Volunteers rally around U21 Pan Am Cup in Fort McMurray
This week, as the top men’s junior volleyball players from seven
countries, including Canada, descended upon Fort McMurray, which
part of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Alberta,
Canada, many local residents were quick to volunteer to help run
the international tournament.
Even before a fire devastated the area only one year ago, “Fort
Mac” residents were known for their spirit of working together
and donating their time.
Fort McMurray is located in northeast Alberta, in the middle of
the Athabasca oil sands, surrounded by boreal forest. It has
played a significant role in the development of Canada’s
petroleum industry. A severe wildfire in May 2016 led to the
evacuation of its residents. The fire caused a great amount of
damage, and spread across approximately 590,000 hectares
(1,500,000 acres) before it was declared to be under control on
July 5, 2016.
So there is a history of cooperation, especially in the
re-building process. “Volunteering is huge in Fort McMurray,”
said the event’s volunteer coordinator, Teryl Parsons. She had
organized a minimum of 30 volunteers a day throughout the
tournament. “Some people who came the first day or two had so
much fun helping out that they decided to come back again.”
Teryl recruited the volunteers through social media and the
local Keyano College athletics department web page. “We
approached to two clubs in town NLVC (Northern Lights Volleyball
Club) and Thunder Volleyball – both have contributed volunteers,
as well as the nearby high school, including Composite High
School that organized the web cast crew.”
The local LINK program, which helps people new to Canada learn
English, also brought their students to help out, and the
feedback from the students was excellent.
“They were very enthusiastic,” said Parsons. “The picture with
the Canadian team really made their day on Thursday.”
Many local businesses also contributed to the event through
sponsorship and donations.
And although the finals fall on a holiday weekend in Canada,
many people are still eager to help out.
One of the employees at the venue - called the Syncrude Sport
and Wellness Centre - who cleans the facility offered to be one
of the court moppers.
“She said to me earlier in the week when the teams started
practising, ‘I want to be on that court’ and she volunteered to
come back several times after working all day,’” said Teryl
Seven teams are in Fort McMurray for the U21 Pan Am Cup, which
also serves as an age-class World Championship qualifier, and
the medal matches conclude the tournament on May 21.