Exceptional Young Canadians Accept International Sport Assignments

OTTAWA (ON)—December 13, 2012 — Nine of Canada’s young sport leaders will soon take on exciting international assignments as part of Commonwealth Games Canada’s (CGC) SportWORKS initiative.

This marks the fifth time that CGC, in partnership with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), has sent young Canadians abroad under the Capacity Support Program (CSP), which began in 2009.

As Canadian SportWORKS Officers (CSOs) on year-long placements that begin in January 2013, these young people will assist Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in various countries building sport capacity through activities including programming, fundraising, communications, and team management.

“I feel the CSO position is a perfect opportunity for me to combine my passion, skill and experience in sport and international development into one amazing experience abroad,” says Caitlin Devlin, 25, a native of Ottawa who will be working with the National Olympic Committee of Zambia. “I hope to work closely with, and learn from, my colleagues at the National Olympic Committee of Zambia and to use my skills to increase the organization’s capacity and leave a lasting impression.”

In addition to Devlin, CGC welcomes the following new Canadian SportWORKS Officers:

  • Sandra de Graaff, 31, of Bathurst, N.B., who will work with the St. Vincent & the Grenadines National Olympic Committee;
  • Aimee Maggiacomo, 23, of Cambridge, Ont., who will work with the Anguilla Commonwealth Games Association;
  • Asfand Minhas, 23, of Mississauga, Ont., who will work with Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council;
  • Louis Moustakas, 26, of Quebec City, who will work with the National Olympic Committee of Botswana;
  • Lindsey Nielsen, 27, of Calgary, who will work with the British Virgin Islands Olympic Association;
  • Ryan Pelley, 26, of Kitimat, B.C., who will work with the National Amateur Sports Association of St Helena; and
  • Christine Wong, 27, of Toronto, who will work with the Antigua and Barbuda Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association.

Returning as a CSO for 2013 is Ellen Kim, 23, of Vancouver, who will continue to work with the Commonwealth Games Association and National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka for a second year. (See attached bios for more information.)

“We are thrilled to have such a diverse and talented group of young Canadians making up our fifth team of CSOs under this unique program,” says Brian MacPherson, Commonwealth Games Canada’s CEO. “In addition to providing their host organizations with much-needed capacity, the CSOs themselves will gain valuable international work experience and potentially expand their future career opportunities. “

Michael Hooper, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), adds: “I’m delighted that through the SportWORKS initiative we’re able to both contribute to the professional development of these young men and women, and support some of the smaller members of the Commonwealth sports family. 

“Equality is one of our core values, and as 71 nations and territories participate in the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games, we do all we can to fulfil our responsibility to help build their capacity thus enabling them to enhance their level of support for their athletes.”

About SportWORKS
Commonwealth Games Canada’s SportWORKS initiative is a collection of programs that send Canadian sport leaders (called Canadian SportWORKS Officers, or “CSOs”) to Commonwealth countries in regions such as Africa, the Caribbean and Oceania—as well as to Europe—for placements that range from one week to one year. During their placements, CSOs design and deliver sustainable sport programs and assist each country in building sport system capacity.

About Commonwealth Games Canada
Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC) is the international franchise holder for the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth movement in Canada, and an active, contributing member of the Canadian sport community. The mission of Commonwealth Games Canada is to strengthen sport within Canada and throughout the Commonwealth, by participating in the Commonwealth Games and by using sport as a development tool.

About the Commonwealth Games Federation
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is the governing body of the Commonwealth Games movement. First held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada, today the Commonwealth Games is the world’s second-largest multi-sports event, and the fourth most-watched global broadcast sports event.

Its membership comprises 71 nations and territories. The next Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow in 2014 and Gold Coast in 2018. The next Commonwealth Youth Games will be in Samoa in 2015 followed by St Lucia in 2017.

For more information, please contact:
Brian MacPherson
CEO, Commonwealth Games Canada
(613) 244-6868

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Canadian SportWORKS Officers 2013-2014

Sandra de Graaff
Hometown:  Bathurst, N.B.
University of New Brunswick
Degree:  Bachelor of Kinesiology
Host Organisation:  St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Olympic Committee

“Sport has provided me with skills to deal with conflict, stress and adverse situations. It has also provided me the opportunity to build many lasting relationships, which have taught me a lot about myself. As a CSO, I look forward to the opportunity to work within a different culture, to expand my skills in sport administration, and share my knowledge with others.”

