Article by: Doug Gallant
Sporting bright green and blue uniforms, the PEI 2023 volunteers are a dedicated and committed group, intent on making sure the Games provide the best possible experience for the young athletes representing their respective provinces and territories.
One of the incredible volunteers, Kim Tersteeg, traveled all the way from Casselman, Ontario to volunteer for the PEI 2023 Games.
At the 1991 Canada Winter Games, she responded to a request for volunteer drivers and spent 10 days driving VIPs to various events. Tersteeg, who is originally from P.E.I., had an incredible experience at this event, so when the PEI 2023 Games were announced she knew she wanted to volunteer again.
“I won’t say I was the first on the list but as soon as they opened it up to the public I applied to volunteer,” Tersteeg said. “That was more than a year ago.”
This time around, Tersteeg is volunteering with broadcast and media at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale sites where Freestyle Ski, Snowboard, Biathlon, and Cross-Country Ski are taking place.
“I love meeting people from all the different provinces and watching the young athletes compete. It’s incredible to see what some of these kids are capable of and what they’re doing, like the young man who won biathlon. I believe he went home with five gold medals. He won all three of the individual events and the winning team events.”
Tersteeg is looking forward to the rest of the Games and seeing what these young athletes can accomplish.
That overwhelmingly positive feedback on the Games appears to be a universal trend among volunteers.
Sharon Chaisson, of Charlottetown, has filled in as a venue lead and said her experience has been fabulous.
“The volunteers have been amazing and everybody worked together as a team. It’s a big event to host and it’s been a great experience. It’s gone well and continues to go well,” Chaisson said.
She hadn’t originally planned to volunteer but her sister recruited her and she’s glad she signed on. “I’ve learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and it’s been a great experience so far,” Chaisson said.
Ron Smith said he’s enjoying his volunteer role. “It’s been a really good experience,” Smith said. “It’s really well organized and everything is running on time.” He said the best part of the Games has been meeting people from across the country.
Smith, who’d already completed four shifts and has three more to go, and said he would recommend to anyone to volunteer for an event like this.
Bhavneet Kaur, a student in the Sport and Recreation Management course at Holland College, said she signed on as part of her course requirement of 150 hours of related work. “It’s been a very enjoyable experience for me, I’m getting to do things and I’m getting experience for my resume.”
Shahed Alsadi said she’s been volunteering for four or five years now for various things and believes volunteering is now part of her identity. “I volunteered this time to make a change and to add value to my time in P.E.I.”
She’s working in volunteer services at the festival site and at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. “I get to meet most of the volunteers and experience everything happening around me. The best thing about this experience is networking. I get to meet so many people from different cultures, backgrounds and I’ve made new friends.”
As Wayne Carew, Chair of the PEI 2023 Host Society, recently said “without the 5,000 volunteers, the province would not have been able to host the largest multi-sport event in the country.”