18 November 2022

Valerie Henn: “We see and experience the event differently

Live an experience and make unique human encounters. Create strong links between volunteers and with the organizing committee. These World Para Athletics Championships – PARIS’23 will undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable memories. To discover the richness of the Volunteer Program, we went to meet several volunteers who worked on different events of the French Handisport Federation.

For this new meeting, we talked with Valerie Henn. At 57, Valerie is an administrative executive. Present at the last Handisport Open Paris, she has already applied to be part of the adventure of the Para Athletics World Championships – PARIS’23. With us, she looks back on her adventure as a volunteer.

Hi Valérie. To begin with, how long have you been volunteering?

Valérie Henn : « I started volunteering to support my son who wanted to get into the sports event business. He was encouraged to try his hand at volunteering and I accompanied him on this path when he graduated from covid. »

How long have you been volunteering with the Handisport Federation?

V.H : « Almost at the same time. That is, a year and a half ago. »

How did you discover the para sport world?

V.H : « As there were few events, we signed up for everything we could find. We discovered several federations, and very quickly we started on the international tournament of para table tennis, in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. And afterwards, we participated in other handisport events. »

What made you want to continue the adventure with the French Handisport Federation?

V.H : « Firstly, it is a federation that is benevolent and grateful to the volunteers. Then, everyone is accessible, whether it is the staff of the organizations or the athletes. And finally, I myself have a disability, even if it is not visible. »

What are the different missions you have done?

V.H : « I had the chance to do many jobs, but what I love are the technical jobs. I have been assigned to doping, accreditation, and the photocopier job, which I particularly enjoyed because we distribute paper results to everyone. I like versatility, so I like to do a lot of things while moving around regularly. »

What has made the biggest impact on you as a volunteer?

V.H : « Because of the different positions you can hold, you see and experience the event differently. You have a global vision and it is much more enriching. But what stands out for me the most are the human relationships. You can recreate social links and a network thanks to the different events. »

Did you make connections with other volunteers as you went along?

V.H : « Of course! With the knowledge that I could make, we created a mini group on which we give each other information on different events that we made. We also take news between us and it makes us happy to find ourselves in event. Basically, we are like a family. »

What would you like to say to the general public to get them involved in the World Championships volunteer program?

V.H : « Come along! It will bring you a lot. Give meaning to what you do and get involved in handisport in general and especially in the world championships! »