Back in June, almost seven months before the event, I received the email that my volunteer application had been accepted. Within a week my flight was booked and I was looking into hotel reservations. Maybe I was just a little bit excited…
This was going to be my first time volunteering at an event like this. I had done some volunteer work at large events before, but nothing on this scale. Furthermore, this wasn’t just some large sporting event, this was CURLING! IN LAS VEGAS! Honestly, when the Continental Cup was in Vegas back in 2014 I wasn’t nearly the curling fan I am now. Flash forward a year and my teammates and I are sitting at Gabe’s (at Four Seasons Curling Club) eating poutine and licking our wounds after getting demolished during our first game at The Big Spiel. The Continental Cup (2015) is on TV, and they make the announcement….IT’S COMING BACK TO VEGAS IN 2016! Right then and there I knew I had to be there.
In the months (and later weeks) leading up to the event, there was excellent communication to all of us volunteers. Any questions we had were quickly answered. Soon enough the time came and I was on my way to Vegas. Specifically, I was to be working in security and accreditation. For accreditation, I helped volunteers check into the event and get their uniforms and what not, and later on check them in for their shifts. When I had a security shift, this essentially meant standing in the back-of-house area and assisting arena staff in making sure that anyone who was back their had a reason to be back there. Honestly, neither job felt like work and I had a lot of fun.
As volunteers, we were well taken care of. There was a volunteer lounge that was always well stocked with refreshments, a volunteer appreciation party with some complementary choice beverages, we got to go to the opening banquet, and whenever we weren’t on shift we could watch the draw from any open seat. Did I mention the uniforms? I have to say I was definitely digging them this year.
Like I said, I had a lot of fun working. A big part of what made that so were my fellow volunteers. I can’t possibly name any without forgetting someone, so I won’t name any…ha! If you’re reading this, you know who you are though. Whether it was on shift, at training, at one of the parties, dinner, or in the patch, thank you for the good times, and hopefully we’ll meet again sooner rather than later.
It’s usually good to save the best for last, or at Vanessa Williams seems to think so (rimshot). Well, at this event the best definitely was saved for last. Besides my main job, I had volunteered to help out where needed during the opening/closing ceremonies, and was slated to be a part of the closing ceremonies. We had a meeting/rehearsal Sunday morning, and long story short I ended up getting assigned to carry the Scottish Flag during the closing ceremonies! To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. Two years before I was barely a curling fan, now here I was going to get to lead my favorite team out and stand with them during the closing ceremonies. I haven’t seen any professional photos yet, but I managed a screen grab from the stream, and a few wide shots courtesy of some friends on Twitter.
Needless to say it was an honor and a privilege, the experience of a lifetime really. What an amazing way to cap off an amazing week. And none of this would have happened if I hadn’t volunteered. If you ever have the opportunity to volunteer, do it! You won’t regret it.
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