December 19, 2014

Volunteers

The Iditarod Trail Committee, Inc. is a 501 C (3) organization supported by sponsors, members and volunteers. Your contribution to “The Last Great Race on Earth” is vital to the sustainability of the organization. If you are a volunteer and not an ITC member, we would encourage you to become one. Your membership keeps the heritage and tradition of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race alive for future generations to enjoy. Several volunteer positions are reserved for ITC members.  Become a member.

*Registration Form:  Start, Restart, Race and Year Round Volunteering

*Registration Form:  Nome/Finish

 

After registration, there is often a wait time for response from most coordinators until after the first of the year.  Do not expect to hear back from a coordinator until early January or later.

All volunteers are required to pick up Race Credentials and sign a release form (PDF 44k) before checking in with individual coordinators for assignments. Preference for several volunteer assignments are reserved for ITC Members.  Consider joining if you are not a member.  There is a mandatory $10.00 registration fee for volunteers who are not ITC members.  (*Waived for current Iditarod Trail committee members, see membership information at this link.) This  ensures that all volunteers have coverage under the insurance plan, described below.

  • The ITC secondary accident insurance plan provides certain benefits, including medical expense coverage, in the event that an individual is injured while performing volunteer duties/responsibilities on behalf of the race. In the event of an incident resulting in injury, immediately report to your coordinator to fill out an incident report. This must be done within 24 hours of the incident in order to be submitted to our insurance company.

The volunteer desk will be opened at the Millennium Hotel in Anchorage from Monday, February 23th – Wednesday, March 11th, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM.  For those volunteering only in Nome, for your convenience, a volunteer desk will be set up in the Mini Convention Center beginning March 9th.  Nome volunteers need not register at the Millennium registration desk.

Volunteers looking for housing while in Anchorage, consider supporting race sponsor, the Millennium Alaskan Hotel.  Check with the Millennium when making a reservation for a discount to volunteers.

Information for those applying for volunteer positions with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Thank you for your interest to become an Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Volunteer!  There are a variety of volunteer opportunities  involved with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. After you have read this information, please click on the volunteer form, check ‘agree’, and learn more. 

It’s important that you take the time to decide what volunteer activities you want to be involved with before filling out your volunteer forms. Read the informationon this page to help you make your decisions.  When you’ve made your choice(s), click on the appropriate volunteer form for Anchorage/Wasilla/Willow – (Start/ReStart/Year Round) or  Nome.  Fill out the form and click submit! It’s that easy!  (See links below to register.)  When you review the volunteer forms, you’ll note that there is contact information provided for some areas but it is not necessary for you to contact the coordinator unless you have a question that can’t be answered on this page or on the form.  Coordinators will contact you.  If you contact coordinators with questions, do not assume you have registered.  It is essential that you fill out the application regardless of any commitment by a coordinator in order for you to volunteer for the race and for the ITC to have your credentials prepared when you arrive to register.  You are not considered an official volunteer unless the coordinator has contacted you. 

After your volunteer form is submitted, your information on the form is sent to the volunteer coordinators.  Please be patient. Most of our volunteer coordinators are volunteers as well.  They begin contacting volunteers in January and conclude in mid to the end of February.  Those selected to work will be contacted.  Please remember that we often get more volunteers than jobs and some areas fill quickly.   Email contact for many of the coordinators can be found on the form you fill out to apply.  If you’ve already applied for a position and have not heard from the coordinator or you have a question and wish to contact someone, please go back to the form and located the coordinator’s contact information.   In advance, thanks for registering to volunteer.  The volunteers are the backbone to this race.  We greatly appreciate your registering to volunteer.  Apologies to those of you who may not get selected to volunteer this year.

Important Note: Any volunteer working on the trail that may fly with the Iditarod Air Force, must be a member of the Iditarod Trail Committee.  Click here to view membership levels and to join.

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the Musher Drawing Banquet!  Enjoy a casual dinning experience with all of the 2014 Iditarod mushers, take pictures, get autographs, and watch as they draw for their start position.

Date: Thursday Evening, March 5, 2015
Time: Doors open at 5:00
Where: Dena’ina Center, 600 West 7th, Downtown Anchorage
Cost: $82.00
Tickets: Click here:  Banquet Tickets

Information regarding housing needs and offerings for people coming to the race:

  • The ITC cannot pay for volunteer transportation or lodging. We recommend you stay at the Millennium Hotel, our 24/7 Race Headquarters.  This is the best place to stay to be a part of the race action. 

