Volunteering with the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games

pachiI signed up to volunteer with Toronto 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Games last winter and have been helping them round up thousands and thousands of volunteers for the games this summer.

One of my main tasks was calling up volunteer applicants and asking them to send in their online video interviews and then watching these videos. With so many volunteers spread out across the province (the games stretches from Welland to Minden), they decided it’d be easier to have everyone submit recorded videos of themselves answering questions.

It’s a bit controversial because not everyone’s comfortable in front of a webcam. At least not everyone born before 1995. Some people had issues with their computers, others just didn’t have access to a webcam. But I saw some really amazing videos.

There’s usually nothing particularly special in the videos. No crazy musical talents or flash mobs — just a middle-aged man in his home office or a college student in her shoebox dorm room. The people start off awkward. They stutter, they stammer, they giggle. Then they take a deep breath and they start to speak from the heart — “this is why I really want to volunteer.” The reasons are diverse and they’re personal. They make private confessions and it’s beautiful to watch.

I can’t share these stories with you but I want to thank everyone who shared them with me. These are going to be great games because the volunteers are in it for all the right reasons.

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