FAQ: Life as a Team Canada Volunteer at the Olympic Games
Do you have vivid childhood memories of sitting on your living room floor watching the Olympics on TV and absorbing each moment of the Games with stars in your eyes?
What would you do if you had a chance to live the Games from the inside, to be there in person at the biggest event in the world?
Become a volunteer for Team Canada at Tokyo 2020 and you just might have the craziest experience of your life.
Here’s what you need to know:
What types of Games-time volunteer roles are there?
To deliver an event the size and scope of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Team Canada is assembling a team of 100+ volunteers. Some positions require specialized skills and work experience, while others simply require a desire to roll up your sleeves and pitch in.
Some volunteers will have the opportunity to interact with athletes and fans at Canada Olympic House, while others will work behind the scenes in press operations, communications, airport arrivals, outfitting and digital.
Meet Adam! He was a volunteer with the digital team at PyeongChang 2018. In his digital content role, he was able to interact with almost all medal-winning Canadian athletes when they came to Team Canada’s digital hub for interviews on our social media platforms. One of his best memories was getting the chance to speak to the likes of Mark McMorris on a personal level.
What is my time commitment for volunteering?
As a Team Canada volunteer for the Games, you are required to commit to a minimum of five shifts for a minimum of four hours per seven consecutive days (including weekends) during the period of July 13 to August 10, 2020. This is used for planning purposes; your exact schedule would be communicated in 2020. Some volunteers like Adam will volunteer with open availability, working as many shifts as necessary.
What are the language requirements to volunteer?
All volunteers must have a basic working knowledge of English. To support our athletes and visitors, we are also looking for volunteers who speak French or Japanese and other selected languages.
Adam was fortunate enough to have lived in South Korea prior to the Olympics, so he knew the language on a beginner scale as well as being fully fluent in English.
Read: Olympic Team volunteer recalls experience of a lifetime
What can I expect as a volunteer?
Volunteering at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be an incredibly rewarding experience that you’ll look back on with pride. This will be your chance to work for something greater than yourself, develop meaningful friendships with fellow volunteers, gain valuable skills and experience, and engage and inspire the entire nation with your involvement.
Games-time volunteers will be provided with:
- A training program
- A volunteer certificate
- A Team Canada volunteer clothing kit
- Refreshments and meals based on shift duration
- Access to Canada Olympic House
- Invitations to special volunteer recognition events
- Other perks
For Adam, volunteering was a chance of a lifetime! He was able to apply his skills to help the team. He was provided with great Team Canada swag and the certificate you get at the end of Games are awesome mementos.
Do I need previous volunteer experience?
First time volunteering? No problem! Keep an open mind, expect the unexpected. Your attitude will become your best asset.
Adam has been volunteering for many sporting events prior to the Olympics, but he says that working at PyeongChang 2018 was the greatest.
Will accommodation and travel fees be covered for volunteers?
Unfortunately, accommodation and travel fees are not covered for volunteers. All applicants are responsible for their own flights to Tokyo and finding a place to sleep while there. Team Canada will make a concerted effort to assign volunteer roles near an applicant’s stated geographic area of interest whenever possible. Learn more about our venues and the Games footprint here.
Team Canada creates a community for all volunteers in a Facebook group where they can share tips and organize their experiences in smaller groups. Adam found two fellow volunteers to room with and it worked out great as they could share costs and transportation. Once he had been accepted as a volunteer, he saved for months in advance and budgeted for those accommodations.
Can I apply to volunteer if I am not a Canadian citizen?
You absolutely can. For candidates who need a visa to enter Japan, they will have to go through that process on their own as Team Canada cannot sponsor visas.
Am I able to attend events?
Some events at the Olympic Games do not require tickets or accreditation, which means that when you are not working as a volunteer, you can go watch some competition as a spectator.
At PyeongChang 2018, Adam attended skiing, luge, bobsleigh and skeleton competitions. He even attended the Closing Ceremony with a few other team members.
What are you waiting for? Go ahead and become a Team Canada volunteer at Tokyo 2020 here! You have until October 20th to submit your application.