Anchorage, Wasilla, Willow and the Trail — Volunteer Opportunities

Race Headquarters at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel (3/2 — 3/24)

The ITC’s Official Race Headquarters during the majority of the race is the Millennium Alaskan Hotel, located at 4800 Spenard Road, Anchorage, Alaska. The Millennium is the hub of all Iditarod activity before teams begin arriving in Nome. When you click on the volunteer form, you’ll find a number of volunteer activities that take place at the Millenniuim. You may want to consider volunteering for more than one activity.  We ask that you number your choices in order of preference

Volunteer Registration Desk (2/24 — 3/12)

As volunteers come into the Millennium Hotel for the first time, they need to check in at the Volunteer Registration Desk to confirm their volunteer information and receive their credentials. A team of three people per shift, (4 hour shifts) will be needed beginning Saturday Feb.24th through March 12th. The desk will be open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm daily. Volunteers need to be comfortable with a computer for data input and provide volunteers with assistance in a professional manner.  Our volunteers are essential to staging the Iditarod and we’re grateful for each volunteer!  Training for the registration desk will be provided during the first shift.

Call Center (Formerly called: Phone Room) Volunteer (3/2 — 3/24)

Our call center serves as a customer service opportunity as well as an opportunity to help race fans with questions that they may have about the race. The Call Center begins its activity during business hours the week before the race. On the first Saturday in March, volunteer activity ramps up considerably with as many as seven volunteers manning telephones and computers per shift around the clock. This activity lasts for two weeks or a little longer. Along with helping trouble shoot Insider and website questions, volunteers answer questions about the race, the mushers, and other Iditarod related topics. Our call center will assist race fans and customers with a variety of questions, from technical assistance to general information.

Computers are located at each work station so volunteers have instant access to the Internet to assist race fans with customer service, technical assistance, or provide other requested information. All volunteers are provided with training, resources, and information to assist them in their job.

Shifts are usually four hours each.

Trainings for volunteers are February 26th at 10 a.m., March 1st at 6 p.m. and March 7th at 10 a.m. Please plan to attend one of these training sessions. Your time spent training will help you function in a confident and business-like manner.

Race Stats (Computer Input) Volunteer (3/7 — 3/24)

A tremendous amount of data is constantly coming in from the trail via email. Reports about each team, when they arrive at each checkpoint, when they leave, and how many dogs are all a part of the information flow that needs to be inputted and posted on www.iditarod.com. Race Stats volunteers must have computer experience and be at least 18 yrs. old. They must be dependable, detail oriented, have good typing skills and be able to compose and send emails using Microsoft Outlook. This department is located at the Millennium Hotel. Work begins on the evening of Restart day and concludes when the last team arrives in Nome. Six hour shifts begin at 6a.m., 12 p.m., 6 p.m. and 12 midnight. Two volunteers are needed per shift. Training is provided during your first shift. There is no need to attend a special training session.

Merchandise Sales Volunteer (2/19 — 3/22)

Merchandise sales is a very important part of the Iditarod’s fundraising activities. During the race, sales at the Wasilla Headquarters, Fifth Avenue Mall Iditarod Shop, and through mail order continue as they do year round. Additionally, the ITC sets up a retail sales outlet at the Millennium  and in Nome, Alaska at the Mini Convention Center. Merchandise sales at the Millennium generally opens in early February and closes March 22, the day of the banquet in Nome. The Millennium sets up a great area for Iditarod’s merchandise sales in the lobby. If you enjoy visiting with people from all over the world, this could be a great volunteer opportunity. During the busiest times, there may be a need for as many as five or six volunteers during a shift. Minimal training in advance or on first shift may be required. Additional help may be needed for setup and shift coverage during February, before the race week begins.

