South Korea has a long history of volunteering, one that is based on the traditional spirit of mutual goodness among Korean neighborhoods. It was early in the 1900s that Korea was introduced to the concept and activities of Western volunteering through the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). In the 1960s, volunteering was widely promoted by the Red Cross. In 1988, the sports volunteer spirit picked up great momentum across the country, thanks to the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. In 2006, the Korean government passed the Framework Act on Volunteer Service Activities (FAVSA). Therein, volunteering is defined as “an activity performed by an individual or organization for the benefit of community, country, and human society for nothing in return” (Volunteering Korea, 2018). Sports organizations, however, differ in how they perceive the concept of volunteering. Rather than focusing on public interest, sports organizations perceive volunteer efforts as a marketing vehicle that benefits the organization. The number of volunteers in South Korea has continually increased; as of April 2018, Korea had 12,478,314 people registered as volunteers (male, 5,367,855; female, 7,110,459; Ministry of the Interior and Safety, 2018). The sports volunteering system in South Korea has developed in recent decades along two main streams: (1) hosting large-scale sport events and (2) sports for all. However, the current policy of sports volunteering has several limitations. It is necessary to develop a long-term plan to improve the impact of sports volunteering in Korean society.
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