Blog

  • Selena Racco – Entry Blog, Event, Marketing, and Communications Assistant

    Hello! My name is Selena Racco, I’m interested in pursuing a career in marketing, specifically the creative aspect. Why? You might ask? Well, what better way for me to experience the thrill of catching the eyes of consumers and shaping the way they see brands in a challenging yet exciting way?

    So here I am at the beginning of my journey. I am originally from Cambridge, Ontario. In my fourth and final year of the Business Communications program at Brock University. I am very excited to begin my placement as the Event, Marketing, and Communications Assistant with the Centre for Sport Capacity where I can engage with this community and build strong relationships.

    I am thrilled to be a part of this team and gain hands-on experience in a field I want to pursue after my degree. Marketing is a very diverse industry with many different aspects that pique my interest.

    In today’s age, social media plays a huge role in a company’s brand image, and it will only continue to grow, making it a great career choice for my future. Social Media Marketing is a type that sticks out for me as I want to boost overall brand image and customer loyalty through visuals and communication.

    While in my studies at Brock University, I have been able to develop organizational, verbal, and written communication skills. I am excited to apply these skills to promote CSC’s brand image. As someone who grew up in generation Z, I am very familiar with social media networks, and I enjoy using digital media platforms such as Canva to develop digital planners and organizational wallpapers. I am eager to bring these skills to the workplace as well, where I’ll be able to create dynamic content, and provide my skills to a range of audiences.

    My main motivation for attending Brock was the opportunity to take part in an internship. When I received the email for this opportunity, it stood out to me, allowing me to pursue Event Management, Marketing, and Communications, and put these aspects into the sports industry.

    My short time with the Centre for Sport Capacity has given me an overall feeling of inclusiveness. As a student with little to no experience in the marketing world, I have been lucky enough to work in a professional setting with a group of individuals who can provide me with further knowledge to help me succeed in my future career.

    I am very excited to start my first project here at CSC with the Niagara Active Economy Summit (AE). I am passionate about design and event management, and through this event, I will be able to use and enhance my skills in Adobe Illustrator to propose creative designs. At this event, I also have the responsibility of creating invitations and acting as a guest service planner. I am excited about this event because it will be my first dive into the world of marketing. I look forward to hearing feedback and recommendations from my supervisor to guide me in the right direction for future events.

    Working on the AE summit has allowed me to take that first step into the real world of work and begin my journey, and what better way to do this than through engaging with the sports community? The purpose of this position is for me to be a part of a place where I can have a sense of fulfillment and gain experience from the CSC to create meaningful work and relationships.

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • Calvin Pietron – Entry Blog, Marketing, Communications, and Event Coordinator

    Over the years, I’ve always asked myself “What are you going to do with your life?”. A question I’m sure many others can relate to. The Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) has given me the vision I need to understand what I’m willing to do with my life.   

    My name is Calvin Pietron. I was born and raised in the small town of Ancaster, Ontario but moved to St. Catharines at the beginning of 2022. I knew I always wanted to work in the professional side of sport to follow in the footsteps of those I look up to – family and friends who have worked in the professional sport industry.  

    My new role at the CSC is focused on Communications, Marketing, and Event coordination as an intern. I am excited to join the CSC team and I look forward to the many projects, experiences, and connections that I will make along the way with an emphasis on expanding my marketing skills and knowledge. 

    My time at Brock University has attributed my love for sport marketing. A key area for me is ongoing feedback to understand what the consumer wants and to preserve a legacy for events to continue. My previous job as a Brand Ambassador with Betstamp, I created many feedback forms following a new event or initiative. Analyzing the data gave us a better understanding of what we needed to make the event even better for all of those involved the next time around.    

    In terms of what I can bring to the CSC regarding communications, Betstamp also gave me transferable skills such as content creation, content management, and managing social media posts and accounts. These skills are relevant to the CSC which hosts both a website and social media accounts, produces media releases, and generates many digital marketing assets. Similarly, to Betstamp.  

