UOP: Volunteers wanted | ParkRecord.com

UOP: Volunteers wanted

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

With the Winter Olympics just a year away, it may not be too soon to catch the spirit. Michelle Herrera, director of program management at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP), is in charge of volunteers for the upcoming World Cup bobsled and skeleton event in February and has plenty of ways to get the community involved.

In fact, according to Herrera, it is only with the community’s help that they are able to pull off such high-level competitions. And as World Cups go, this should be a pretty big one. It is the last World Cup event of the season, with season championships at stake and many awards to be passed out.

For those who are still feeling the excitement from the Summer Olympics, volunteering may be the best way to get a little piece of the action. Give or take a handful of athletes, the people who will be competing on the ice track in Bear Hollow will be the very same that go head-to-head in Vancouver next February.

Herrera also suggests volunteering at the Athletes’ Dinner before the event, offering a chance to break bread with some of the best athletes in the world. For those interested in learning about the sport event process, there are many opportunities to get an up-close experience.

With such an undertaking comes a myriad of opportunity. Herrera’s said there will be jobs for those who want to take in every part of the action in the bitter cold, and jobs that require directing people from the warmth of the Day Lodge far below. Shifts are limited to four hours for the outdoor volunteers so nobody gets frostbite.

Training involves an orientation to the park, some hazard training and some paperwork; the rest will come on the job. For every area there is a team leader to show the way. Herrera already has a solid core of volunteers who come out for numerous events and are prepared to show rookies the way.

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Herrera loves having the help, but she said that the volunteer relationship goes much further than that. The UOP’s day-to-day goal is to bring young athletes to the park and introduce them to the winter sports. With the community involved at events, she feels that just another way to tell the inspirational stories of the best athletes in the world. The way she sees it, the Olympic dream for a young child starts there.

For older individuals, it is a way to be a part of something bigger. helping the top athletes, she said, people can share in their successes and when the athletes go sliding down the Olympic track next year, people can say they were part of the monumental effort that got them there.

"It’s a special feeling to be involved," Herrera said, "to say you standing next to that athlete."

The Bobsled and Skeleton World Cup competition will be held Feb. 8-14. Anyone interested in volunteering may send an e-mail to uop.volunteers@olyparks.com . Please include full name, phone number, an e-mail address, the position(s) you would prefer to work, and dates and times you can volunteer. All volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. The majority of positions require working outside. Some positions require the ability to lift 50 pounds.

UOP box:

Head: Positions available and brief descriptions:

Volunteer services — Assist with check-in/out and caretaking of volunteers and officials.

Press room assistant – Will assist UOP media manager with variety of duties – position will be inside and outside.

Access control — Controls access to restricted areas — positions are located outside.

Scabbards Assistant — Lifts and organizes scabbards (protective covers for sled runners) at finish dock. Must be comfortable walking quickly on ice and lifting 50 lbs — an outside position.

Sweeper — Scrapes and cleans push-off area at start, must be comfortable walking on ice — outside position.

Awards ceremonies assistants — To raise and lower flags during awards ceremonies. This position is outside and will typically be an additional duty to another position that would cease at the end of the competition. By working this position volunteers will be required to stay later than the scheduled four-hour shifts.

Event host — This position will typically act as a "fill in" wherever there is a need, including greeting spectators, access control, volunteer services, etc. This position will be inside and outside.