My passion and joy for sport and recreation was established at a very young age. Sport has been a constant that has not only driven foreword in life but also connected my family together for as long as I can remember. Participating in sports like soccer, basketball, and volleyball fueled the passion I have for this industry, and the opportunity to play five years of varsity volleyball reinforced this passion. The benefits volleyball has provided me in my life, the way it has challenged and helped my grow as a person, and the opportunity it presented to give back to my community (coaching the young athletes of tomorrow), is something I deeply cherish. So rarely do we get the opportunity to do what we love, so when the opportunity to work with the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) came up, I knew I had to chase the chance to contribute to such an amazing organization.
Hi! My name is Devan O’Connor, and I am from Milton, Ontario. I am currently in my fourth year of study as an Honours Environment and Tourism Management Student, with a minor in Geography and Environmental Sustainability at Brock University. In the fall of 2023, I had the opportunity to interview with the CSC for their Project Assistant position. A graduating requirement of the Geography and Tourism department is the completion of our TOUR 4F99 Internship course, and it was here that I came across a job posting that made me so excited I knew I had to apply. In the first moments that I met Grace Nelson and listened to her talk about the Centre, I knew this was where I wanted to be. The passionate way she spoke about the Centre inspired me, and it was in those first moments I knew what a special opportunity I had in front of me. As of now, it has only been a month of working with the CSC, but every person I have met and every meeting we have, fills me with so much joy and promise and I look forward to the eight months that I will get to spend here. Since beginning I have had the wonderful opportunity to begin work on our project within the Centre, generating research for the “State of Sport in Niagara Report.” The opportunity to learn from individuals like Grace Nelson, along with CSC Director Dr. Julie Stevens, and many other members of the CSC team has been an amazing opportunity.
The CSC’s driving force is knowledge mobilization. Knowledge mobilization works to understand and expand the capacity of sports organizations while acknowledging the challenges faced by these organizations and collaborating to create new initiatives and solutions. The opportunity to expand my knowledge past the practical experience I am familiar with, and step into a new role that focuses on research-based learning to create solutions is what most excited me about working with the CSC. The ability to better understand how to translate my own internal and practiced knowledge within sport organizations, support it with conducted research, and create practical solutions within that process is a skill I was actively looking to practice and love the challenge this process has since presented for me. A balance between constant learning and individual progress, combined with a chance to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who challenge me to think outside of my own experience is truly what makes working with the CSC unique and special.
As a mature student who has actively worked in the sport industry in multiple veins, I want to push myself to be a force of good within the Centre and use my experience to offer creative and new perspectives and insights on the projects we complete during my time. My current experience working within the Halton and Peel regions as a youth mentor, athlete development officer, and volleyball coach all support what I am looking to accomplish with the Centre. In everything I do I look to see how I can align my own goals for personal growth with the organizations I represent. Being a varsity athlete has taught me to act with the upmost respect and care, as everything we do reflects on those we represent. I am proud to be a new member working with the CSC and am excited to represent and support them. The ability to uplift a community is a unique and beautiful experience, and it is a challenge that I am so excited to tackle.