    One of the projects I am most excited to be working on with the CSC includes several webinar events that will be taking place over the next four months. Most notably, our upcoming webinar features an ex-NHL player discussing the current hockey culture with an old teammate. This is a topic that is very relevant in the current sport world with all the recent controversy. The CSC has hit the ground running with this webinar and learning how to market this event has taught me how important it is to get a jump on the promotion of an event. 

    This is a taste of the upcoming projects I look forward to working on with the CSC. I look forward to my time with the CSC and the ability to further my real-world working experience. For the first time during my University career, I now know what I want to do with my life and it’s thanks to the CSC. 

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • Chris Weier – Exit Blog, Marketing, Communications, and Business Development Coordinator

     

    Hello, my name is Chris Weier. I am from Niagara on the Lake, Ontario and I am finishing my Sport Management degree at Brock University where I will graduate in the Fall. Throughout the Summer, I spent my time as the Marketing, Communications, and Business Development Coordinator at the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC).

    This internship position with the CSC allowed me to develop both professionally and personally as an individual. I was able to develop soft and hard skills in areas that I had little to no experience in before, that can be transferred to future employment opportunities. Firstly, I was able to expand my marketing skills, specifically around social media. I was able to create written content for the CSC’s social media platforms  (Twitter and LinkedIn) for a variety of our events. Secondly, I was able to grow my event management knowledge by planning and executing several events  throughout the Summer.

    Additionally, I was also able to develop my communication skills, both written and verbal, during my time at the CSC. There was a tremendous amount of email communication that occurred daily where I was able to learn proper email etiquette and best practices. I was also able to broaden my verbal communication when sharing ideas in meetings and having conversations with various colleagues.

    Through this internship, I can recognize that communication is still an area for improvement for myself, and continuing to reflect on my experience will be beneficial to my professional development. I want to become more comfortable talking in front of a group of people and being confident when sharing my opinion in group settings.

    The most exciting project I was able to be a part of was the CSC’s LEAD LIKE A GIRL program that took place during the Niagara 2022 Canada Games. This program was designed for 11-13-year-old girls as a leadership program where participants were immersed in classroom sessions and had the unique opportunity to attend and watch women’s Canada Games competitions. I was tasked with the sales and marketing promotion of the program through the CSC’s social media platforms and by reaching out to community members through phone and email communication. I was also a major contributor to the logistical planning for the program, to ensure we delivered an engaging experience for the participants.

    The most rewarding aspect of this program for me was knowing that I played a part in inspiring the next generation of women to be strong leaders both in sport and in the community. This first installment of the LEAD LIKE A GIRL program was highly successful, and it will be exciting to see the future and evolution of this program.

    Being a part of the Canada Games was also an experience that I am grateful for. Whether it was with the LEAD LIKE A GIRL program, partnering with the Coaching Association of Canada  (CAC) to offer a Mental Health 101 workshop for coaches, or working at the Brock activation tent, I was able to meet and interact with people from diverse backgrounds and various parts of Canada, all with a common interest in sport.

    As I reflect on my internship experience, working for the Centre for Sport Capacity has taught me a great deal about how sport organizations work and the general workplace environment. I have learned what my strengths are as a person and employee, but I have also seen areas that still need improvement in the future. These lessons are invaluable and will be used for my professional development and growth as a person.

    I want to thank the Centre for Sport Capacity for making this an enjoyable and exciting four months and I encourage students to explore all the experiential education opportunities  the CSC offers.

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • Kailey Webster – Community Researchers Study: Assessing The Intent of Hockey Facilities in Canada to Become Greener

    Hello, my name is Kailey Webster, and I am from Uxbridge, Ontario. I am a fourth-year student studying community recreation at Brock University. This past school year, I was presented with the opportunity to work with Community Researchers and CARHA Hockey in conducting nationwide research. I completed this research as part of my fourth-year individual thesis course, RECL 4P27 and will be graduating in June with a great deal of new knowledge and perspective gained from this experience.

