The volunteer: a new reality present at sports and physical activities events

Por: Kelly Ladeira, e Thais Bitencourt.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

Volunteers are present in both, sports and physical activities events. In 2002 at FIFA Soccer World Championship there were 29’189 people who filled applications for volunteers and at Athens Olympic Games the number of volunteers grew up to 60’000. The main questions of this study were: what makes someone a volunteer? what is the profile of a volunteer? Is volunteer a specific situation of mega events? What could be related with the volunteer (gender, study, social and economic position)? In this study we focused on volunteerism through two projects ("Amigos da Escola" and "Escola da Família") which are based on public schools in Brazil, and these projects include physical activities.

Methods

We made a field research through a questionnaire. The people who answered the questionnaire were volunteers with physical activities on the projects mentioned and they answered it at the schools where they are volunteers in the presence of the researchers. There were 13 questions (5 open and 8 closed ones).

Results

The volunteers for this study were 16 women and 14 men, the age goes from 17 to 62. Regarding the study, 8 of them attended only 4 years of school, 8 attended 8 years of school, 7 attended 11 years of school and 7 finished or are finishing college. From the total, 24 are working and 20 of them consider themselves financially independent. On the question related to what are the reasons that motivate them to become a volunteer, pleasure was chosen by 27, to feel useful and valued by 22, for the expectation to see a better country by 15. All of them were volunteers for at least one time, and 3 of them were volunteers for 10 times. Regarding the question if there is a benefit from the volunteer action, all of them believe that there is a benefit. There are different motives for them to be a volunteer.

Discussion / Conclusion

This study is not supposed to be a study to fully understand the social and psychological aspects of the volunteers reality that are present in most of the sports and physical activities events, but it looks for a comprehension of a particular situation that can be general in some aspects and also looks for a comprehension of what is involved in the volunteer action itself. There are many benefits for the society with this kind of activity: for the person who receives the action; for the person who gives the action - Inversion Action [1] - and for the whole society. It seems like there is no limit for someone who wants to be volunteer (race, gender, age, study, social-economical status). The society recognizes the social impact and importance of the volunteer action and values it. One of the reasons that make some events possible is the dependence of the volunteers [2]. The sense of social involvement makes possible the existence of volunteers in all kind of events [3], huge ones like the Olympic Games and small ones like the projects mentioned on this study. There are many different reasons that makes someone a volunteer.

References

[1]. Luks A. (1992). The healing power of doing good: the health and spiritual benefits of helping others. New York, Fawcett..
[2]. Nogawa H et al (2003). A study of Sport Volunteer on the 2002 FIFA World Cup: a cross-national perspective. International Sociology of Sports Association - Sport and Social Order: Challenges for theory and practice. Köln.
[3]. Cacciari M & Martini C (2003). Diálogo sobre a solidariedade (dialogue about solidarity). Bauru, Edusc.

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