Volunteers excited about 2006 and 2010 Games 

Whistler’s Ralph Forsyth volunteered all the way through the bid to win the Olympic Games and he is hoping he will be chosen to help out in 2006 and 2010.

"The times I’ve felt really good are the times I’ve been helping other people," he said.

"If you can answer some kid’s questions about the Olympics or help a tourist that is lost it will make you feel really good."

Over 60,000 people have already signed up to be 2010 volunteers. The Games will probably need 25,000 volunteers altogether in both Whistler and Vancouver. The positions probably won’t start to be filled until about mid-2008.

Those lucky enough to be chosen will probably have a pretty extensive resume of volunteering prior to the Games.

In Whistler that might mean getting involved with the new iHost program currently being run out of the VANOC Sea to Sky office, next to the BrewHouse.

Volunteers can expect to help with accommodation information, administration, stamping out the sale of counterfeit souvenirs, food services to athletes, cultural programs, crowd control, sports, visitor services and much more.

And for all your hard work you will get no money, no accommodation and probably no free tickets.

You will, however, get to take your volunteer uniform home, though it may need a good cleaning before it will be worth displaying, and a lifetime of memories.

And it’s that breathtaking experience which has Forsyth hoping to attend the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, whether he gets a volunteer position or not.

"That’s my goal," he said.

His niece, Sarah Smith, is a speed skater for Canada and he plans on cheering her on with the rest of his extended family.

"Few of us are going to get to be Olympic athletes and this is a way of participating in the Games," said Forsyth who owns and operates a management training company.

His advice to those who are not sure if they want to make the commitment to be a volunteer: Get some experience and get involved.

Said Forsyth: "There is nothing worse that sitting on the sidelines wishing that you could play."

The Whistler Weasel Workers are also gearing up to volunteer for the Games. About 25 of them were at Salt Lake’s 2002 Winter Olympics and many more will be helping out at international competitions leading up to the 2006 Winter Games in Torino and beyond.

Abut 40 hope to go to Bormio for the World Cup in 2005.

"That will give the folks from Turin a chance to see how we perform," said Christine Yanisiw, president of the Weasel Workers.

Course volunteers have some of the most important jobs including putting up safety fences to make sure the athletes and the spectators stay safe during the event.

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