    Throughout the four years of my bachelor’s degree, I have taken courses that identify the current issues facing the recreation and sports industry. The problem that I have been most intrigued by is the impact that our facilities have on the environment. For example, “the NHL features one of the biggest carbon footprints in world sport, with the NHL Emissions Report revealing that it produces more than 1,430 tonnes CO2 in carbon emissions in 2019 in travel to and from away fixtures”. This current issue is why I was intrigued when presented with the opportunity to work with CARHA Hockey to assess the intent of facilities within Canada to become greener.

    Throughout this experience, I was required to attend four different workshop sessions with Community Researchers in their Community Improvement Research Training Program. The first module was intended to inform researchers on conducting a needs assessment with our clients. We were subsequently tasked with creating a needs assessment document for all parties to sign. Through this, we established the following objectives of the research project;

    • To assess the interest and intent of arenas nationwide to go ‘green’ or the desire to implement action to be more ‘green.’
    • To determine the barriers that arenas face in becoming more ‘green.’
    • To determine what support community facilities need to become more ‘green.’
    • Other related objectives required by CARHA Hockey and its partners.

    The second workshop focused on data collection. In this session, we discussed types of data collection, software and best practices, building surveys, and were tasked with creating our data collection surveys for our clients. Creating a survey was a lengthy process, and many samples were made before the survey was finalized. The final survey consisted of 52 questions strategically formatted for analytical purposes. Once the survey was sent out, we acquired 63 respondents and moved on to the next step.

    The third workshop focused on data analysis. In this module, we learned how to export the data to a spreadsheet, perform calculations within the spreadsheet, and how to utilize crosstabs and filters. Once all of the data was organized and analyzed, I then moved on to the next session.

    The final session focused on report writing. During the final steps of the research study, I learned how to create graphs and tables from my research, put my findings into words, and effectively communicate the results to the public.

    I am very grateful for the opportunity that I have received in conducting my first research study with Community Researchers and CARHA Hockey. The following are the main takeaways from the survey conducted.

    1. Most respondents are interested in implementing professional development concerning greener facilities.
    2. Three-quarters of facilities do not employ a position responsible for representing environmental sustainability.
    3. Most facilities do not implement an on-ice green initiative that is outlined by NHL Greener Rinks.
    4. Facilities implement a significant amount of green initiatives that are outlined by NHL Greener Rinks in off-ice areas.
    5. The average period between maintenance procedures on various facility amenities is one year.
    6. Most facilities are interested in implementing the green initiatives mentioned in the survey.
    7. Overall, the barriers that arenas face in becoming greener are lack of funding, lack of staff capacity, and facility structure.
    8. Respondents offered comments on the barriers they face in becoming greener.

    You may find more details on these findings in the final report.

    Throughout this experience, I have taken away two lessons that will benefit me moving forward in my studies as I return to Brock University for a Master of Arts degree in Applied Health Sciences.

    Lesson 1: Communication

    The most crucial aspect of working with a team is communication. Without effective communication between all parties, certain needs will not be met. In the beginning, this was a challenging practice for me as I had never worked with a group of professionals on such a substantial project. Through my challenges, I learned that asking questions and remaining open to new ideas is essential in identifying objectives when establishing a needs assessment. When projects are passed from the client (CARHA) through many individuals before the idea reaches the student (me) taking on the project, the project’s main objectives may be lost in communication. Therefore, it is essential to have direct and open contact with the clients. When I took on this project, I had already thought of many interesting ideas and possibilities of where this research could lead. However, I had not yet met with my client. When I finally met with them, I realized that their ideas might have been misinterpreted in some areas before the concepts were introduced to me. This obstacle was not a massive deal as, through open communication, we were able to establish the direct objectives that CARHA was hoping to achieve through this study.

    Lesson 2: Accountability

    Another important lesson that I learned through my experience as a community researcher was being accountable for my work. In the past four years of my undergraduate degree, I have gotten used to having all of my work lined out for me with clear directions and due dates. Therefore, I had never truly experienced what it was like to be accountable for an entire project from start to finish. This study allowed me to experience this new element of responsibility. As with many young learners, I was not perfect from the get-go. However, I do believe that I have learned what is required from someone who is taking the lead on a project like this. I have learned that accountability is not just about completing your work but is also about remaining in contact with stakeholders, sending updates, and ensuring your work is high quality, among many other tasks that underline the accountability of your work.

