It’s been an exciting week as coaches, athletes, and spectators have been enjoying the World Junior Biathlon Championships. But the event wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for nearly the 500 people dressed in red or white colored jackets– the volunteers… And they’re not only donating their free time, they’re having fun doing it.
“I love it, it’s a great sport.”
“It is cool out here- especially this race. But it’s still fun.”
“It’s wonderful. You get to meet a lot of people, you get to interact with the athletes.”
Especially when you work in the food department. That group has been making sure both the other volunteers and athletes are well fed and hydrated.
“We’re getting the food out, we do all the preparations for the food for the volunteers, we do bagged lunches for the volunteers out on the rang,” said volunteer Barbara Perkins. “Just a great, great time!”
Go outside- and you’ll meet a group who spends the majority of the time focusing on the athlete’s performance. The range and course group makes sure every athlete follows the necessary rules of the competition.
“You can watch just one or two lanes and then it gets more complicated up to watching six lanes at once and trying to score the shooters,” said volunteer Donald Cassidy. “And then we consolidate that with the penalty loop to make sure they ski the right number of penalty loops with their misses. So there’s quite a bit of coordination between the penalty loop and the range.”
And then there’s a group who doesn’t necessarily interact directly with the athletes but still works round the clock. The security group– who makes sure nothing happens to the venue or the equipment left there overnight.
“Society has changed, times have changed and for the safety of our spectators, a group of 30 people work together throughout this seven day event to make sure everything has gone smoothly, and efficiently, and safely,” said security chair, Stephanie Beaulieu.
While the majority of the volunteers are from the area, there are a select few from a little farther south. Lanny Kraus is from Beaufort, South Carolina and has been volunteering at Biathlon events for years.
“I love it in Northern Maine, I love the people, I love the athletes, it’s just very exciting,” added Kraus.
And that’s one thing all of the volunteers have in common… Love for the sport, and love for helping others.