Youthful Games volunteers in leadership roles
Temi Odunuga has assumed the position as the Medical Services Co-Lead at the Meridian Centre for the the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games along with Christabel Oghinan. Submitted photo
Youth will be served and youth will be serving when the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games are held next Aug. 6-21 in Niagara.
The massive volunteer base required to host the 2022 Games will have a strong representation of teens and young adults and several young people have already taken on leadership roles within the volunteer pool.
Among those, Christopher Young will serve as the Volunteer Services Lead at Brock Sports Facilities and Temi Odunuga has assumed the position as the Medical Services Co-Lead at the Meridian Centre along with Christabel Oghinan.
Young, a 24-year-old St. Catharines native and St. Francis grad, heard about his position while completing a marketing diploma at Niagara College. He is now doing a health science diploma at Fanshawe College and is planning to start a neuroscience degree at Brock in September.
“I was excited that we are hosting such a large-scale sporting event in Niagara and I applied to it, went though the interviewing process and here we are,” he said.
Young describes the Games as an amazing opportunity for the area.
“It is a multisport event and it’s hosting elite athletes who, in the future Olympic cycles, could potentially be going to the Olympics,” he said. “It is a real inspiring opportunity for the residents of Niagara, both for athletes and for people who may not be in athletics but will have the opportunity to see high level athletics and performances right in their backyard.
“We don’t often get the ability to see an Olympic Games or world championships but this is a pretty big event for Canada.”
In his role as the Volunteer Services Lead at Brock Sports Facilities, Young is effectively the liaison between Brock Sports and the Games’ Volunteer Services Committee. He meets with the main committee once a month and then meets with his venue team to ensure all the different positions on the committee are up to date with the things they need to be doing.
Brock Sports facilities to be used for Games include the rugby fields and the aquatic centre. Brock will host rugby sevens, swimming and diving.
Young estimates about 400 volunteers will be required at Brock.
“Recruiting is an ongoing process and they originally opened up the applications for leadership positions and as we get closer to the Games more and more applications open up depending on the role and the amount of planning that is involved with it,” Young said.
He expects the volunteers at Brock to come from the general Niagara population and Brock University and Niagara College students.
“I’m sure Brock is doing everything it can to recruit from the student population and even faculty members, but I think it will be a mix of community and students and faculty.”
A competitive gymnast growing up, Young is most excited to be involved with the diving competition.
“I did diving for a little bit after I retired from gymnastics and I think it is a really amazing sport and a great way to transition to another sport for athletes who are doing gymnastics, cheerleading or any sort of acrobatic sport.”
He encourages everyone, young and old, to volunteer for the event.
“With the Canada Summer Games, there is a position for everyone no matter what your background is or what you have experience in,” he said. “I think every position provides an experience of responsibility and ownership and it is really great way to get involved in the community.”
It also is a good way to boost a younger person’s resume.
“It is a great thing that will help set you apart from other applicants in jobs, in schooling or whatever young people are looking forward to or what their goals are. It is always good to be able to include different volunteering opportunities that not everyone may have,” Young said.
Odunuga, a 21-year-old Brampton native who is studying medical sciences at Brock University, applied for her position because of her interest in health care and her desire to end up with a career in medicine.
“I thought that this role would really help me build some skills that I will need to excel in my future career and one good thing about the medical venue lead position is that we are going to be responsible for planning the medical services and we get to collaborate with other venue leads as well as other medical volunteers and people who are working within the Niagara health system,” she said. “It is a real cool opportunity to also take a leadership role and I do love the sport of basketball.”
The Meridian Centre will play host to the men’s and women’s basketball events and that made Odunuga ever more ecstatic about being chosen for the position.
“I enjoy watching the sport but I cannot play basketball for the life of me,” she said, with a laugh. “It is one of the few sports I actually enjoy sitting down and watching. In my volunteer position, I wanted to be in a venue where I would be able to watch a sport that I actually enjoyed. I wanted to have fun while I did my volunteer work.”
She can’t wait for the Games to start.
“I am excited to meet the volunteers, but I am so excited to see the actual day come and meet the athletes,” he said. “It is going to be a great experience considering we have been at home for so long.
Odunuga’s role will see her overseeing the medical volunteer team and also serving as part of the Meridian Centre’s planning committee for the medical services that will be needed during the Games. How many volunteers will be required has yet to be determined. Odunuga said her committee will be looking for people with first aid training and athletic therapists.
“Our goal is to ensure there are medical services for people attending the event because we believe the teams will be coming with their own physiotherapists to attend to their teams.”
She is encouraging everyone to get involved.
“Being a volunteer with medical services is going to be a fun experience, especially if you’re interested in health care or if you are just interested in meeting a group of great people,” Odunuga said. “You will get to learn so much, you will meet great people and it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To have it in the Niagara region is a bonus and you will build skills you can use in your future positions.”
Anyone looking to be a volunteer at the Canada Summer Games shield visit its website at https://niagara2022games.ca.
As of mid-April, people interested in volunteering were being asked to sign up on a communication list so they can be notified when the volunteer portal opens. All interested volunteers will be able to apply for Games-time roles through this online portal.
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