    I would like to thank Michael Harker for his support on this project and Martha Barnes for providing this opportunity. I would also like to thank CARHA Hockey for trusting me with this project and allowing me to improve my research skills through this work. I believe that through this experience, I am able to identify critical personal areas that I need to improve on. I intend to work toward becoming a more well-rounded research professional that will be respected and trusted within the industry.

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • A curious mind leads to new opportunities: Reflecting on the benefits of “being curious”

    My name is Mandisa Lau, and I am in my third year of the Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies. I completed my placement with Brock University’s Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) where I served as the team lead for a pilot program called the Sport Support Team (SST).

    “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back”

    The expression “curiosity killed the cat” is often used to warn people that being curious can get them into trouble, but the rewards or risks may be worth it. As I reflect upon my experience, I realize that I may have not completed my placement with the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) if it had not been for curiosity. As a matter of fact, growing up I was not very athletic and often despised sports. However, recently learning about the psychosocial benefits of sports, I am more open to the idea of participating and or researching the topic. Thus, when the opportunity came up with the CSC, I was more inclined to learn what it means to enhance sport capacity.

    This blog outlines my reflections, key skills, and the Brock Competency that I have acquired as a university student completing my 60- hour fieldwork placement at the CSC.

    “Be Curious”

    A major part of my role involved working with other students and my supervisor towards a common goal, which was to enhance the capacity within local Niagara sport organizations.

    As a result of pursuing a fieldwork placement in sport capacity, an area that I am not familiar with, and asking questions to increase my knowledge, I developed the competency “Be Curious“. This competency refers to exploring new ideas, opportunities, and sources of knowledge, as well as demonstrating a commitment to lifelong learning. Furthermore, curiosity helped me to develop personal and professional skills such as collaboration, innovation, and inquisitiveness.

    During my time as the Sport Support Team Lead, I developed three skills- collaboration, innovation, and inquisitiveness.

    Collaboration

    As the Sport Support Team Lead, I guided and mentored sport management students. Though many supervisors/team leads may start from a place of “here’s how I do it”, I started with a true interest in others.[1]

    By collaborating with students outside of my program, I gained new perspectives and insights. Not only did this change the nature of the interaction, but it helped to build relationships with my peers and my supervisor which led to a great working collaboration. Moreover, I gained insight into the importance of interdisciplinary work and even considered what my future career might look like if I were to pursue a position in the sport industry. My goal is to enhance my collaboration skills by gaining exposure to opportunities requiring interdisciplinary work, such as pursuing an executive position in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences student association at Brock University.

    Innovation

    During challenging times, it was important that I remained optimistic and used my innovation skills to respond creatively and overcome constraints. For instance, at the beginning of the winter semester when provincial guidelines put a pause on sport practices, my fellow peers and I were uncertain if we had enough time to gain sufficient hours and experience within the semester. Thus, it was important to be open to new ideas and understand that there is more than one way of doing things. Besides challenging times, innovation skills are crucial as this may help an organization refine problems, capabilities, and strategies. I can improve my innovation skills by translating conflicts that arose during the placement as learning experiences and self-reflect on everything that happened.

    Inquisitiveness

    An inquisitive personality refers to always inquiring, and always asking questions [2]. In fact, being inquisitive also requires you to be reflective of what you’ve learned from other people. Thus, an inquisitive interaction is an intentional one. By nature, we are so used to focusing on ourselves, but researchers have found that the more we focus on ourselves, the harder it becomes to look at another perspective [3]. For instance, through interactions with local sports partners and students, instead of presenting the information, I asked open-ended questions which all were guided by curiosity.

    Moreover, inquisitiveness is something I’ve improved over the years by gaining more self-confidence and asking questions when necessary. When I begin my professional career, I hope to model what that means and how it is practiced as a leader with an inquisitive nature.

