My Volunteer Experience at the Parapan Am Games

Rayyan with Columbia athletes at Parapan Am Games

During the week of August 8-15, the Parapan Am Games took Toronto by storm. I was assigned to the Ryerson Athletics Centre (RYA), which is the former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. Back in 1967, it was called Maple Leaf Gardens. My volunteer duties were: assisting and directing guests to their seats, guarding the access control of both press boxes, VIP lounge, athletes dressing rooms and the western exit. I got to meet the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, and former Canadian Paralympians.

On the last day, I also met the current Colombian athletes outside the centre. I said my final goodbyes to the Colombian athletes. Unfortunately, they missed their charter bus to Athlete’s Village because they were sightseeing. When my fellow volunteers were waiting to be picked up, we suddenly found them and they said through a translator that they missed their charter bus. Luckily I was waiting for my Wheel-Trans. I then suggested to the translators to call Beck Taxi so they could get back to the Athletes Village. The stranded athletes just happened to be the ones who were in my photo that I had taken during the gold medal game.

The reason why I volunteered at the 2015 Parapan Am Games was because they are the first small version of the Paralympics. By this, I mean that these were the only games to have future Paralympians in Toronto. These games might be the only ones in Toronto (who knows if Ontario will host the Olympics in the future). Also, I like international competitions. So in conclusion, Ontario did a good job in hosting these games. I got to witness three Pan Am events: water polo, men’s and women’s beach volleyball (this was an excellent event at exhibition place), and softball (took place in Ajax, while there I met Rob Butler of the 92-93 World Series Champion, Blue Jays!).

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