By Nolan Kowal, Sport Performance Specialist
Planning for the 2021 Canada Games in Niagara, Ontario is well underway and Sport Manitoba is once again preparing Team Manitoba to represent our province with pride while aiming for the podium.
Part of this preparation involves recruiting volunteer Mission Staff to help support Team Manitoba throughout their Games journey.
Who Are Mission Staff?
Each sport within Team Manitoba has their own Mission Staff person. They are joined by a medical liaison, communications people, potentially a mental trainer, and the Chef de Mission and Assistant Chef to round out the entire Mission Staff team. They are good communicators who work well in team-oriented environments and who want to build meaningful, long-lasting connections.
“It’s all about relationships,” said Pat Kirby, Sport Manitoba’s Senior Manager of Games and Chef de Mission for Team Manitoba.
With everything they’re depended upon for, Mission Staff play an integral role in making the Canada Games experience a success for Team Manitoba. From helping prep athletes for travel, life at athletes village and competition, to communicating with the parents and media back home, and acting as a liaison between the Host Society (Niagara) and their individual sport team, Mission Staff are immersed in all aspects of the team.
Every step of the orientation process is designed to educate Mission Staff so they can help their athletes focus on achieving their goals.
“What [the athletes] do is second to none, and it’s a real privilege to be part of that,” Kirby said.
What to Expect
Volunteering as Mission Staff is an important time commitment that involves a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation for the event.
“The Team Manitoba Sport Mission Staff role requires a strong eleven-month commitment. There are a couple of pre-Games events before Christmas to get acquainted with your role and meet our key Team Toba partners, which ramp up to weekly communications just prior to Games time with your team (athletes, coaches, managers, and parents) to ensure logistics are looked after. During the Games, be prepared for long days, but don’t worry – the adrenaline will keep you going!” Kirby said.
Being part of a multi-games environment is a unique, exhilarating experience and often becomes a cherished memory. There’s always something going on, and every day is new and exciting. Not only do Mission Staff ensure athletes are well-prepared on and off the field of competition, they also have the opportunity to take in various competition and cultural events and meet people from across the country.
“You get caught up in the atmosphere,” Kirby said.