    Conclusion

    As I reflect upon my time at the CSC as the SST Lead, I am extremely thankful for the opportunities present to not only refine but develop transferable skills that will aide as I move into my last year of my degree. Furthermore, I want to thank Dr. Stevens for her continuous support and guidance through this semester as well as my fellow peers in the Sport Management program for joining the SST.

    Lastly, I would highly recommend the SST to anyone looking to leverage their personal and professional skills as well as gain experiences in community and non-profit sport organizations!

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • Chris Weier – Entry Blog, Marketing, Communications, and Business Development Coordinator

    Hello, my name is Chris Weier, I am from Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, and I am currently a student finishing the last year of my sport management degree at Brock University. I am the Marketing, Communications, and Development Coordinator Intern with the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) summer, 2022. I am very excited to continue my professional development with the CSC and look forward to the many projects and experiences that I will face in the next four months.

    With the help of Career Zone at Brock and the Sport Management Experiential Coordinator, Michael Fawkes, I was able to secure an interview with Dr. Julie Stevens, the Director of the Centre, and Jess Crosthwaite, the Coordinator of the Centre. The application and interview process was something I had never experienced before. For the past seven summers, I worked on a farm where there were no resumés, cover letters, or interviews required. With support from Career Zone, I was able to develop both a successful cover letter and resumé and complete the interview process for the first time.

    Growing up I was heavily involved in sport, playing both hockey and lacrosse; however I have limited experience on the business side of sport. Nowadays, I continue to play lacrosse for the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League and I am currently an on-ice official at the minor hockey level as well as a linesperson for the Ontario Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey Association.

    The introduction to the business side in areas of communication and marketing and the opportunity to gain valuable experience was the main attraction of the CSC for me. As a participant, you do not often get exposed to this side of sports and I recognize that I need to develop technical skills such as content creation, social media management, and website design, among others, to continue my professional development. It is also important to develop key soft skills in areas of leadership, problem-solving, and time management that I believe I will develop with my time at the CSC.

    I was also intrigued by the Centre because of the interaction and close relation it has to its members, the Niagara region, and community partners. I believe that this internship will expose me to numerous networking opportunities with people and organizations that will be valuable resources in the future. Additionally, I learned a great deal from the many student blogs from past CSC interns, as they described the types of opportunities and various experiences they had while interning with the CSC.

    Interning with the Centre will allow me to be a part of many exciting events and experiences throughout the summer. One event that stands out to me is the 2022 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay that happened on May 28th. This event was a collaboration with the Niagara 2022 Canada Games and Commonwealth Sport Canada while engaging with Brock staff, faculty, and other members in the community.

    The Centre for Sport Capacity provides great experiential learning that will be extremely beneficial to my professional development. Throughout the internship, I hope to continue to develop both hard and soft skills that can be transferred to future opportunities as well as connect with a range of industry professionals to help build lasting relationships. I look forward to my opportunity as the Communications, Marketing and Business Development Coordinator intern with the Centre!

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • April Member Showcase – Dr. Hilary Findlay

    Background

    A number of years into a career in physical education I realized it wasn’t the vehicle to realize my broader goals. I returned to university to study law at the University of Alberta and began practicing with a mid sized law firm. I came to see I could start using my legal skills to help sport organizations become more aware of their legal rights and obligations. It was a time before ‘sport law’ was a thing, nevertheless I teamed up with another professional, to build a legal and consulting firm – the Centre for Sport and Law, as it was then called, and which today continues to be a mainstay in the Canadian sport community under its recently rebranded name of Sport Law. I eventually came back to academia focusing on the legal underpinnings of sport and sport management.

    Teaching

    I have now retired from teaching. During the course of my teaching career, I taught a number of legally oriented courses in the Department of Sport Management. They were interesting to me because of their dynamic nature focusing on legal principles underlying the business of sport. Perhaps the most engaging course for me was a negotiation course in which we focused on the theory and skills of negotiation and spent considerable time putting it all to practice. Sport practitioners inevitably engage in some form of negotiation every day. One can learn to be a very good negotiator.

