Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week 9

The week has been going fairly smooth. This past weekend we went to Vancouver for Stephs 21st birthday. We headed down there on Saturday and checked into our hotel around 2:00. We then all went to lunch and headed to the USA store. Everything was picked through and all the good stuff was gone, but I did end up buying my mom a shirt from there. Saturday night we just went to dinner and then we went out a bit. It was a little difficult to go out in Vancouver because we didn't know our way around. We were all pretty tired anyways so we went back to our hotel around 12:00. It was so nice to sleep in an actual in a trailer definitely makes you appreciate the little things in life. On Sunday Kate's parents got to Vancouver and took me and Kate back to Whistler. Nikki and Steph stayed in Vancouver one more night so they could sleep in an actual bed once more. I wanted to go snowboarding Monday and Tuesday. Luke, a guy at camp, lets me borrow his board and boots and then Kylie our venue manager has passes for the gondola, so I am able to snowboard for free!!!

Since Tyler is at Creekside as well, he stays in the office and I have been able to get out and explore the venue with Kylie. I have gotten to know our staff at Creekside and we have all become good friends. I have also gotten to know the guys we share a trailer with, which are our clients, Benoit and Bruce, as well as some of the Coca Cola guys. I have gotten a chance to see what they do for the day.

Half the reason I didn't like being on camp was because I wasn't able to meet people such as our clients and other people involved in the whole Olympic/Paralympic process. Being at a venue now has allowed me to do just that and establish a relationship with these people. We have a good time here at Creekside and I really like all the people I have met. Its nice to see how an actual venue is run and what different companies do to contribute to the event.

The Paralympics start later on this week and I'm very interested to see how the venue runs on an actual event day!

Week 8

So we lost in the finals hockey game to Canada, which was a huge disappointment to us Americans. Unfortunately I had to work that day at 2:00 so I was watching the game with a group of people in the rec room until I had to work. When I was in the office watching the game, we scored the goal to tie it up at the end. I ran all the way to the rec room to cheer with Nikki and Steph as well as rub it in the Canadians faces. Then...we lost. It was really upsetting, but I have to say that was a great way to end the Olympics, it was definitely a great hockey game to watch!

Now that the games are finally over, we get a few days off. Tyler, Sarah, Dolton, Christine and Stephanie all have the first four days off and then the rest of us get the next four days off. Nikki, Steph, Kate and I are planning to go to Vancouver for Stephs 21st birthday, which is March 6th. I'm only going to stay that Saturday night and come back to Whistler Sunday. I want to Snowboard Monday and Tuesday, since I don't know how many more days I'm going to have off.

I finally moved off camp and onto a venue. I chose to be moved to Creekside, because I wanted to be at an event venue. Creekside it so pretty and I love the feel of it, so I am definitely happy with my choice. I love being off camp! I have been able to meet new people such as our clients Bruce and Benoit.

My first day was Monday March 1 and Tyler taught me how things run. He showed me around the site, how to enter time sheets, etc, etc. I think I'm getting the hang of it, everything is pretty simple, I just need to learn the site so I can know where people are talking about when they call wanting something done. Tyler has off for the next four days so I am at Creekside by myself. Things have been going pretty smooth so far, we will just see how the next few days go!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Week 7

So this past week, I unfortunately had to watch the USA lose to Canada in hockey. We Americans had talked a lot of smack since we beat Canada in the preliminary round and since we had beaten Finland in the semifinals. It was definitely disappointing we lost, but I will say it was a great finals for the Olympics…The Canadians are still walking around rubbing it in!

Since the Olympics are finally over with we are now in the transition process from the Olympics to the Paralympics. This means that everything with the Olympic rings has to be taken down and replaced with Paralympics symbol. All the merchandise in the stores has to be changed, all the “look” on the fences has to be replaced, even VANOC’s jackets have to have a piece of fabric that snaps on to the back, over the Olympics rings, with the Paralympics symbol instead. I didn’t realize all that has to be changed for the Paralympics.

