by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating
Club Spotlight: Volunteering Leads to Great Times and Great Memories
Two of U.S. Figure Skating’s premier events, Skate America and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships generate a lot of excitement, especially within skating clubs that happen to be located in the host city. Club skaters often skate in the opening ceremony or serve as ice sweepers during events.
But did you know there are several other positions available for interested skaters and skating fans who would like to volunteer at these events? It’s a chance of a lifetime to be a part of skating’s premier events, and for past volunteers, the experience was a memorable one.
Sharon Alger and Sheryl Scarborough are long time skating fans and both have volunteered at past events.
“I’ve always felt that volunteering adds another perspective to a sport you might already love,” Alger said. “You get to see inside the sport, and the opportunities to feel like you are helping a young person who might turn out to be an Olympic athlete is priceless.”
The volunteer process is a simple one. Most often, there will be a request for volunteers on the event web page, with an application to fill out and submit online.
Volunteer opportunities include things like hospitality, ice monitoring, registration and transportation
The prospective volunteer fills out the application and lists preferred volunteer areas to work in with their experience and skills, and then the LOC uses that information to place volunteers in certain areas. Volunteers go through background checks and can also be assigned to more than one area if there is an interest and the LOC needs volunteers in multiple areas.
“To some extent, the experience will depend on what you are doing and what your expectations are,” Scarborough said. “For me, I’ve always worked in registration and that has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people, especially current and past skaters who continue to thrill and entertain me.”
Scarborough also noted the skaters so appreciate the volunteers’ efforts.
“For locals, you will be able to show hospitality of your area and provide valuable aid to skaters you look up to now, and to those who you will be able to tell in the future ‘I met you when you were just starting out,’” Scarborough said.
For local skaters who aspire to compete at such events one day, seeing how a major competition is organized is valuable. It can also be a good experience for skaters’ parents, Scarborough added.
Both volunteers agree that the primary job of the volunteer is to help make the event the very best for the skaters and fans.
“The willingness to help and represent U.S Figure Skating and the host city in an appropriate way is the primary requirement,” Alger said.
So skaters, club members and fans, why not consider volunteering at the next premier event? The 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships volunteer page can be found here.