In the first year, there were three who went to the Caribbean and the Americas. In the second year, five more went to Africa. And now, in the third year of Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC)’s groundbreaking Capacity Support Program (CSP), 15 talented young Canadians will be placed throughout the Commonwealth—from the Caribbean and the Americas to Africa, Asia and Oceania.
This innovative sport development program, which launched as a pilot program in 2009, is co-funded by the Commonwealth Games Federation and, this year, by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Olympic Solidarity. Under the CSP, young Canadians with sport administration backgrounds are sent to work as Capacity Support Officers (CSOs) with Commonwealth Games Associations and National Olympic Committees in developing countries.
The program’s goal is to augment the sport management capabilities of these organizations, thus reinforcing CGC’s mandate of encouraging international development through sport. In addition to assisting their host organizations, seven CSP interns from the first and second years of the program worked as part of the Results Management Team during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi last October.
“We are extremely excited about this amazing group of young people who will be working as CSOs throughout the Commonwealth over the next year,” says Carla Thachuk, Director of International Programs at Commonwealth Games Canada. “Not only will our counterparts in these 15 countries benefit from the energy and expertise they bring, but the interns themselves will benefit from an international experience that will be invaluable to them as they go on to develop their careers.”
The third team of Capacity Support Officers—including four past CSOs who successfully reapplied to the program—and their assignments are:
Natalie Brett (the Falkland Islands Overseas Games Association): A native of Ottawa, Natalie holds a Master of Science in Sports Management from Bournemouth University in the U.K. and a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science from Concordia University in Montreal. Since 2009, she has been a Program Coordinator with KidsSport Ottawa.
Kristine Deacon (the Grenada Olympic Committee): A former competitive swimmer, Kristine has coached for the Cambridge Aquajets swim club in her hometown of Cambridge, Ont. since 2004. In 2010, she completed an Honours Arts degree in Canadian Studies and Global Studies at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, ON and volunteered at the Vancouver Olympics.
Chantelle Grant (the Bermuda National Olympic Committee): Chantelle grew up in Mississauga, Ont., and holds a Bachelor of Sport Management degree from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. A former competitive gymnast, Chantelle first travelled to Bermuda to work with its National Olympic Committee in 2009 in the first year of the Capacity Support Program.
Matt Hill (the Antigua and Barbuda Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association): A former Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and avid sports fan, Hill is graduating this year with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) in Waterloo, Ont. The Burlington, Ont., native was actively involved at WLU as a student ambassador and has also worked for Tourism Burlington.
Stephanie Johnson (the St Vincent and the Grenadines National Olympic Committee): A resident of Sudbury, Ont., Johnson is in her final year of the Honours Bachelor of Commerce (Sports Administration) program at that city’s Laurentian University. In 2010, she interned at the Georgia State Games in Atlanta as an Event and Volunteer Co-ordinator, and later at at Capital Sports Management in Ottawa as a Program Manager.
Duane Louis (the Samoa Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee): A native of Victoria, B.C., Louis recently completed a year-long placement with the Swaziland Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association as part of the Capacity Support Program. He holds a Sport Management Diploma from Victoria’s Camosun College and, in addition to working with Aboriginal Team B.C. during the 2008 North American Indigenous Games, he was volunteer Technical Manager for the Africa Zone IV Games, held in Swaziland this past December.
Paddye Magill (the Seychelles National Olympic Committee): Magill, who grew up in Ottawa, Ont., is returning to Seychelles this year for a second placement under the Capacity Support Program. A former basketball coach and player, Magill completed her Bachelor of Sport Management degree at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., and previously worked at the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre.
Ella Mawdsley (the Tonga Commonwealth Games Association): A former competitive biathlete, Mawdsley recently wrapped up a year-long placement with the Lesotho National Olympic Committee as part of the Capacity Support Program. Mawdsley, who grew up in Fort Smith, N.W.T., holds a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) degree from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta and previously worked as an Account Manager for the Outcrop Communications Group, which has offices across northern Canada.
Wendy Moar (the Uganda Olympic Committee): Moar, who lives in Matlock, Man., has worked as Interlake Region Manager for Sport Manitoba since 2004. In addition to volunteering as accreditation manager for several hockey tournaments, Moar has coached cross-country running at the high-school level and earned a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.
Kathleen Reeves (the Turks & Caicos Commonwealth Games Association): Reeves, who hails from Ottawa, has a Master of Arts degree with a specialization in Sport Management and a Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa, where she was also a Member of the Varsity Rugby team. An avid participant, official and volunteer for a wide array of sports, she has worked as Account Manager for the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club since 2008.
Jackie Snell (the Dominica Olympic Committee): A Victoria, B.C., native, Snell holds a Bachelor of Recreation and Health Education from the University of Victoria, where she was a member of the Varsity Soccer Team. Since earning her degree in 2010, she has held various positions within the University of Victoria’s Department of Athletics and Recreation, and worked in the Athletes’ Village during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Jordan Thomson (the Guyana National Olympic Committee): Currently a resident of Toronto, Thomson has worked with Right to Play since June 2010, first as a Program Coordinator and later as a Training Consultant. A former professional baseball player with the San Francisco Giants from 2004 to 2006, he holds a Master of Science, Sport and Recreation Business Management degree from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University in Boston.
Colin Whitmee (the Bahamas National Olympic Committee): Whitmee, who hails from Ottawa, has worked and volunteered for a variety of sport organizations, including Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada and the Ottawa Senators. He has a graduate certificate in Sport Business Management from Algonquin College in Ottawa as well as a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. and previously taught English in South Korea.
Jessica Wolfenden (the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee): In 2009, Wolfenden graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maine in Orono, where she won a full athletic scholarship to play NCAA Division 1 volleyball. Most recently, she has worked as a teacher with the Play House Learning Centre in her hometown of Ottawa, as well as a beach volleyball instructor and official with City of Ottawa—Parks and Recreation.
Denise Yuen (the Commonwealth Games Association of Sri Lanka): Since 2008, Yuen, who hails from Coquitlam, B.C., has worked as Manager of Community Development with Special Olympics British Columbia and currently volunteers as a snowboard instructor for Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports. She holds a Bachelors degree in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from that city’s Simon Fraser University.
The first three CSOs left Canada in September 2009 and completed their 14-month service in Bermuda, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago late last year. Five others returned from a year-long placement in the African countries of Lesotho, Swaziland, Seychelles, Zambia and Botswana in March of this year.
The next placements will run until from April 18, 2011 to March 31, 2012.