During the transition everyone gets four days off at some point, so on our days off a group of us are going to go to Vancouver for a night or two. I’m excited to finally get out of camp and sleep in a real bed. Since we don’t need as many people to work for the Paralympics, a lot of people have started leaving to continue on their traveling journeys or to venture home. Now that people have started leaving it makes me get a little homesick. It hard staying back and watching your friends leave, I think it would be a lot easier to say goodbye if we were leaving the same time as our friends. The good news is a group of us have started planning a trip to go to Australia during our Christmas break. We have made so many new friends that are from Melbourne and they have all offered us a place to stay, so we might as well use the opportunity and go visit. As soon as I get home I plan on saving up money for our trip.

I start at a new venue pretty soon, I think I’m heading to Creekside which is where all the downhill skiing takes place. I’m definitely excited to be at an actual venue rather than camp, hopefully I will be able to handle the work! I start Monday so we will see how it goes!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Week 6

This past week has been great. We have been getting to know the interns somewhat. Corey, Angela, Jessica, and Ashely are definitely my favorites. Its been somewhat of a hard adjustment with them here. They are all stationed at different venues, except the camp, so I didn't get an intern to train. The other USC students though have been having to train the new interns. I think this caused some problems and some of the USC people felt like the new interns were trying to take over. Other than that the interns have been doing a pretty good job...Classes are almost over which I'm kind of happy about- I didn't think the classes we had t go to were that beneficial, but not entirely, some of the speakers were very interesting and had a lot of insight into the business.

The best part of my week was watching USA beat Canada in the preliminary round. I cant believe we won. Steph and I went to town earlier than Kate and Nikki. We went to the American store and got foam hats and foam fingers that had USA written all over them. The foam hats we got were these over sized cowboy looking things and I swear we had at least 10 people come up and ask to take a picture with us, and then there were some who just took pictures of us without even asking. We should have started charging for a picture with us, I felt like we were famous! We got to town a little later then we wanted to so everywhere was packed. We ended up watching it on one of the TVs in the village with a ton of Canadians. When we won every Canadian was so mad and there was a small group of Americans that started chanting and of course we were part of that group! ....I was never into hockey really before I got to Whistler, but now I think its one of my favorite sports. Ryan Kesler is my favorite player on the USA team and he plays for the Canucks!

I cant believe the Olympics are half way over. It seems like we got to Whistler just yesterday. Its sad to say that I dont think I'll be sad when they are over. It has definitely been a great experience and I have definitely learned a lot, but the Olympics is something that comes and goes and its not very sad once its over! I think for the most part it has been a success to the outside viewer. On the inside I have definitely noticed some things that went wrong with planning and how things could have been put together better, but as long as the spectators think things are working great I guess that's a good thing. Anyways, we are now halfway through the Olympics! I cant wait until the final hockey game...We just have to beat Sweden in the next round! Keep watching the games!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Week 5

This past week we had new interns arrive at camp. They are the Johnson and Whales interns and they moved into our cabin, so we went from having nine people in our cabin to eighteen people. It was definitely an adjustment, as if we werent cramped in there already! It is definitely nice to have them around so we, the USC students, can have some days off to go see some events and stuff. Since Christine, Sarah , and I are at camp we didnt get any new interns in the office, but everyone at the other venues did. They had to train them and show them the ropes. I set up an adventure with Paul to go to Cypress Mountain where all the snowboarding takes place. Normally some of us have class and on class days we go and tour a different venue. I set up a trip to Cypress for the USC students, so we could go see the Mens Halfpipe Semifinals and Finals. Some of us had class and the rest got some of the other interns to cover their shifts.

When we went to Cypress we got to see both the semifinals and finals. We left the camp around 1:30 and the semifinals started around 4:00. Cypress is a pretty cool venue, I think I like it a lot because Im interested in snowboarding. The only problem with Cypress is the way the grand stands were set up. VANOC originally predicted there to be snow at Cypress, which was not the case, so they had to rearrange the way the grand stand was set up. In order to go to the restroom, get food, buy merchandise, one would have to walk down hundreds and hundreds of stairs and then they would have to walk back up hundreds and hundreds of stairs to get back to their seets. In between the semifinals and finals I was hungry so I had to make the trek up and down the steps with food in my was not fun! I cant complain too much because I think I deifnitely got to see one of the best competions of the Olympics. I got to get a picture with Tony Hawk and I got to see Shaun White win the gold, and the other fellow American, Scott Lago, win the bronze! It was definitely an amazing experience that I will never forget! Those were the highlights of my week and I cant wait for the hockey to start! Go USA!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Week 4

So far Ive had a pretty good week. Last Thursday I went snowboarding for the first time, and it was quite an experience. Luckily my friend Kate and a guy that works for Cleanevent, Adrian, went up the mountain with me and taught me somewhat how to snowboard. It took me three hours to get down the mountain the first time, but the second time it only took me an hour, which was a major improvement. The second time down I started to get the hang of it. Luckily a guy I work with let me borrow his snowboarding gear, so that saved me some money. I definitely had a great time and I am hoping to go again before I leave!

