To some people beyond our borders, Minnesota is known as the land of snow and ice—a land of hearty folks wearing flannel shirts, serving up hot dishes and befriending an affable oversized, blue ox. But anyone who lives here or has simply spent time in Minnesota, knows we are so, so much more.
When the Super Bowl LII comes to town this month, it will bring with it people from around the country and world to watch one of the biggest events in sports. Not only will they be watching the big game on February 4 in U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, their eyes will be on us! To ensure the Super Bowl and the activities surrounding it go off without a hitch and attendees feel welcome, a group of volunteers, with endless amounts Minnesota pride, are tasked with welcoming these out-of-towners.
“Crew 52 (named for Super Bowl 52) is our team of up to 10,000 kind-hearted volunteers, who will be a central part making our Super Bowl a success,” according to the host committee. “Crew 52 volunteers will become the face of Minnesota as we host more than one million visitors during the 10-day festival.”
When Eden Prairie resident Lisa LaCoursiere found out the Super Bowl host committee was recruiting volunteers, she jumped at the chance to serve as a volunteer. “Being a Minnesota native, this is such a great opportunity to spotlight Minnesota,” she says. LaCoursiere is one of 10,000 volunteers who will act as a giant welcome mat in the weeks leading up to the big game. These volunteers will be greeting fans as they arrive at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, directing visitors through the downtown skyways and helping out just about everywhere else a football fan may go. “We keep telling people, we’re going to take Minnesota nice to the next level,” LaCoursiere says.
LaCoursiere has previous experience in human resources, so once she was chosen as one of the lucky volunteers, she was tasked with recruiting others. Some of the qualities she looked for in her interviews with potential candidates included outgoing personalities and a passion for Minnesota and all it entails. One man she spoke with drove 10 hours one way just for the interview.
Chanhassen resident and experienced volunteer Tondi Schoepp is another of the lucky 10,000 to help out at the event. It was a combination of Schoepp’s previous experience and her Minnesota pride that landed her a spot as a Super Bowl volunteer. “I’ve volunteered for years through our community and church,” she says. As a mom of two boys, Schoepp has also been involved with many of her sons’ youth sports teams, including youth hockey, football, basketball and lacrosse.
Michael Howard serves as the communications director for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. He believes people like LaCoursiere and Schoepp will make the Super Bowl experience successful for fans. “I think it’s our volunteers that will make Minnesota a great place to host the Super Bowl,” he says. “There’s so much excitement and enthusiasm.”
Now that all of the volunteers have been chosen, LaCoursiere is looking forward to the main event as the clock ticks down to game time. “I’m really excited to see how this all comes together,” she says. “The event is a three- to four-hour game with years of planning.”