people refused to do anything unsafe for me to write down… so selfish!

Sunday July 29th, Shift 2: 3pm – 1am
16.00 pm – Marginally more successful start to today, as I now know what my job actually is… I think. Also, I brought both a book and a phone today so I plan to spend the frequent hours when everything is running smoothly reading about feminism and playing angry birds.

20.00pm – It’s apparently a good thing that I have nothing to write down – means the venue is operating at peak performance. So much so in fact, I just got to go into the stadium and watch some Beach Volleyball! It was possibly the weirdest sporting event I’ve ever seen. The crowd did a giant Mexican wave and formed a conga. Every so often people jumped onto the sand and we all had to dance the Macarena. MAD! I loved it though, made me feel very patriotic… despite the fact that I’m British and the match I was watching was Netherlands vs Spain.
Beach Volleyball in action

Went back to the venue control centre to find a lot of cake lying around for us to eat. I do enjoy the night shift.

02.00am – So tired! Walked home past the Ritz hotel today and the doorman waved at me. It’s amazing how friendly everyone is when they see you in uniform – a man yesterday with a brilliant moustache stopped me in TESCO and commended me on doing a fantastic job. It’s made London a much happier place to live!

Also, TEAM GB’s FIRST MEDAL WAS WON AT MY VENUE!!! Alright, so it wasn’t me who won it but I’m smiling like it was…  the atmosphere’s pretty electric here at Venue Control.

Tuesday July 31st, Shift 3 – 5.30am – 3.30pm
10.00am – Not off to best start as I missed the last night bus and didn’t make it in until 6am. Didn’t actually matter in the end as the office I work in doesn’t open until half past and they only wanted me in this early to give me breakfast… No, I’m not quite sure why that’s necessary either, but it was lush so I don’t think I have a right to complain.

Talked to two people today – very enthusiastic lady at the bus stop, and a nice old chap on the tube (also a GM.) If we succeed at nothing else with these games they’ve certainly got London talking!

Wednesday August 1st, Shift 4 – 3pm – 1am
 GB medals still pouring in, brilliant! Also met the third Loggist, called Dick, today. Lovely man – very organised.

Venue control filled with sweets again. Is it obvious the games are sponsored by Cadbury’s? Though to be fair if I get fed another Nature Valley bar by catering I may scream.
We’re out of the volleyball by now and it’s a little disheartening being surrounded by about fifteen screens all showing your team losing. The CCTV does sometimes come in handy though – last night I saw three men dressed as dinosaurs coming out of the venue. And tonight one drunk guy tried to put his coat on and accidentally punched his mate in the face. It’s the little things that make the job worthwhile!


The next installment of Sara's Olympic Diary will be out at the same time next week!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Switching on the Kingston Xmas Lights!

Natalie and Helena - 2 KUSU Volunteers!
Hello my fellow Kingstonians!! I’m Helena, a 2nd year Law (LLB) student currently studying at Kingston University. I recently volunteered at the 'Kingston Christmas Lights Switch-On' which took place on 15th November 2012. It was promoted by KUSU Volunteering and organised by Kingston First. Approximately 50,000 people gathered in Kingston town centre to experience the beginning of the festive season. I decided to volunteer for this event since I am a part of Kingston, and wanted to be more involved with the community and also obviously represent Kingston University too!

Stilt ladies!
There were many activities and responsibilities that I was assigned to do, for example set up signs around Kingston for the event, give out leaflets to everyone in the town centre, set up the radio headsets for everyone and assist the general public if they had any issues or needed help with directions. I also got to escort the skating Christmas pudding, roving stars, and skating angels around town which was really exciting! The children loved these attractions and took lots of pictures all evening. The buzz started when Radio Jackie started blasting music in Kingston town centre and the crowd cheered for almost four hours non-stop! 

My favourite moment of the day was obviously the 'switching on of the lights' at 6pm. The lights were turned on by various people, including actors from the Rose Theatre dressed up as Prince Charming, Cinderella and Santa Claus, and also by several volunteers, including myself!

The Christmas market was also open with food and hot drinks for everyone; it was lovely to see families having a really good time. I also really enjoyed helping out with the children activities as the response they all gave was amazing and made my day :)

The event was fantastic; there was always something to take part in or get involved with and it was definitely seven hours productively spent! I also had the chance to meet other volunteers from Kingston University which was great.

I believe that volunteering is rewarding and if you love to help out - then go for it! Every volunteering experience is different and can leave you with various skills and experiences that will stay with you for life. 

In the future I will definitely take part in more One-Off Volunteering opportunities, and now that I love volunteering I might get started on a Student-Led Volunteering project too!

So get volunteering!! Good Luck!
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