Work has pretty much been the same. I’ve learned a few new thins in the office, but other than that it has pretty much been the same things, time sheets, daily reports, transport, accreditation, etc. We got a new schedule for the office, and I hopefully will get a chance to get out of the office more so than I have in the previous week. Unfortunately, if I do want to go to other venues it will have to be before or after my shifts which means most likely I will have to work 12-15 hour days. I’m not complaining because I am getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

We now have classes incorporated into our schedules, and during our class times we have guest speakers and we get to tour all the venues. On Tuesday I had class and the owner of the company, Paul Lovett, came and spoke to us for a few hours, and then we got to go take a tour of the Athletes Village. The Athletes Village is really cool. There are obviously athletes everywhere which is pretty cool. On the housing in the Village, the athletes have their flags up representing their countries which is pretty neat to see the team pride!

Today is supposed to be my day off but I decided to come to the Athletes Village and get the experience that the others get to work at a venue. They had a parade today and the athletes walked through the village with all their team gear on. The parade was for the athletes as they head off to Vancouver for the Opening Ceremony tonight. Unfortunately it has been a sad day, because of the luge accident that happened at the Whistler Sliding Center. Nodar Kumaritashvili from Georgia passed away today from the accident, so everyone should keep his family in friends in your thoughts and prayers! Other than the sad news, today has been pretty interesting. I enjoy working at the Athletes Village and I look forward to checking out all the other venues. I think I will be heading to the Sliding Center on Sunday so we will see how that goes. Until then I hope everyone enjoys watching the Olympics!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Week 3

Last week we made our new schedule for work. Starting next week most everyone will work every day at his or her venue. Since three of us have been stuck in the office we get two days out of the week to go to other venues and see what everyone else has been doing. There are two shifts for the office now which are from 5am-2pm and 2pm-11pm. The three of us in the office, Christine, Sarah and I rotate to work different shifts and we each get different days off. With the new schedule I have Thursdays and Sundays to check out other venues and see what everyone else has been doing.

Before we made our schedule I was getting a little frustrated that we hadn’t really had a chance to get out and see the other venues, so I emailed the project manager and asked him if I could shadow him for a day. So this past Tuesday I got to go to Cypress Mountain with Craig Madigan, the project manager, Cypress is about an hour and a half away from Whistler and it is where all the snowboarding events will take place. On Tuesday Craig came and got me around 6:30am to head to Cypress. While driving Craig had a chance to tell me about how he got to project manager and I got a chance to learn more about the business. I found out that Paul Lovett, the owner of the company makes the offer and receives it and then after that he hands the project over to Craig and lets Craig put the pieces of the puzzle together. Craig told me how they make changes in the contracts that are signed and he told me about how contracts can be negotiated and changed. I learned more about what all goes in to project managing and how facility management is different than project managing.

On the way to Cypress it was nice to get a chance to talk to Craig and get to know him a little better and all that he does. Now Cypress hasn’t seen snow in awhile, VANOC has to bring in hay bales to stack on top of one another because they predicted it to snow quite a bit and it hasn’t at all. Helicopters have to pick up these hay bales and place them in the appropriate spots, and then they have to bring in snow blowers and snow from another mountain to put over these hay bales. It has been a tedious process and a costly one at that. Anyways, like I said there has there is normally no snow at Cypress, but Tuesday morning it decided to snow and the crew got a few inches of snow they needed to shovel. Cleanevent is responsible for making sure the bleachers, steps, general walking area etc. is clear of snow. In order to make it easier for the workers, when it snows, there are supposed to be plastic coverings over the bleachers so the snow can slide down them and then can be shoveled at the bottom. The managers got a little too comfortable with it not snowing at Cypress, and they were unprepared for the snow. They didn’t have many of their plastic coverings over the bleachers which what should have been a few hours of work caused them the entire day to do. I helped shovel snow as well as Craig in order to speed up the work that was ahead of them. The reason I’m talking about this is because I got to see how Craig handled himself when there was a problem and I got to see how he, as a project manager, fixed the problem. He was very calm and the manager knew what had happened shouldn’t have and he learned a valuable lesson. On the way back in the car, talking to Craig, he said that he likes it when some of the best managers make mistakes, because now that the manager has made that mistake it won’t ever happen again.