Caitlin Devlin
Hometown:  Ottawa
University of Ottawa
Degree:  International Development and Globalization
Host Organisation:  National Olympic Committee of Zambia

“I feel the CSO position is a perfect opportunity for me to combine my passion, skill and experience in sport and international development into one amazing experience abroad. I hope to work closely with, and learn from, my colleagues at the National Olympic Committee of Zambia and to use my skills to increase the organization’s capacity and leave a lasting impression. I would also love to build a gymnastics program for children and youth.”

Ellen Kim
Hometown:  Vancouver
University of British Columbia
Degree:  Bachelor of Human Kinetics (Kinesiology and Health Science)
Host Organisation:  Commonwealth Games Association and National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

“I believe the integration of sport into communities needs to start at a grassroots level. This program allows youth, such as myself, the rare opportunity to go directly into an area of need and work to build sport system capacity and organizational capability within influential national sport bodies. Mobilizing youth is a great way to drive progress, and this is a great example of a program that will utilize young people in Canada to create change around the world.”

Aimee Maggiacomo
Hometown:  Cambridge, Ont.
Wilfrid Laurier University
Degree:  Honours Kinesiology & Physical Education (BA)
Host Organisation:  Anguilla Commonwealth Games Association

“This opportunity allows me to fulfill my desire to utilize sport in a development capacity and to gain professional experience while doing so. My biggest goal is to learn how to implement sustainable work so that it will continue to make a positive contribution once my internship is complete. Being forced to think about the durability of my work will add another dimension beyond completing work to a high standard—completing work that will last.”

Asfand Minhas
Hometown:  Mississauga, Ont.
McMaster University
Degree:  Honours Bachelor of Life Science
Host Organisation:  Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council

“I am very interested in sport as a positive social force and as a tool for development—including athlete, community and sport-culture development. Growing up as a first-generation Canadian, I was faced with financial burdens that prevented me from participating in competitive support. Nevertheless, I found accessible avenues to participate through my high school varsity teams and gym class. Sport has allowed me to develop as an amateur athlete, but it has more importantly assisted in my development as a person. The interaction I had with coaches, peers and mentors taught me to set goals and pursue my dreams.”

Louis Moustakas
Hometown:  Quebec City
Université Laval
Degree:  Business Administration/International Management
Host Organisation:  National Olympic Committee of Botswana

“Broadly speaking, I hope that my presence in Botswana will, in at least some small way, leave a positive legacy with their Olympic Committee. I hope to gain a better understanding of the world at large, as well as a better grasp of the challenges facing emerging countries and organizations.”

Lindsey Nielsen
Hometown:  Calgary
University of Calgary/ Mount Royal University
Degree:  Bachelor of Science - Exercise & Health Physiology/ Bachelor of Applied Business and Entrepreneurship in Sport & Recreation
Host Organisation:  British Virgin Islands Olympic Association

“While working as a CSO, I hope to be able to utilize my skills to help my host organization reach their goals for the year, while also gaining valuable experience for myself both on a professional and personal level.  Sport and physical activity have been a large part of my life in some form or another over the past couple of decades. I am grateful I have had the opportunity to participate in sports, as I realize not everyone gets these chances.”

Ryan Pelley
Hometown:  Kitimat, B.C.
Johan Cruyff Institute for Sport Studies
Degree:  Master of International Sport Management
Host Organisation:  National Amateur Sports Association of St Helena

"My values are aligned with the mission and vision of Commonwealth Games Canada, and I am proud of the chance to work with an organization dedicated to both high performance sport and social development. The opportunity to live in such a unique area of the world while contributing to and gaining more experience in international sport and development added to my motivation to apply for this program.”

Christine Wong
Hometown:  Toronto
University of Waterloo
Degree:  Honours Recreation and Leisure Studies, Minor in Geography, Option in Tourism
Host Organisation:  Antigua and Barbuda Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association

“I really believe in sport for development and have been pursuing that path for the past few years. I am hoping to be able to contribute to my host organization and enhance their program. I would really like to make an impact on their program by the end of my placement. I have always wanted to work abroad and this is a great opportunity to gain that experience. I truly believe that sport is a universal language that can break barriers to bring people together.”