    Research work/projects

    My focus, and continuing interest in terms of scholarly writing, is the regulatory regimes of sport and their impact on participants within the system, particularly athletes. The recently introduced Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport and the independent regulatory body overseeing it, presents a number of jurisdictional and institutional issues worth exploring. A colleague, Marcus Mazzucco, and I recently contributed 5 chapters on the subject to a new digital book on Safe Sport, edited by CSC Director Dr. Julie Stevens. Similarly, athletes face several jurisdictional barriers when attempting to advance their interests and challenge the International Olympic Committee’s exercise of authority over the Olympic Movement. A number of recent decisions of the Court of Arbitration for Sport provide opportunity to examine the jurisprudence around these barriers and allow me to continue writing in the area.

    Hobbies

    It’s golf season – enough said!! I also have a couple of trips of the hiking and cycling variety planned. Retirement affords opportunity to dig into some of these activities a bit more seriously and combine them with travel.

    I typically have 3 or 4 books on the go at any one time. A very engaging visiting law professor once said to a class I was attending that an ingredient of professional and personal success and satisfaction is being a well-rounded and informed person and recommended we read a book a month. It has become a life long habit and pleasure, though sometimes a challenge. I typically have a book on some professional subject matter (currently, Regulating International Sport: Power, Authority and Legitimacy by Lloyd Freeburn), a biography or political book (currently, The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us by Meg Lowman) and some sort of mystery, espionage or courtroom drama (just finished State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton) lying about.

    Closing Thoughts

    With a curious demeanour and an open mind, it is not difficult to stay engaged and learn new things daily. Life long learning kept the job interesting and the mind alive. The learning environment doesn’t have to be formal – though it can be. For a time while practicing law, I enrolled in a number of art history courses as a way to distract from the intensity and drama of the work. Engaging in a negotiation course through another university led to the development of a similar course as part of the Sport Management curriculum (and the development of some very important skills). You never know where inspiration will come from or where it might take one.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • Jason Corry – Exit Blog, Marketing, Communications and Business Development Coordinator

    Hi, my name is Jason Corry, I am originally from Whitby Ontario and am currently completing my fourth year of Sport Management at Brock University. Over the last four months I have been the Communications, Marketing and Business Development Coordinator at the Centre for Sport Capacity.

    The Centre for Sport Capacity is an amazing organization which has allowed me to improve both as a person and a professional. I learned a great deal about the intricacies of how sport organizations operate and through these processes I developed skills in a wide variety of operational areas that I had previously had no experience with. I do not consider myself a very creative or artistic individual and as such the idea of generating visual content on the CSC’s social media platforms seemed daunting at first. However, with the support of my amazing supervisors, CSC Members, and fellow student interns, I was able to become comfortable with content creation sites such as Canva.

    I also developed practical soft skills that will assist me in my future. I communicated with a variety of stakeholders in a vast array of tones. This allowed me to enhance my communication skills both written and verbal. I wrote emails, created social media posts and spoke with various partners. Communicating with so many different stakeholders allowed me to effectively convey my ideas, which is a valued skill in the workplace today.

    The most exciting project that I worked on was the Girls Leadership Academy which will take place this summer during the 2022 Niagara Canada Summer Games. As the Communications, Marketing and Business Development Coordinator, I was tasked with bringing this project from the conceptual phase through to fruition. I used many business strategies that I had learned in class to assist in developing this program. For example, I used financial analysis tools to help determine the price points and revenue projections for this event. Specifically, I created a break-even analysis using course teachings from SPMA 3P27 and developed an in-depth SWOT analysis to assess the marketplace.

    One of the Centre’s many foci is knowledge mobilization (KM) within the sport industry. This involves taking information that has been discovered through research and communicating findings to help inform policy-makers, other individuals and organizations who can put this information into practice. In my role I worked on many different forms of KM and this experience has allowed me to secure an RA position with the Canada Summer Games Academic. When I first applied to work at the CSC, I did not know what KM was, but through the many projects and events that I helped deliver at the CSC I have now been able to gain summer employment in an area I now enjoy.

