Volunteer Profile: Laryssa Sawchuk

The Hottest Summer in Half a Century is coming to Winnipeg in 2017, but before the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games kicks off, a team of volunteers is being assembled to ensure everything is in order.

The Canada Games are Canada’s largest multi-sport event for young athletes and in 2017 will celebrate its 50th anniversary and Canada’s 150th birthday from July 28 – August 13.

An event like this takes years of planning and a commitment from the public, Canada Games staff and volunteers to ensure it all comes together.

One of those volunteers, Laryssa Sawchuk, saw the opportunity to take part in a local event that will highlight some of the top athletes Canada has and leave a lasting impact in her community.

“I volunteered with the games for three reasons. Firstly, I wanted to build my community, be involved in a Winnipeg-based event and meet other volunteers from a wide variety of skill sets. That's definitely happened, everyone is great to work with. Secondly, I was looking to build new skills and take on a leadership role within the games. I learn something new day after day, the planning of these Games is more complex than I'd ever imagined,” said Sawchuk, who is one of the volunteer spokespeople for the 2017 Canada Summer Games and is also the Public Programs and Services Coordinator with the Canadian Diabetes Association.

“Finally, sport has been a big part of my life. I've been involved in sports for as long as I can remember. Playing, coaching, refereeing, and scorekeeping. Sports are a big deal in my family, some members have participated in Canada Summer Games and the Olympics. My mom and her sister are also gym teachers. Sports were engrained as a part of who I am.”

It will take approximately 6,000 volunteers to make certain the Games are a success and that the athletes and spectators have a great experience.

However, for Sawchuk, volunteering is more than just giving her time, it also brings people together for a larger cause.

“It's going to be a huge event and we can't wait to share it with everyone. Volunteering stems from some internal motivation from a person, these games have a wide variety of opportunities available. We hope to have something for everyone no matter what their personal motivation for volunteering is. Come out and join us, bring your friends and family out to volunteer together too.”

“From the perspective of a volunteer, people volunteer for many personal reasons. Whether it's gaining new skills, getting out of the house to be social, supporting a cause they are passionate about or improving their English. Volunteering is a great way to do all of those things for free and while having fun.”

With 16 sports and over 250 events, the 2017 Canada Summer Games will have something for everyone to enjoy whether they are an athlete, spectator or volunteer.

“Beyond widening my community and developing new skills, I hope to showcase the capacity of younger volunteers who are part of the planning of these games. As one of the youngest volunteers involved in a lead position, I bring to the table a younger perspective. I highlight the readiness of this age group to step up and support these games. I hope to engage younger volunteers to participate in the Games as well,” Sawchuk added.

For information on how you can volunteer for the 2017 Canada Summer Games, please visit http://www.canadagames.ca/2017/content/volunteer-recruitment