By Kat Elsea
With the first Dew Tour event only a few short weeks away, it seemed appropriate to share my experiences—and maybe encourage others to consider following in my footsteps.
Every year at Dew Tour, someone yells at me. Typically, it’s a parent. A mom upset that I can’t allow her to sign a waiver for kids that aren’t hers. A dad angry that I won’t let a group of boys lean over a fifteen-foot drop to get an athlete’s autograph. Or even the drunken father who kept yelling profanities at PLG (and others within the immediate vicinity) as he went to accept his Dew Cup.
It’s often about things I have no control over. Rules that are in place for people’s safety. Regulations decided upon by our sponsors. Common sense.
But that’s just how it is. It’s the trade-off for all of the good things that happen at Dew Tour. Like meeting Kenny Bartram at the Ogio tent in Festival Village four years ago. Being personally thanked by Jamie Bestwick two years ago (and hearing his adorable son tell a joke that left us all in stitches). Gaining the courage and ability to lead groups of your peers so that the tour runs as smoothly as possible.
Every year is an adventure at Dew Tour. Especially for a volunteer.
For the past four years, I have been a volunteer for Playstation Pro held in October in Orlando. I’ve looked forward to it every year.
As a volunteer, I’ve helped direct crowds to their seats, helped keep both spectators and athletes safe, and met a lot of great and hardworking people (and I mean a LOT). I’ve been able to watch the competitions from the very front, the very high, and the very close. I’ve gotten to know some of the staff and some of the athletes on the tour, as well.
All in all, volunteering with Dew Tour is one of the highlights of my year. Even when I end up working much harder than I should. Volunteers are essential to a successful tour stop. They keep things streamlined and allow staff members to focus on other aspects of the events. And there’s a lot of perks, too.
I’ve got t-shirts, hats, credentials, and bandanas galore, plenty of autographs, and quite a few Facebook friends—all from Dew Tour.
But let me wax poetic a little bit more and say that Dew Tour has given me a lot of opportunities as well. I get the chance each year to lead other people and help make the event successful. I get to see things up close and work with some of the best and most talented athletes in the world. And perhaps most importantly, I get to work with people who love what they do, who are passionate about the things they do in life, who inspire me.
Volunteering can be selfish and fun, but it can also be a useful tool and a way to gain experience with hard work, determination, and being part of a team.
This year, I’m not a volunteer. I’m an intern. This year, I’ll still be working hard and be part of a fantastic team. I just won’t be doing it in Orlando.
Kat Elsea is a recent college grad and a four-time Playstation Pro volunteer. She is now an intern for Alli Sports as the Festival Village Venue Manager for this summer’s Dew Tour. She’s an FMX girl through and through, but enjoys a nice double tailwhip when she sees one.