The training starts on March 15 and continues up until the competitions. The classes promise to be anything but boring with lectures, trainings, and games being among the instruction forms.
“In the first section of the training, we learn about the history of the International Children’s Games. For the April-May practical classes, we have prepared something about each of the countries participating in the games, since the volunteers are supposed to know the guests’ traditions and customs to treat them accordingly. Game-based training will acquaint the volunteers with each other and help to build a team of soul-mates,” said Timur.
At the end of March, the volunteers will be lectured about Ufa, the region, and its sights: each one is supposed to know about the sights and be able to advise the tourists what they could visit in the capital city. This important mission was assigned to those of the volunteers who will be meeting the guests of the sports event. Volunteers will study the sites where the participants will compete to know the routes and be able to explain the guests how they can find places or accompany them to these places. In case of such necessity, the volunteer is supposed stay calm and answer any questions no matter how unexpected they might be.
“The requirements are not easy to meet: volunteers are supposed to be well-informed, be responsible, and preferably know foreign languages, because language training is not included in the preparations. From the very beginning, we gave preference to the applicants who know English. It is a lot easier to find someone able to understand an international guest and speak to them rather than to teach volunteers with English below elementary.”
Overall, there were as many as 600 applications (including 200 applications from the volunteers living in other cities). The organizers claim they built a team within two or three months. Leaders were identified among them to supervise the various aspects of the preparations.
“The volunteers are going to be instructed by speakers from various relevant fields. For examples, history classes will be taught by the teachers of Bashkir State Pedagogical University. We also attract teachers from the children’s and youth clubs and centers of the city. The history of the ICG will be taught by the organizers.
While volunteers are over 18, promotion events are organized by high school students. Senior citizens are also going to be a part of the volunteer cohort.
“One has to keep in mind that volunteers are the face of the event, the city, and organizers. Even though their contribution is altruistic, it has to be encouraged. For example, the high school students earn additional points for entering universities, while college students earn higher scholarship. Senior volunteers might seek new emotions and the opportunity to go to a different city.”
Some like offering their help; others are attracted by the movement or wish to become a part of the historical event. The best part of the youth joins volunteering to build a portfolio which can play an important role in their future career.
“Could you recall any force majeure in your volunteering practice?”
“Once, during the Confederations Cup, an international guest mixed up two cities - Rostov and Rostov-on-Don, and purchased the wrong ticket. Later, we explained him that there are two Russian cities with similar names. Fortunately, the confusion was settled promptly.”