Volunteering at Lausanne 2020

Around 2,500 volunteers will be on duty during the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

The registration period will run through to July 2019, when an online platform will be opened on the Organising Committee's website.

Prior to this, a major media campaign will be launched to attract volunteers both young and old.

Known as "Games-makers", they will perform a wide range of duties relating to national team delegations, the public, the media and the competition sites.

"After they have applied and been selected, we ask them which duties and tasks they want to do," Cédric Destraz, the head of Lausanne 2020's volunteer programme, said.

"We then run a series of training courses on things like welcoming people and hospitality.

"Then there are specific training sessions at each site, like how to groom a run and how to welcome athletes and guests.

"In short, volunteers do lots of different things.

"The ones who've already been accepted know that they will be there at the YOG."

Though the application process will be open to prospective volunteers from all over the world, an initial selection phase was conducted at local level.

It is hoped the work of the volunteers at the third Winter YOG will leave an important legacy.

Cédric Destraz is the head of Lausanne 2020's volunteer programme ©Lausanne 2020
Cédric Destraz is the head of Lausanne 2020's volunteer programme ©Lausanne 2020

"Through their employers and public institutions, they will be able to demonstrate the value of the work they have done throughout the YOG," Destraz said.

"No volunteers means no Games, as simple as that.

"They bring skills that add value to any event and in every field, such as welcoming people, assisting National Olympic Committees and the media, interpreting, working at the uniform centre, and helping out with accreditations.

"It's a unique experience.

"The YOG are a wonderful celebration of sport, and there's only one thing for prospective volunteers to do, which is to sign up in summer 2019.

"If you end up volunteering at the YOG in Lausanne, then you might get involved at other sporting events.

"Everyone should take the opportunity to experience the Youth Olympic Games."

Destraz claims it is essential to get young people involved in volunteering, but that the not-so-young cannot be forgotten either.

"Different generations have to work together if all the tasks undertaken by volunteers at this YOG edition are to be carried out successfully," he said.

"It goes without saying that it's very rewarding to be able to pass the experience of older people on to youngsters."

Volunteers are considered to be an essential ingredient of any Olympic event ©IOC/Greg Martin
Volunteers are considered to be an essential ingredient of any Olympic event ©IOC/Greg Martin

Volunteer leaders are already in place.

They run the local volunteer groups and organise them in their entirety, having previously taken a two-stage training course.

The first part of the course offers an introduction to the YOG, while the second is more operational, looking at things like managing a team and how to organise events promoting the Games.

The volunteers promote the YOG to other volunteers.

Volunteer leaders can acquire skills not otherwise available to them, giving them attributes they can put to use in the professional world.

There are around 10 leaders aged between 20 and 25 who are completely involved in the ongoing event promotion phase.

"There's a community of around 50 volunteers at the moment, but it's growing with every passing week, because they're enjoying a rewarding experience and are passing the message on to their friends, parents and families," Destraz added.

"That know-how and those social skills are being transferred from friend to friend and from generation to generation.

"The volunteer community is growing and it's going to be big and strong from January 9 to 22, 2020."

Back to top

International Volunteer Day

On December 5, 2018, Lausanne 2020 celebrated International Volunteer Day.

The Organising Committee made use of the occasion to thank the many volunteers who are already working alongside it for the success of the 2020 Winter YOG.

They are providing assistance in a number of ways, including co-ordinating or helping during promotional events and translating the Lausanne 2020 website.

Lausanne 2020 communicates daily in the three Swiss national languages as well as in English and Spanish.

"This requires quite a lot of translating, splendidly carried out by close to 30 people who take to heart the success of Lausanne 2020," Lise Cordey, who is in charge of volunteer translating, said.

Melissa Pisino, a French-Italian bilingual who studies translation at the University of Geneva, is a member of the project.

"Lausanne 2020 is the perfect occasion to combine my passion for translating and sports, and to contribute to this extraordinary event that upholds worthy values and that will leave its mark on the lives of a new generation of athletes," she said.

"It’s a rewarding experience that will be of use to me in the future."