High school kids get to work during Games 

75 per cent of secondary students find their own Olympic opportunities

School's closed for the Games.

And with three and a half weeks off, many high school kids are turning to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Olympics (VANOC) and other organizations in Whistler to fill their free time.

About 75 per cent of Grade 10 to 12 students from Whistler Secondary are working or volunteering over the Olympics, according to Fiona Famulak, president of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, who conducted an informal survey in January.

That means approximately 150 students.

Lisa Bartlett, vice-principal of Whistler Secondary, added that she has already run into several students while volunteering at the athletes' village.

She also knows students who are working with VANOC on parking and security. Students from families who own local businesses - like restaurants and B&Bs - are also working during the Games.

"I think they are pretty stoked about it, to be a part of it," said Bartlett about the Whistler Secondary students.

"I think it is neat for people who are visiting Whistler to be able to meet kids who are actually from Whistler and to find out what it is actually like to be from Whistler. It is a different perspective."

To help prepare students for the working world, Whistler Secondary brought in the chamber on Jan. 29 to hold a workshop on delivering service.

The workshop was similar to the Spirit Courses the chamber holds in autumn for employees of Whistler businesses.

"What we covered in that session was why delivering exceptional guest service is important, the dos and don'ts of exceptional service, and also providing some Olympic information," explained Famulak.

"We wanted to reach out to high school students because many are already in the workforce or will be in the workforce or volunteering for the Games for the first time."

Famulak added because Whistler is a resort community, she thinks it is important to inspire students to deliver excellent service as soon as possible, and she would like the workshop at Whistler Secondary to become an annual event.

Beyond working and volunteering, Bartlett said some students are skiing and snowboarding or taking swimming courses at Meadow Park Sports Centre. Other families offered their houses for rent during the Olympics, so students in those families are spending the school hiatus travelling.

Whistler Secondary is closed throughout the Olympics, from Feb. 8 to March 2. In January the school board announced the school space would be rented to Contemporary Security Canada (CSC), the company overseeing private security services for the Olympics.

 

 

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