Dropped Dog Volunteer (3/7 — 3/24)

Dropped dogs is the term used to describe the canine athletes who have been part of a musher’s team during the race and have been dropped out of the race at one of the checkpoints for one reason or another. These athletes are transported back to Anchorage. They arrive in Anchorage at either Ted Steven’s International Airport or on Lake Hood just behind the Millennium. Dog Drop volunteers assist in helping the dogs de-plane and the provide care for them until either they are picked up by their musher’s designated handler or are taken out to Hiland Mountain Correctional Center where they are cared for by inmates until they are picked up by handlers. The Dog Drop volunteers are involved in caring for the dogs as well as contacting handlers to schedule pickups and maintaining records of each canine athlete in their care.

Race Communications  (Comms)

Race Headquarters Communications (HQ Comms)  Dates 3/7 – 3/24

HQ Comms is at the Millennium Hotel in Anchorage. It operates in 6-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, starting before the Ceremonial Start and finishing a few days after the last musher gets to Nome. Each 6 hour shift is staffed by 2-3 volunteers. HQ Comms works to monitor and disseminate communications between the checkpoints and HQ, as well as keeping track of personnel movement along the trail and providing support to other departments.

There are other miscellaneous Comms related jobs both pre- and post- race. These include several organizational tasks, moving furniture and sorting bins.  

HQ Comms volunteers must be at least 18 years old, dependable, organized, have familiarity with Windows, Microsoft Office (Word & Excel) and Outlook, and be a team player.  Volunteers must attend a Comms training session prior to the race.

Trail Communications (Trail Comms)  Dates determined by assignment.

Trail Comms volunteers are assigned to checkpoints where conditions may be less than ideal: sleeping on the floor, no running water (no showers) and some demanding physical activity, all with minimal sleep. Assignments last from 4-14 days.  

Trail Comms volunteers need to have the same skill set as HQ Comms. Teamwork is essential. Prerequisites are experience in both HQ Comms and Race Stats and must hold an ITC dog handler card and be an ITC member. Volunteers must also attend a Comms training session prior to the race. 

Most Trail Comms positions are filled by returning Comms volunteers.   

Trail Position

Trail positions for volunteers are based mainly on skill sets and experience. Please take a minute and read the information on the registration form. Trail positions require a high demand for physical activity. If you would like to apply for a trail position, please check that box and we’ll talk to you about it, but know that most trail positions are filled with returning volunteers.  (IF you are registering for COMMS you do not need to check Trail Position on your registration form.)

*PLEASE NOTE: You must be a member of the Iditarod Trail Committee to be a volunteer on the trail. (Trail Comms, Trail Positions, etc.)

Veterinarian Clerical Assistants  THIS AREA is filled in advanced by trained volunteers for the most part.

Race Start Day:  Saturday, 3/7

  • Musher Parking – Early Saturday Morning, am to approx 10 am, Provide early morning security and assist Mushers in locating their staging/parking place.
  • Trail Guard – Public Relations/Safety – Positions available from 4th Ave to BLM Headquarters. Duties include keeping trail clear of pedestrians; adding snow back to the trail at roadway/trail crossings.
  • Security – Public Relations/Safety,  Duties include keeping public separate from race participants, staffing public crossings of staging areas and keeping the trail open within the staging area.
  • VIP Liaisons – Public Relations, Assist Idita-Riders and family members in locating their mushers. Provide escort to Public Officials and Honored Guests.
  • IditaRider Volunteers to assist with a wide variety of areas surrounding this program.
  • Dog Handlers – Special training & certificate required. Volunteers should be physically fit!  Volunteers will assist mushers from parking space to Starting Line on 4th Ave.
  • Assist wherever needed.
  • End of Anchorage Start at the BLM – Volunteers are needed in multiple positions: Dog Handlers, Security, Trail Guard and VIP Liaison. Volunteers should be familiar with Anchorage and have transportation.

