TO2015 volunteers learn they can drive for the Games TO2015 volunteers learn they can drive for the Games
Potential volunteers for this year’s upcoming TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games found out they have the opportunity to drive for the... TO2015 volunteers learn they can drive for the Games

Potential volunteers for this year’s upcoming TORONTO 2015 Pan / Parapan Am Games found out they have the opportunity to drive for the Transportation department.

Brock University hosted a volunteer recruitment event for the Games last Tuesday. Although most of the event’s attendees had already applied for the Games, it was an opportunity for potential volunteers to gain more knowledge on what to expect once the Games arrive.

Brock students and staff settled into their seats at around 11:00am. They listened to members of the Games talk about three of the 46 departments within the organization. One of the three departments discussed was Transportation.

Jenni Mackenzie, Manager of Feet Training, Scheduling and Transportation, gave information on the role volunteers in her department will be doing during the Games. She says all volunteers will be trained to drive all the sponsored Chevolets and will have the responsibility of picking up and driving athletes, spectators, and equipment to the various venues across the Games’ footprint.

“We are a huge team, one of the biggest and we are one of the first teams to start organizing and one of the last teams to finish organizing. If you think about it, it’s not just Games time we work for,” says Mackenzie. “We need to plan out our routes and pick up athletes, their families from the airport, take them to their hotels in the beginning and make sure things move smoothly.”

The Games’ footprint spans from the Hamilton and Niagara area to Minden Hills in Haliburton, which makes the upcoming Games the largest ever held. Therefore, driving across the footprint will be an adventurous task for any Fleet team volunteer.

In order to volunteer for the Fleet team though, one must be 21 and have a clean driving record before going into training says Mackenzie. She also expects volunteers to clean the vehicles regularly and have good people skills.

“It is a lot like Press Operations where we work behind the scenes,” says Mackenzie. “If you don’t hear anything about us then we are doing a fantastic job.”

If driving does not interest a potential volunteer, there are other departments to participate in.

Elissa Fesyk, the Press Operation’s Project Manager who organizes all the volunteer programs within her department, says volunteers in Press Operations will not be actual reporters during the games. Instead, they will come face-to-face with what reporters do in the field and gain a lot of knowledge of their job’s process.

“Press Operations is a behind the scenes role that creates and manages the spaces for the press, photographers and non-rights holding broadcasters so they can share their stories to the world,” says Fesyk.

“Without these spaces and services, the story does not spread outside of Toronto and the Niagara region or around Ontario because there isn’t a platform to do so. So we have a very important job that you don’t really hear about. It is like Transportation, the less you hear about it during the Games, the better.”

Manager of Operations, Alysha Campell, talked about the Sports Presentation Department and explained that it incorporates everything a spectator witnesses when they come to the Games.

“Sports Presentation is everything you see and hear within the venues. So that is the show, design, delivery, the music, audio, visual and lighting, any field-of-play entertainment that you see and hear,” says Campell. “So as you can see, sports presentation is a very integral part of the Games. It’s really the glitz and glamour of the Games as it’s happening.”

Overall what all the managers are looking for in applicants are people with an enthusiastic attitude and who want to have fun.

“It’s a big team and a massive thing to be a part of,” says Mackenzie. “There are lots of people to meet and get to know and, like it is for most teams, it is good to have a sense of humor. It’s a great job to be in.”

According to the TO2015 Pan Am & Parapan American website, the Games are the world’s third largest international multi-sport competition and Toronto will be hosing it this year from July 10 to 26 and August 7 to 15 for the Parapan Am Games. The site also says it expects 250,000 spectators and tourists to attend, while over 20,000 volunteers are needed to support the Games.

Alison Greco