ROTARY CLUB NEWS: Rotarians reflect on FISU experience

Lake Placid Rotary Club member Debbie Erenstone, left, poses with fellow 2023 FISU Winter World University Games volunteer Amy Garrison. (Provided photo)

Seven members of the Rotary Club of Lake Placid volunteered for six or more shifts at the Lake Placid 2023 Winter World University Games this month. Even before the games began, Rotarians were engaged with the project.

“My commitment to the FISU games was completed before the games even began. I chose a position in accreditation,” May Chow said. “I helped with issuing credentials to the workforce staff and volunteers. I enjoyed meeting new people and seeing friends. It was a great experience.”

Lee Lamparski was unable to be in Lake Placid during the games yet wanted to volunteer where she could. So she helped with the uniform distribution before the games.

“I got to see, firsthand, the hundreds of volunteers it took to run these events,” Lamparski said. “I enjoyed talking with people who came from across this country, as far as LA and Canada. As early as December the volunteers were excited to be here, some were visiting for the first time.”

Randy Quayle volunteered for general help at the Olympic Center.

Lake Placid Rotary Club member Randy Quayle asks Nancy Beattie, of Lake Placid, for her credentials at the Olympic Center during the 2023 FISU World University Games. (Provided photo)

“I’ve enjoyed my volunteer work,” he said. “Lots of nice people and it’s good to feel a part of something. The volunteer coordinators were well trained and did a great job and it was a lot of fun.”

Charlotte Newbury volunteered at Whiteface Mountain, staffing the information booth, providing directions on the mountain and helping out wherever needed.

Debbie Erenstone volunteered at Mount Van Hoevenberg and for the biathlon.

Sean Donovan worked hospitality and protocol at Mount Van Hoevenberg. He spent most of his time in the VIP Lounge, where he met coaches, officials and FISU delegates from France, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Italy, Uganda and Benin.

If it was someone’s first visit here, Donovan asked about their impression of Lake Placid and the Adirondacks.

Sean Donovan, center, poses with some Ukrainian athletes. (Provided photo)

“It was so nice to receive not just positive responses, but often energetic positive responses,” he said.

Donovan also escorted medal and mascot presenters to the staging area for the ceremony preparation.

“I was even fortunate enough to be a presenter at the team biathlon ceremony where the U.S., Japan, and Ukraine were awarded gold, silver, bronze, respectively,” he said.

All the Rotarian volunteers said they were impressed by the professional execution of the events and the commensurate live video productions, both live and broadcast.

“The ORDA crews, teamed with support teams germane to each event and assisted by volunteers, continually produced timely and professional quality events, particularly in light of almost daily weather changes impacting the conditions at Mount Van Hoevenberg,” Donovan said.

Stephanie Pianka and Adirondack Mac, the mascot of the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Winter World University Games

Stephanie Pianka volunteered with protocol and FISU relations.

“I was responsible for ensuring that the VIP lounges at the 1932 Rink, 1980 Rink and speedskating oval were stocked by catering, kept in good condition and checking credentials to ensure that access to the lounges was restricted to FISU officials, dignitaries and local officials and other VIPs,” she said. “I enjoyed meeting other local residents who volunteered — including many who are new to the area and wanted to contribute — and athletes, officials and coaches from all over the world. They were very appreciative of the volunteers and the work done by so many in our region to put these games on. I am glad that I was able to participate in this event and help the community.”

As a result of the work of these volunteers, FISU will provide a grant to our club. Rotary is grateful for the opportunity to take part in such a great event and for the grant to further our work in the Lake Placid community.

(Martha Pritchard Spear is a member of the Rotary Club of Lake Placid.)

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