Stefano Raus – I Volunteer Because... "My Effort Gives Positive Energy to Others!"

This story is supported by the Erasmus+ Sport Programme of the European Union.

We have been introducing our great Volunteers in a series of blog posts. The volunteers have filled out questionnaires that ask important questions, such as “What has volunteering given to You?” We hope their answers and experiences inspire you to get involved with Sport Volunteering and SCULT Movement. 

We are excited to introduce our friends and dedicated global Volunteers. By dedicating their time, energy, and expertise, they will help to make a positive impact on the lives of many people. 

Today we introduce Stefano Raus, who is a passionate orienteer. He started volunteering at the age of 13 as an instructor for his speed-skating club. Here comes his inspiring story!

Why are you a sports volunteer, what motivates you?

Starting from childhood, I’ve practiced many sports in my life. Even today, I'm an active athlete in orienteering. I love cross-country skiing, athletics and speed skating as well. In sports, you learn how to respect people and make new friends. You travel, explore the nature, and most of all, you live a healthier life. I started volunteering for my speed skating club as an instructor, organizing some minor competitions since I was 13 years old. I like to help out in sport events because I see how my effort always gives a positive feeling to people taking part in the event. I also learn a lot every time, both from the sport point of view and from the life skills point of view (communication, deadlines, my own limits, overcome difficulties, satisfactions, etc.). 

I volunteer especially in orienteering events because that's the sport I love most, so the main motivation comes from this. Also, I enjoy making new mates to orienteer with and travel around the world, visiting different terrains and cities. Volunteering at events gives you many possibilities that you don’t have when you are just spectating. Of course, you are not sitting all the time enjoying the competitions. Instead, you live the event in a different way. 

What was the Event that gave you the boost to continue volunteering?

In 2013, three friends and I decided to go and take part at the Fin5 (5 days orienteering competition). That year, the event was held at the same time and on the same terrain as the World Orienteering Championships in Vuokatti. So as soon as we found out they were searching for volunteers, we realized we could do it all: volunteer, spectate at the World Champs and run the 5 Days competitions. It turned out to be amazing, the organization was perfect with free transport around the locations, free accommodation, nice clothing for volunteers, lots of friendly people and the spectacular World Champs. 

It happened that on the way back to Helsinki, we stopped in the house of a new friend – a volunteer who hosted us for a night before our departure flight. Even though it was 5 years ago, we still meet up with this orienteer at some competitions in Finland. I realized how difficult it must have been to organize such an event, so I got a big boost to volunteer more and organize orienteering events in Italy, my country, as well. And I did, a lot, believe me. 

What is your next volunteering challenge?

I will hopefully be a FISU international volunteer at the World University Orienteering Championships 2018 in Kuortane (FIN). I still have to be nominated, as this is a more serious program, but the chances are good. My task would be either forest/orienteering or anti-doping related. After this I will probably volunteer at the World Orienteering Champs in Riga in August this summer, and maybe just before that at IRONMAN Tallinn 2018. 

Your most exciting experience as a volunteer?

I think one of the hardest and most exciting experiences was also my most recent. I was a FIS Marketing volunteer during the Lahti Ski Games 2018 that held Cross-Country Skiing, Ski Jump and Nordic Combined World Cup races. We had to install all the advertisement banners in the stadium and along the course. It took us the whole week preceding the competition weekend: we were screwing nails in the banners while freezing at -25°C, but we got to drive ski-doos! That was a first for me. We received a lot of responsibility from the organizers as we were accountable for all the advertisements. Consequently, we had access to all areas in and around the stadium, as well as the ski-jump tower. 

We also had to deal with some language difficulties. The FIS MAG leaders are German and as some of them speak not-so-good English, we occasionally had trouble understanding instructions. When they were not clear, we had to do some jobs twice or change things at the last moment. Then again, the harder the task, the more satisfied you are in the end. 

As a bonus, Italian athletes had good results also. I was fortunate to get a chance to speak with Chicco Pellegrino in the bus on the way to the competition – it was great! He won silver at the recent Winter Olympics and in Lahti he won gold at the World Cup Sprint! 

Why have You chosen the field of sports for Volunteering?

I like sports and sporty people: the environment is always clean (at least in the sport that I practice and volunteer) and there are always spectacular actions. I’m an active person so sport events are my nature – this is where I feel I belong. I like to learn, practice and coach all kinds of sports and I am studying Sports Coaching and Management at the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Finland.

What has volunteering given you?

It has given me a lot of experience and life management skills, that’s also why I like to keep volunteering. I have also improved my English and met a lot of new people who I've become friends with. I had the opportunity to travel around Europe and even Australia, where I was an orienteering coach, a school teacher, a mapper and a volunteer for 7 months last year. So many incredible memories that I will remember for life. I would like to become a sport event manager or a sport organization manager in the future – I think volunteering is at the base of these future opportunities I might get or find, and always a good thing to put in one's curriculum. 

What would you like to say to people who are not volunteering yet?

If you are already an active athlete, do not miss the opportunity to live the sport and the sport events that you love in a different way! If you don’t practice any sport, there are many events that need help of any kind, from building to driving, from first-aid to cheering in a costume, so try out whatever you prefer and hopefully you will find the sport that suits you best. I really suggest to visit the SCULT website, with its wide selection, it is the perfect place to find interesting volunteering opportunities. 

Your Volunteering experiences?

- World Orienteering Championships 2013 in Vuokatti (FIN)

- 5 Orienteering Days of Apennines 2013 in Genova (ITA)

- World Master Games 2013 in Torino (ITA)

- 5 Orienteering Days of Italy 2014 in Trentino (ITA)

- World Orienteering Championships 2014 in Trentino-Veneto (ITA)

- World Orienteering Championships 2015 in Inverness (UK)

- 5 Orienteering Days of Italy 2016 in Trentino (ITA)

- 3 Orienteering Days of Adelaide (AUS)

- ISF World School Orienteering Championships 2017 in Sicily (ITA)

- Tartu Night Run & City Marathon 2017 (EST)

- FISU WUC Ski Orienteering 2018 in Tartu (EST)

- Lahti Ski Games XC-Skiing World Cup 2018 (FIN)

The internationalization process of the World Sport Volunteers Movement is supported by the Erasmus+ Sport programme and the Estonian National Foundation of Civil Society.