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‘Club 99’ to bring 2010 volunteers to Whistler

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About 800 out of town volunteers will be resting their weary heads every night of the Olympic Games in homes throughout the corridor.

But hundreds more will be making their way here from Vancouver via bus for their Whistler assignments during the Games. On peak days that means 500 volunteers will be traveling the Sea to Sky corridor in about 10 to 11 buses.

Despite the hundreds traveling on Highway 99 during its busiest time, Olympic organizers are very pleased with the success of Whistler's Homestay program.

"It was a huge success," said Maureen Douglas, director of communications B.C. for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games, of the program.

"We have a large number of homestays here in the corridor from Squamish through to Pemberton."

There was always a recognition, she added, that some people wanted to volunteer in Whistler but go home to Vancouver every night too, though that decision adds about five hours to their already long days of volunteering in eight- to 10-hour shifts. Others, when asked, said they didn't mind the commute.

The workforce shuttle system traveling daily between Whistler and Vancouver, now called "Club 99," will be a part of the overall volunteer experience.

"We want to make sure it's a really positive experience for them," said Douglas.

"From feedback we've had from volunteers through things like our test events and some other testing we did earlier this year, the ride up in the morning is definitely a little bit quieter where people can get a bit of extra rest... The ride home is a bit more animated where everybody is encouraged to share their stories of the day."

To make up for the hours added by the journey, VANOC will likely give the commuting volunteers more shifts off than the at-home volunteers.

In addition to Club 99, Douglas said they managed to close the volunteer shortfall even further by reviewing the exact workforce needs and recognizing any savings there, also finding any extra room in VANOC's accommodation stock. And finally, a few Whistler residents really stepped up to the table and went above and beyond.

"A few families are hosting as many as four volunteers in their home, which is amazing and greatly appreciated," said Douglas.

VANOC has filled 25,000 volunteer positions in a wide range of fields, from anti-doping duties such as informing athletes of their selection for doping control and escorting them from the field, to assisting with crowd management and ticket taking during events.

 

 

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