So you’re hip to derby. You’ve been to a few games, know a few of the players, and you even have your favourite team’s t-shirt. But have you ever taken a moment to think about the work that goes into a successful game? Besides the players and referees, any roller derby game cannot happen without its most critical ingredient: Volunteers.
“RVRG volunteers have supported us from the very beginning and were originally made up of family members and partners,” explains Volunteer Committee member Axxi-Dent. “All the set up and excitement generated for game day takes a collective effort. People get involved for different reasons but everyone pitches in and has a great time. RVRG volunteers are the best!”
Did you know that it takes about 25 volunteers to make every game run smoothly? Twenty-five!! What are these volunteer doing you ask? Volunteer positions range from the person taking your ticket at the door and selling league merchandise to people working the concessions, the beer garden and even DJing between jams. “We look for volunteers who are responsible, on time, reliable, honest, and committed to help us make fans love roller derby,” explains Savage Mind, RVRG Volunteer Committee member. “We are flexible in terms of time commitment and we try to assign volunteers to their preferred tasks as much as possible.”
Lauren McConomy has been volunteering with RVRG for three years. She joined the league to volunteer after reading an article about the sport. “Volunteering at derby games is so much fun! My 16-year-old stepdaughter and her friend often volunteer with me. All of the players are so welcoming and inclusive of them and the rest of the volunteers. As well as it’s a great family night out!”
Victoria Sikur has also been volunteering with RVRG for about three years. She has worked several volunteering positions, including merchandise, door security and selling 50/50 tickets. “Doing the 50/50 is fun as you get to cruise the crowd selling tickets to spectators… I love that I always get an opportunity to watch some of the game. It’s also great to meet new people and catch up with friends.”
Alvaro Vargas and his son Paolo have recently joined RVRG’s volunteer team. Alvaro was attending a recent game with his son and offered his help on the spot. He ended up working all night in the beer garden. “I love knowing that I am supporting something I really like, and working beer garden security gives me the best seat in the house,” he explains. “Volunteering with RVRG doesn’t feel like a typical volunteering job, you get a sense of being a part of something.” Fourteen-year-old Paolo has been helping out in the canteen. “I’ve been to games before and was surprised to find that it was all run by volunteers. When our school gave students the task of amassing 40 hours of volunteer work, I thought that derby games would be a great place to fill my hours. I enjoy the atmosphere. I am able to joke around and have fun with people I had never known of before.”
Needless to say, we love our volunteers! Without them, we cannot play derby. As a league that is entirely non-profit, and operated by the skaters, for the skaters, volunteers are our heart and lungs… We absolutely could not do it without them. So the next time you are at a game, take a look at everyone around you. They are helping to make your experience a great one.