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Our amazing Volunteers share their experiences of the Games

Name: Alisha Symister

Position: Volunteer (Team Leader)
From: Dunedin

Alisha is a Physical Education student at the University of Otago in Dunedin and she is Volunteering as a Team Leader at Bowl Lines, the venue hosting the Ten Pin Bowling for the Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games 2013.

Her inspiration for volunteering this week comes from wanting to work with people with intellectual disabilities after she finishes her degree. Alisha has a cousin with Down Syndrome who has competed with Special Olympics New Zealand in the past in Golf. 

A highlight for Alisha is gaining experience. "It's a different area to work in, so it's quite rewarding in that way," she says. Her biggest challenge thus far has been making sure that everything goes to plan – she has never volunteered for a large event such as this week's Games before, so being a Team Leader is a "wee bit overwhelming" for her!

As a volunteer, Alisha feels that she and the other volunteers play a big part in making sure the day runs smoothly, and making sure the athletes are not stressing about anything. "Making sure they're smiling and having fun – that's the best thing".

Out of this experience, Alisha hopes to gain more experience in assisting individuals with intellectual disabilities, and a greater understanding of the sports in general. 

Name: Arralyn Ibbotson

Position: Volunteer
From: Dunedin

Arralyn is one of the 750 volunteers for the Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games 2013, and it is her first time volunteering for such a large event. Her primary reason for volunteering is her avid interest in all sports, saying that no matter what kind of sport she's watching, she'll "always pick a team to support and yell for them". 

For Arralyn, highlights of the games have thus far been the basketball, "which is amazing to watch" and seeing bocce being played for the first time. 

Arralyn did not have any particular expectations when volunteering for the Games, and was just looking forward to seeing some competitive sporting events being played. She says she hopes to meet new people and athletes during the Games, and that being part of a big sporting event in Dunedin is exciting [in itself], and has a great atmosphere. 

Name: Marianne Glen

Position: Volunteer
From: Dunedin

Marianne is volunteering for the Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games 2013 because she has an interest in assisting individuals with intellectual disabilities. Her 25-year-old niece is competing this week in bocce representing Special Olympics North Canterbury. 

Marianne has volunteered in the past for different organisations but this is the first time that she has participated in something so expansive. She came to the event not sure what to expect and found the Opening Ceremony “fantastic”, although noted that her first day volunteering for such a large event was a little like “organised chaos!” 

Overall, Marianne hopes to meet new people and is happy to be doing something a little different from the normal routine of her everyday life.


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