When it was announced that the Gold Coast was hosting the Commonwealth Games, I made the decision to apply to volunteer and be a part of the Games. I had been in Beijing when the Olympic Games were on in 2008 and there was such a great atmosphere and energy to the city, and we felt so welcomed and I wanted to do that for the GC.
I live very close to the Aquatic Centre, and was lucky enough to be offered a team leader role there, in the Spectator Services Team. We were the people welcoming spectators to the Games, checking tickets, finding seats and arranging access to the stands for the swimming and diving.
I had shifts in the accessible access area on the last two nights of swimming. The events were completely sold out and there were so many gold medal events on that night. My area was the area for people with pre-arranged tickets for wheelchairs, and also the area for others that may not have pre-arranged the accessible seating tickets, who could not access their seats up in the stands. I am proud to say, that we were able to find a great spot for everyone on those nights, as we had the first three rows closest to the action. We also shared the area with the media and Games Family – this included VIPs, sportspeople, sponsors and others, such as the Prime Minister, Governor General, and swimming greats such as Dawn Fraser, Gian Rooney, Nicole Livingstone and Ian Thorpe.
There were about 15,000 volunteers for the Games, and it is amazing the organisers were able to choose people who were so well suited to the role they were offered. We usually had different teams of between 10 and 20 for each shift and were allocated a few different roles over the course of the Games. Even though we all came from different backgrounds, we all worked really well together, and had a lot of fun doing it. It was an unforgettable experience, and I am surprised at how much I got out of it.
Working with the other volunteers
Having spectators remember us and treat us like old friends, thanking us for doing our job
The Prime Minister just putting on a plastic poncho like everyone else when it started to rain – he laughed and waited the rain out like we all did
The cultural events that ran concurrently with the Games – so many great concerts and events to see.