Like it or not, Britain is the centre of the world stage for the next month thanks to a little sporting event called, the Olympics. It’s been a long time coming but now that it’s here it still feels like some crazy dream in which all tubes grind to a halt, we have missiles on every rooftop and oh wait…
In all seriousness though, we have all of the world’s top athletes, media and leaders in London. It’s a good feeling. Why not be proud of the being the centre of attention?
As Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, "Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises."
Danny Boyle based the opening ceremony on the above quote and what came from it was a genuine spectacle that has sparked global debates around free health care with our NHS, Britain’s part in the birth of the World Wide Web (Tim Berners-Lee, we salute you!) and even featured Lord Voldemort. We are genuinely an impressive little island for all our many and varied achievements, but it isn’t this that has taken the millions of foreign visitors by surprise it the phalanx of volunteers; or to give them their official title ‘Games Makers’; helping people navigate one of the world’s oldest cities, with...a smile!
The global food giant, McDonald’s have taken a brave step in supporting the Games Makers with the aim of ‘leaving an enduring training and volunteering legacy for years to come’ in the UK psyche. There are around 70,000 Games Makers taking part throughout the Olympics and they are all unpaid volunteers of various ages, giving their time for free. It really is an amazing feat of civic pride bringing the best out in people, whatever reason they have for volunteering: free tickets, snazzy uniform or just a love of volunteering, they are still the backbone of the London 2012 Olympics.
The question next is how to sustain this wave of volunteer activity without such a huge event to tie it all together? Every year after the Orange RockCorps's volunteer concert we are faced by that question, how do you keep the passion for volunteering alive? Well we’ve found that once people have had that all-important introduction to the volunteering that they realise it’s not some stuffy boring activity that only old people do, in fact it’s a vibrant, social and open world full of people of all ages and cultures, the question answers itself.
We all like to be part of something bigger than ourselves and volunteering is exactly that opportunity. It's a pathway to a fuller and more exciting life that can often lead on to much bigger things, like a job with the organisation you've volunteered with, or meeting someone new and awesome. To paraphrase the comedian, Russell Brand on serving your community: "We are our community. Service is an honour. I'll be happy to do it."
So after all the medals are handed out, the Union Flags are taken down and TFL breathes a huge sigh of relief, let the volunteers be the enduring image of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the selfless representatives of the face of us all in modern Britain.
Want to have your say about this post? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter! For more information on how to get involved in your area click here and once you’ve completed your volunteering we will reward your achievement through the Orange RockCorps’ Collective.
In the imortal words of Bill & Ted Be excellent to each other and as we always say…
Give, Get Given!