ReStart Day:  Sunday, 3/8

  • Load Truck – Saturday 3/7 – Start Day – Wasilla ITC
  • Unload Truck – Monday after the Restart – Wasilla ITC
    Involves loading all equipment and fencing at the storage facility and transporting it by truck to Willow and unloading it. This takes places on Saturday. The equipment is then reloaded on to the truck on Sunday evening after the event and transported back to Wasilla, where it will be unloaded and returned to storage Monday morning.
  • Early Morning Setup/Musher Parking – Provide early morning security and assist Mushers in locating their staging/parking place. Includes assembly of fencing to secure staging and chute areas as well and set up of other equipment required at the event. These activities may occur on the day before or the early morning of the Start and/or Restart.
  • Trail Guard – A trail guard is an individual that would be placed at a street or road crossing to control vehicle as well as pedestrian traffic. These locations typically are somewhat further away from the re-start line. The goal being to ensure the safety of both dog teams as well as spectators. Requirements may include the ability to walk through deep snow or lift and carry heavy objects or add snow back to the trail at crossings.
  • Security – Public Relations/Safety -Typically positioned at public crossings in and around the chute and staging area. Their goal is to keep the public separated from the competitors, controlling the flow of spectators passing through those crossings, maintaining the integrity of fencing, and keeping the trail cleared for the competitors.
  • Traffic Control/Parking
  • Dog Handlers – Volunteers should be physically fit and will assist mushers from parking space to Starting Line.  Dog handler’s card is required. Additional information and an opportunity to sign up for the Dog Handler Class is provided on the volunteer form when you register.
  • Tear Down – Sunday Evening

 

Nome —  Volunteer Opportunities – 3/15 – 3/23

*Attention Volunteers:  IF you are going to register to work in Nome, make your reservations for lodging well in advanced.  Do not wait to be contacted about a volunteer position that you have sign up to help with so you have a place to stay in Nome.  We do not provide lodging for you.

  • 24 Hour Office Help: People to work around the clock in the office, taking messages, answering phones, keeping track of mushers, and taking care of necessary behind the scenes details.
  • Sales:  Assisting with sales at the ‘Nome Iditarod Store’.
  • Dog Lot
  • Chute Security & Crowd Control
  • Banquet Sales
  • Banquet Set-up
  • Banquet Worker
  • End of Race Tear Down
  • Postmark Commemorative Mail
  • Finish Chute Set-up (need volunteers there the weekend before the finish)

Other Opportunities at Race Time and Throughout the Year

  • Make Foot Ointment – Wasilla HQ (January date to be determined)
  • People Food Drop – Airland Transport, Anchorage (Friday, 2/20)
  • Straw Drop – Airland Transport, Anchorage (Thursday, 2/12)
  • Musher Food Drop – Airland Transport, Anchorage  (Wednesday, 2/18,  Thursday, 2/19)
  • Hauling Food Drop Load Out – Willow Airport, Anchorage (Saturday, 2/21, Sunday, 2/22)
  • Jr. Iditarod – Wasilla — Saturday. February 28 and Sunday, March 1
  • Media Conference – Millennium (Wednesday, 3/4)
  • Banquet Hostess — Dena’ina Center (Thursday, 3/5)
  • Office Help – Wasilla, ITC HQ (various times throughout the year)
  • Ballot Counting – Wasilla (location TBD), 7 AM, (Saturday, 6/27)
  • Help at Volunteer Picnic – Wasilla,  ITC HQ (Friday, 6/26, Saturday, 6/27)
  • Unloading Trailers at ITC HQ – Dates to be announced, generally 2nd week in April

*Please note, dates subject to change.  Please check back and refer to the ITC Calendar for additional updates.

 FAQ’S

* After you have turned in your registration form, It may be several weeks before you are  contacted by a coordinator.  Watch your spam mail or junk mail  in case an email from a coordinator goes to your junk mail instead of reaching you.  You might not be contacted by a coordinator until after the holidays.

* You become a volunteer for a specific job after a coordinator has contacted you and you have accepted the job assignment.  We are grateful for the large number of individuals who register to volunteer each year.  We sometimes get more volunteers for certain areas than needed.  Signing up for several different job areas increases our ability to place you in a volunteer position.  If you aren’t selected, thanks so much for registering and supporting the race.  We hope you sign up again in a future year.

 *If you forgot to add a work area or information to your form, please contact djohnson@iditarod.com and have your registration form updated  instead of filling out a brand new form.

 *The first place to check in when you arrive at the Millennium is our Welcome Center at the Registration Desk where you will sign your release form, pay ITC membership fee if necessary, pay your insurance fee if you are not a member, pick up your volunteer hat and name badge. 

* You must be 18 or older to volunteer

* Sign up for dog handling only if you can easily and safely run 4 city blocks in powdery snow while holding on to a dog in the team.  You must be able to keep pace with an energetic and excited dog team.  This job is not easy.

 *Questions?  Contact djohnson@iditarod.com (Volunteer Coordinator)