Nunavut will be sending athletes for weeks one and two of the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.
The week two contingent, though, will have one group of members that will be doing something completely non-athletic yet vitally important to the Games itself.
The Nunavut Youth Ambassadors Program will be sending 10 young people to Red Deer – eight of which who hail from the Kivalliq region – to work as volunteers on the ground in various capacities, said Alison Griffin, the program’s manager.
“We were lucky that all of them were able to select the role they wanted to do,” she said. “We have one who will be part of the mascot crew that will be accompanying the Games mascot around to venues to hand out swag and take photos. We have one who be helping to sell merchandise, two who will be doing some minor officiating at sports like badminton and one who will be on the social media squad going out and about doing human interest pieces.”
Those who were picked to go took part in a training session in Iqaluit last June, which included a webinar with Games officials, she added.
“They outlined the roles for everyone and what it all entails,” she said. “All of our ambassadors got to pick their jobs based on interests.”
The work, though, will begin before week two gets underway as the ambassadors will be helping with the turnaround at the athletes village.
“We’ll be helping get everything ready and making sure the beds and rooms are in good shape,” said Griffin. “We’re also staying around for a couple of days following the completion to help with the tear-down of the village.”
The process to pick the group of 10 began last April with the recruitment phase. Interviews were done over the phone in May followed by the week-long in-person training seminar.
“The training was the first time we met everyone in person,” said Griffin. “We’ve been in contact with each other through conference calls and I think everyone’s just getting excited that the time is getting closer.”
In order to be eligible for selection, applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 21, must be a resident of the territory, have two written reference letters and fully complete the application.
“We have a scoring rubric associated with the application process,” said Griffin. “The phone interviews were also part of that scoring and the top applicants were chosen.”
Griffin and the crew will be flying to Red Deer on Feb. 22 to begin and she said it’s been a long road from the start to now but she can’t wait to get going.
“It’s been an amazing experience so far,” she said. “The buzz is there and you can see it growing all the time. I’m excited for them to get to experience the atmosphere of the Games and Red Deer will be an amazing host. I just hope they take everything in and cherish the opportunity.”