“Right” you say. Summer probably seems a ways off when it’s so cold outside and you’ve been trudging awkwardly along the narrow trails that pass for sidewalks for several days now.
Or conversely, driving at a snail’s pace so as to miss the many pedestrians who’ve adopted road walking out of necessity.
Thoughts of Mexico may be dancing around in your head to the tune of “La Cucaracha”. You may be viewing summer in Winnipeg as a poor second equating it with bug spray and air conditioning.
Think again, because this summer, you really will be proud to be a Winnipegger.
Come July 28, more than 4,000 athletes and coaches will have converged on our city for the 2017 Canada Games.
The Canada Games are staged like the Olympics so the Summer and Winter events come along every four years, and they’re a BIG deal for up and coming young Canadian athletes.
Steve Nash played on the BC men’s basketball team back in the 1993 Canada Summer Games (and went on to become an eight time NBA All-Star).
Cindy Klassen competed in speed skating for Team Manitoba back in 1995 as well as on Manitoba’s cycling team during the 2001 Games.
And a now all grown up Sidney Crosby, captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, skated on Team Nova Scotia men’s hockey team in the 2003 Games.
Already the offices on Graham Avenue, accessible by the skywalk, are fully staffed. You can get all your Canada Games merchandise here. Everything from the usual t-shirts, hats and hoodies to laptop covers and everything in between; the Games are big.
Do you recognize this guy yet?
You’ll be seeing a lot more of him as the countdown to the Games continues. His name is Niibin (pronounced nee’bin), and he’s the official mascot. He’s been out and about for a few months now and took part in a warm-up exercise with friends at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet this week.
Niibin may be the #1 fan but Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be here to cheer on their teams, and as the Games progress and the competition for medals becomes fiercer, provincial rivalries will be expressed with growing enthusiasm.
Contingents of fans will be celebrating or consoling each other in restaurants and venues around the city.
The second rare convergence this summer: Not only is it the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games, but as we’ve all been hearing, we’re celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday this year!
With the country’s best young athletes competing for medals during the two weeks of the Games, and the Canada 150 events that will be adding to the fun, it really can be billed as ‘the hottest summer in half a century’. Right here. In Winnipeg.
Our city has an approximate population of 793,400 (2015) and the organizers of the games are looking for 6,000 volunteers. Doing the math, one out of every 132 people in this city will be volunteering and having a great time. You just may want to be one of them.
You can even sign up as a family. Each volunteer has to be 16 and older and you’ll each have to fill out your own volunteer application online and have your own email address. It’s an easy process that takes just minutes to complete.
The organizers are aiming to have 20% of the positions filled by fluently bilingual volunteers. They’re hoping Aboriginal volunteers will make up another ten percent. So that leaves 70% of the positions to be filled by English speaking volunteers.
Fluency in any other language, be it Eritrean, Spanish, Ukrainian…or Shona, German, Greek…will be treasured and utilized as it will definitely be a multicultural summer here.
Besides introducing people to our great province, describing your favourite places in the city and occasionally commiserating about the mosquitoes (zanzara in Italian and moskito in German), what else will you be doing when you are volunteering at the Games? Well that depends on you.
You could be working in technology. If you’re a phone and computer geek this could be super fun. Within this department, there are a variety of positions. You could be working as part of the Mobile Tech Support Crew at the Technology Operations Centre or you could be a Help Desk Supervisor.
Both the Tech Support Crew at the Technology Commissioning Centre, and the Tech Support Crew at the venues, need volunteers. If you have supervisory experience, coupled with strong tech skills, there are supervisory positions open for volunteers to fill.
Maybe you want to work at the Volunteer Accreditation Centre. These positions start in April and you will be processing individuals through GEMS.pro (Games and Event Management system), taking photos, printing and laminating accreditation passes.
You’ll also distribute Games time information and accreditation passes as well as log day pass requests and total number of day passes distributed. Yes, it will help if you’re a people person with computer skills.
If you’re volunteering for Food and Beverage Services, you could be an Attendant in the Athletes Lounge, the Villages or at the Forks Festival. In each venue, you’ll be stocking and reordering food as well as cleaning and recycling.
The Villages will have full food service so you will be helping serve the food; previous food and beverage experience and a food handling certificate are preferred for these positions.
Community Relations, Ceremonies, Media Relations are a few more of the 21 fields you can find a volunteer spot in.
198 days and counting down until the start of the Games. Why not sign up today to reserve your spot for “the hottest summer in half a century” in your hometown.