GC2018 COMMONWEALTH GAMES VOLUNTEERING EXPERIENCE
Queenslanders have a proud tradition of volunteering to support major events and there is none bigger in Australia this decade than the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. The 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast needed 15,000 volunteers with diverse skills and life experiences for crucial roles at multiple locations including Games venues, the Games Village and the Uniform and Accreditation Centre. Specialist training for GC2018 was provided by TAFE Queensland at no cost to Games volunteers. The contribution of GC2018 volunteers helped promote the Gold Coast to athletes, officials and spectators who attended the Games from across the Commonwealth. Volunteering at the Games provided so many people with an opportunity to share the dream, which has been at the heart of the event since the Commonwealth Games began.
Everyone knew that when the Commonwealth Games was in town in April there’d be an Arts and Culture Program. What everyone didn’t know was that it would be the biggest cultural festival the city has ever seen. Festival 2018 ran from 4th till 15th April, alongside the Commonwealth Games, spilling out onto beaches and waterways, taking over streets and outdoor spaces, delivering roving performances and entertaining outside stadiums. The 12 day program included some 160 events, with more than 1000 performances across 28 venues with 35 world premieres, 15 Australian premieres and 20 Indigenous works. The program included a full Children’s’ Festival in Kurrawa Park, Broadbeach; a world-class line-up of music across stages in Broadbeach and Surfers as well as contemporary dance, Indigenous art, visual and public art installations, theatre and circus as well as film and food.
Kim started her first shift at Surfers Paradise which played host to the Australian premiere of ‘Holoscene’, fresh from mesmerising crowds in New York City’s Times Square. Each five hour show sees a lone performer in an aquarium-like tank that unpredictably floods. Submerged for up to three minutes at a time, performers are forced to adapt to the rapid rise and fall of water as they carry out everyday tasks.
On the beach children of all ages loved ‘Impulse’ – 15 illuminated musical see-saws forming an interactive art playground on Surfers Paradise Beach. Everyone become musicians and artists as they took a ride and used their movement and rhythm to activate lights and sounds of the see-saw.
Another highlight was the biggest karaoke event of the year; Giant Sing Along came to the Gold Coast as part of Festival 2018. Everyone was invited to come and sing their heart out in a field of microphones on Surfers Paradise beach to celebrate the Games. Giant Sing Along featured a huge screen with the words of your favourite songs, as voted by the people of the Gold Coast, as well as auto-tune to make you sound great.
Broadbeach was Kim’s destination for the rest of the Festival. Broadbeach had two distinct activated spaces, Kurrawa Park and Surf Parade (between Victoria and Queensland Avenues), providing audiences with arts experiences and entertainment from 9am to late every day. Internationally-renowned Gold Coast musician Amy Shark was just one of the headliners on a stage dedicated to Queensland music talent, supported by a line-up of local music artists including Lasting’s, Ella Fence and Eliza and The Delusionals. For extreme action, everyone headed to the open air 360-degree Roundabout Stage. There you could see a cutting-edge global line-up of dance, urban circus and physical theatre. All performances were short, sharp and energetic – 20 to 40 minutes of adrenaline-fuelled wonder.
Kim did a few shifts at Jarjums Learning Space. When inside the interactive space designed, created and built for Jarjums by Jarjums (children) and Inspired by their everyday lives. Jarjums Learning Space offered engaging and culturally exciting ways for visitors to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
In her downtime she checked out Arboria, which was a journey through the dazzling maze of winding paths and soaring domes, and awakens your sense of wonder. Since 1992 over three million visitors in more than 40 countries across five continents have immersed themselves in the spectacular, luminous world of Arboria – Architects of Air. For the first time, the Gold Coast experienced this special installation. Kim also helped out The Whale’s Tale, which was a children play with a sick whale, a lost navigator, and ridiculous doctor.
The second week of the Commonwealth Games I started my shift as a Supports Service Basketball Volunteer. There were 16 basketball teams that competed at GC2018 and faced off in the opening matches in Townsville and Cairns, with the Semi and Finals held at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. Basketball Queensland in conjunction with FIBA coordinated the running and it was great to catch up with some old faces.
On the first night my duties were marshalling athletes, checking accreditation, assisting in the training/warm-up area, transporting team equipment throughout the venue, aiding liaison officers to escort teams and technical officials around the venue and field of play. I spent most time in the training/warm-up area which all four women’s teams used for warming up, stretching and cooling down. Canada vs England were up first, then Australia vs New Zealand. Some great banter between club players Australia and New Zealand made warm-up extremely funny.
While I was enjoying mingling with the players Kim was helping out at the Roundabout stage where Yes, We Dance, made up of ten everyday Gold Coasters, each with extraordinary ways of expressing themselves through dance, are matched with two choreographers and an ensemble of hundreds of community dancers. This then followed up with the BLOCK, which was a powerful fusion of dance and circus that pushes the limits of both art forms. With its daring physicality, split-second timing and thrilling feats, BLOCK left audiences gasping.
The next night I was lucky to be working Field Of Play for the Women’s Bronze and Gold medal games. I was stationed in the lead up corridor that brought the teams out to the court. Then while the game was active I had to prevent everyone coming onto the court. The great part was I got to see the whole two games and because the angle of the TV cameras, didn’t have to worry about getting on TV. Bonus I could take a couple of photos without being seen. It was a great night with the Aussie girls winning easily. Quick turnaround helping get the podiums out for the medal ceremony I headed into Broadbeach to catch up with Kim.
Kim was helping backstage with Kate Miller-Heidke, Ella Fence and Regurgitator, yes Regurgitator!. Regurgitator started in 1994 and quickly established themselves as an articulate and witty purveyor of the Australian music scene. They assembled a mishmash of funk, punk, pop, electronics and any other style that stuck to the sides, with unmitigated irony and a geekish nature. Kim loved more multi-award-winning singer songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke, who is renowned for a style that crosses contemporary pop, folk and opera. She has released four critically acclaimed studio albums, and produced the multi-platinum hit singles ‘The Last Day On Earth’ and ‘Caught in the Crowd’.
A huge shout-out goes to Ridgeview Retreat, which was an outstanding luxury dog boarding retreat located in Bonogin, just above The Observatory at Reedy. The guys did a great job looking after our Pup, Shari for a couple of days while we volunteered.
The outstanding efforts of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games’ Games Shapers were recognised at a celebration event. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined the Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove, Minister for the Commonwealth Games Kate Jones, GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie and the Acting Mayor of City of Gold Coast Donna Gates at the Broadwater Parklands.