diamond geezer

 Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Olympics won't just run themselves, you know. Seventy thousand unpaid volunteers are required to turn up and smooth the wheels of the greatest show on earth, otherwise the tickets won't get checked, the litter won't get collected, and the spectators will get lost. Are you game enough, or mug enough? You decide.

Games Maker FAQ

1) I'm really passionate about the Games. I'm inspirational, open, respectful, team-focused and distinctive. My friends all say I have a can-do attitude. I speak Mandarin and Slovakian, and I'm fluent in sign language. I also have an HGV licence and am fully first-aid trained. But I live in Aberdeen. You want me, don't you?
Absolutely. You embody all the brand values of the London 2012 games (values shared, incidentally, by our sponsorfriends at McDonalds, the grilled pattie people). We so want people like you to sign up and help us as Games Makers. But you live in Aberdeen, so unless you can find the money to travel down south and then somewhere to stay for ten nights, you're stuffed, sorry.

2) I'm a 15-year old convicted criminal and racist homophobe who failed their last police check. Can I sign up?
No, for so many reasons. And don't even think of applying under an assumed name, because we're going to vet you so hard.

3) Ooh, I'd love to volunteer for the Games. I'm free on Wednesday afternoons, what can you offer me?
Sorry, but when you sign up to the 2012 chain gang we demand a serious commitment - at least ten days work, and at least eight hours a day. The Olympics only last for a fortnight, so working for ten days might sound tough. But we'll also need some of you beforehand during the "preparations period", to tie balloons to East End lampposts and to cover over unacceptable brand names at the Wembley Arena snack kiosks. And we'll need Games Makers during the "arrivals period" too, to welcome tourists at airport terminals and to tell them where the nearest McDonalds is. This ain't a part-time sideshow. Wednesday afternoons won't cut it.

4) I understand that you expect the Games Maker programme to be vastly over-subscribed. Would it help me to jump the queue if I told you I help out at an old people's home, volunteer at the local library and regularly organise five-a-side football tournaments for disabled orphans?
Yes, it would definitely help. If you're lucky, we might not even check that you're telling the truth.

5) I want to become a Games Maker, but Powerpoint presentations make me fall asleep. And whenever I hear a trainer using words like "working towards stakeholder engagement through shared goals" I want to vomit (and usually do).
Then you're going to love our pre-Games training. We require you to come along to an initial day of on-message indoctrination, a second day of safety-tedium and a third day of procedure-exposition, all before the real work starts. Don't worry, we'll provide the sick bucket on day 1 for free.

6) I saw your Games Maker advert on the tube, the one where I'm helping out trackside at the 100m finals and Usain Bolt calls me mate. That's the job I want, can you guarantee it for me?
In your dreams. In fact what we've got lined up for you is cleaning out the chemical toilets at the mountain biking.

7) I'm going to be walking around all day wearing a uniform with a McDonalds logo on it, aren't I?
Yes, we'll be forcing all of our Games Makers to sign up to LOCOG's official uniform policy. But don't worry, after the third day of people asking "Can I have fries with that?", you'll barely notice.

8) Is there an alternative Olympic volunteering programme sponsored by non-commercial groups rather than big business?
Sure there is. Boris has set up the London Ambassadors programme, which you can sign up to here. Six day blocks, five hour shifts, and a lot of helping tourists around town and being generally knowledgeable. Sounds like fun, potentially, and might have considerably more credibility. But it's not proper Olympic, so don't you dare.

9) How much are you paying Games Makers per hour?
We're not. This is volunteering. It might be unfamiliar to you, with your cosseted gimme gimme 21st century consumer lifestyle, but volunteering is what made Britain great. Spirit of 1948 and all that.

10) But I will get free meals, won't I?
Absolutely. There'll be restaurants run by our Tier One catering sponsor at all Olympic venues. So we'll be giving you a book of vouchers which you can redeem at McDonalds, every day for ten days. Don't worry, all our uniforms come with an elasticated waistband.

11) Games Makers must get free tickets for an Olympic sporting event as a pay-off, surely, at the very least?
Sorry, no tickets, not even for the back row of the qualifying rounds of the Paralympic volleyball. But you can always go along and cheer the marathon for nothing, unless we've got you tied up on shift that afternoon doing something less interesting like mopping the floor in the North Greenwich Arena changing rooms.

12) No, but come on, there must be some physical reward for all this?
Yes, of course there's a freebie to say thank you. We're allowing all our Games Makers to keep their Golden-Arched uniforms as a souvenir, how exciting is that? Those costumes will be totally useless to us afterwards, and they'll probably need washing to get the ketchup stains out, so we don't want them back. But the main reward is pride. Pride that you took part, pride that you made it happen, pride that Britain couldn't have afforded to run a successful Games without you. Hey, what's stopping you from signing up right now?

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