Craig wasn’t above picking up a shovel and helping which is something I really respect. When I was talking to him I told him that I think its good he showed the workers he was willing to help. He then said to me, one should help only so much and then steps back and let them finish the work so he will still be portrayed as his or her boss rather than a worker himself. Anyways the whole point of me telling you about my day with Craig is because I think I learned a lot from him about what a project manager does and not only that but I learned a lot about how a good manager should handle a problem calmly, but efficiently.

Other than my day with Craig I have still been dealing with accreditation. In the office we finally got our phone running to take calls and log them in the system. Any phone call we get about a problem that has come up we must log into the system.

Anyways, work has been great, I have definitely learned a lot and I enjoy getting a chance to learn more about the business. Other than work we have all just been getting a chance to know each other. Whistler is great, but prices are starting to rise now that the Olympics are getting closer. The torch arrives in Whistler on Friday, so I’ll get a chance to go see it at one of the venues. Then next week the games start, which I think everyone is ready for them to start! Athletes are starting to move into the Athletes Village and some of the Bob Sled teams have started practicing. I think it’s all starting to become real!

We have gone out in the village a few times and it’s been lots of fun but as the games are getting closer we are working longer and we all have different shifts, so I imagine once the games start we won’t have too much free time. Tomorrow is one of my last days off so I am going snowboarding with Kate early in the morning. I’m really looking forward to it, hopefully I don’t fall too much! Luckily I was able to borrow a snowboard, boots, pants, etc from some of the snowboarders in camp. Im pretty excited, it should be “good fun” as the Australians would say!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week 1

Hey everyone. I just decided to do a blog-it makes it a lot easier for me to tell everyone at once what I have been up to!

The first week we have really just settled in and we are getting used to living in a trailer. The other day we went to walmart to get drawers, mirrors, hooks etc for our room to make it a little bit more livable. There are 10 of us living in the trailer right now, but apparently 7 more are coming today. Unfortunately the ten of us have taken over the trailer so I'm not exactly sure how we are going to fit seven more people in it, but I guess we will figure it out! Even though our living situation doesn't sound that great, we are making the best of it. We have an amazing view of the mountains...definitely not too bad waking up and seeing mountains every morning!

The first few days we were here we just checked out Whistler and got to know the people living at the camp. All of us USC people have been getting along really well and we have all made lots of new friends since we have been here. We started work on Tuesday and we are all scheduled at different sites. Unfortunately I have been scheduled at the camp, but we will switch it up next week, so maybe Ill get to go to the Athletes Village or the Medals Plaza!

At work I have been learning about the system Clean Event uses. Ive been dealing with accreditation, so basically I have been in charge of making sure people get accredited in order to have access to all the Olympic sites. The first day of work was a little overwhelming, but I'm getting the hang of it. Gabby, my boss will give me stuff to do and half the time I have no idea what I'm doing, but somehow I haven't managed to screw anything up yet! The owners, managers, workers of Clean Event are great...I haven't met one person I don't like. Hopefully if this internship goes well next summer I will be able to work with them again somewhere else in the world!

Its been raining ever since we arrived to Whistler on Jan 7th, but yesterday it snowed! It hasn't stopped snowing since! My boss let me off early so I could go play in the snow. When everyone else got back from their sites we had a huge snowball fight, built snowmen, made snow angels and hiked up the mountain. It was so much fun, but I was soaked after it was all over with. I got nailed in the face by a pretty hard snowball, but we had tons of fun acting like children.

Anyways the first week of work wasn't bad- we have off this weekend so hopefully I will be able to get some snowboarding in for the first time...that should be interesting!