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First Week of my Pan Am games volunteering

Hi LU Family!

I hope that everyone is having a fun and eventful summer no matter where they are between their winter and fall session at Laurentian. I also hope that one of the many things, places, and event you have gotten around to doing is enjoying the Toronto 2015 Pan Am & Para pan Am Games. Be it attending the opening ceremonies, the many free concerts shows put on by PANAMANIA, watching and cheering on our Canadian athletes, taking a stroll through Nathan Philips square, the athletes village or even the CIBC Pan am park, I hope you have or get the chance to experience what I as a To2015 games volunteer gets to experience everyday- Pan Am Fever!!

Toronto city view


For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Pan am Games here are a couple of awesome facts:

  • 41 countries are participating
  • 36 sports are being played
  • Approximately 25000+ volunteers are involved
  • More then 15 sports are qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympic games


For the past couple of months I’ve been preparing for the Pan Am Games by attending multiple training sessions and online tutorials in order to be the best I possibly can be as a volunteer at my two different venues: The Pan Am Ceremonies Venue (Otherwise known as The Rogers center) and the Exhibition center. My journey began in October of 2014 where a short hop and a skip through the internet landed me a volunteer position as an event service sector (EVS) coordinator!!

Two people standing next to poster

Leadership training for my position

 

As of JULY 7th I started my very first shift as a volunteer during the Pan am Games!! I met all my fellow Pan am Ceremonies EVS coordinators as well as all the great EVS team leaders. It was a long but informative day and all coordinators and team leaders left our shift feeling more informed about what we were to face for the dress rehearsal and Opening ceremonies…

A person is smiling while taking a selfie

Leaving my very first shift at the Pan Am ceremonies venue

 

That brings us to JULY 9th: The Dress Rehearsal!

All proceeded as it would for the opening ceremonies, except some small differences. Such as; the spectators were all volunteers (or family and friends of volunteers who could not use their tickets), and the athlete parade was composed of volunteers standing in for the real athletes. Non the less, the day was a huge learning curve but the parts of the opening ceremonies that I did get to see (which was put on by circus de soleil) were absolutely breathtaking.

JULY 10th was the Opening Ceremonies and the kick off to the official start of the Pan Am games.

For both the dress rehearsal and the opening ceremonies my days began at 1 pm and ended at 12:30 pm. Although my days (and the days of all other volunteers) were very long, I had an amazing time. My job was to make sure that my team leads (who were in charge of the hosts) were okay, had proper breaks, and could come to me with any problems that they came across.

The Opening Ceremony stage

The Opening Ceremonies were Amazing!

 Team leaders standing on the side of the road while wearing yellow shirts

My amazing Team leaders and Hosts! I could not have done my job without them.

Although volunteering with the opening ceremonies was extremely rewarding I have to say my favorite part was the very end of the ceremonies.. when the cauldron was being lit and the fireworks went off!! The fireworks display shooting from the CN tower was incredible to watch but even more incredible was what happened just as the fireworks ended…

The streets of Toronto was filled with cheers of absolute joy. You could hear people all over the city from street corner to street corner, collectively yelling at the top of their lungs, and I have to say I was yelling right along with them. Gone were all the negativity that had first surrounded the Pan Am Games, and instead Torontonian‘s seemed to be filled with -what people are now dubbing it- Pan Am games fever.

 

In addition to Opening ceremonies at the Pan Am ceremonies venue I have also begun my shift at my main venue at the Exhibition center, where Volleyball, Roller sports (Figure skating), Handball, Squash, and Racket ball are being played. In the two shifts that I have done so far I’ve done approximately 18 hours and according to my step tracker, I’ve walked half a marathon. I think its safe to say I’m getting a work out I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering and working with people from all over the world (including my favorite place in the world; Australia) and cant wait for my next shift to see all their friendly faces.

When I finish my shifts early enough I get to enjoy all the PNAMANIA shows, food trucks, and everything else that the CIBC Pan am park gets to offer as well as all the other festivities happening all over downtown Toronto. Ever day theres something new going on and its such a great experience.

PNAMANIA show set up outside


So far 5 shifts down and eleven more to go! I cant wait to see what each new day will bring. New faces, new games, new athletes, and new experiences. This Laurentian U student is excited!

Cheers for now everyone!