    Overall, working for the CSC has taught me so much about working in an office setting and has enabled me to develop as a professional. These lessons will help me succeed in my postgraduate work. I have recently been accepted to Osgoode Hall Law School and am hoping to pursue a career in law. My experience with the CSC and the skills I have developed in these four short months have created a great foundation that will help me to achieve my future career aspirations.

    I cannot thank the CSC enough for making this a wonderful experience and I would encourage any and all students to seek volunteer, placements or paid positions within the CSC.

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • Georgia Rudolph – Exit Blog, 2021-2022 Events, Marketing, and Communications Assistant

    Hi again! To reintroduce myself, I am Georgia Rudolph. I am a fourth-year student in the media and communications program at Brock University and I am wrapping up my 8-month internship as an events, marketing, and communications assistant at the Centre for Sport Capacity. I completed this internship as a part of the fourth year course; COMM4F00. Following the conclusion of this semester, I will be graduating with my undergraduate degree.

    My time at the Centre was a fundamental aspect of my education here at Brock. Throughout my internship, I was able to effectively apply the skills and concepts that I have learned throughout my undergraduate degree in order to prepare myself for the workforce. One of the key insights I gained through my time with the Centre is the importance of collaboration. During my time at the CSC I was able to work alongside many amazing staff and partners of the Centre, all of whom offered me valuable advice. Having a great team whom offers beneficial input truly showed me how much can be learned from our peers.

    While I was able to contribute to many CSC projects and events, an experience that I found to be extremely gratifying and educational was my involvement with the Sport Support Team (SST). The SST is a new initiative to the CSC which launched in January of this year. The goal of the SST was to assist in enhancing local sport association operations in several functional areas to achieve improved capacity following the struggles created by the pandemic. To do so, the Centre recruited and trained several student volunteers who were then paired with a local sport organization. These students contributed to the organization by assisting with fundamental tasks needed to support the operation of these non-profit organizations. As an athlete myself I have seen the detrimental impacts the pandemic has had on many local sport organizations. Being able to offer assistance to these organizations, while also offering students experiential learning opportunities is extremely gratifying. I am honored to have contributed to this program, and I cannot wait to see what the future of the SST holds.

    My role within the SST consisted of managing the start-up of the program, as the CSC team got this new initiative off the ground. I was responsible for managing many of the volunteer applications, as well as interviewing students interested in the role. As we got the SST running, our team organized professional development training sessions for the students in order to prepare them for their work with their partner sport organization. Furthermore, I was a contact point for our partner organizations as a way for them to outline their specific needs from the SST initiative, and to pair students with their partner organizations based on skills and interests. This experience was very exciting for me, as it allowed me to further develop skills in effective communication, and leadership.

    The CSC offered me many opportunities to further develop professional skills that will transfer into my future career. During my time with the Centre, I was able to gain experience in event planning through the management of the CSC Sport and Environment series. The series consisted of three webinars, each with expert keynote speakers whomst conduct research within the field. Being responsible for the effective planning and execution of this series was a huge accomplishment for me, and certainly taught me a lot about the various aspects of event planning

    As I reflect on my time at the Centre, I am immensely grateful for the wide array of experiences offered. I feel that I was able to bring skills that I had already developed, such as digital content creation, and use these skills to expand the CSC’s digital reach. Furthermore, being able to work in a team environment where my voice is valued allowed for me to share my perspective on CSC events and content as the team worked together to improve the Centre’s output.

    As graduation quickly approaches, my next steps are starting to fall into place. This May, I will be starting a role as a customer engagement co-ordinator for a company within the sports industry. This role will allow me to draw upon my experience at the CSC, and further the skills I have been able to develop throughout my internship.

    Categories: Blog, Students

  • Ian Macintosh – The Sport Support Team: Helping Community Sport Organizations in Niagara

    The Sport Support Team: Helping Community Sport Organizations in Niagara

    The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on many aspects of life both locally and internationally. There were monumental political, technological, and social changes seen throughout the world. However, the critical problem affecting many small community sport organizations (CSO) was the economic burden imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the South Niagara Canoe Club (SNCC), the programs that fund their core operations were suspended, leaving the SNCC unable to generate revenue.

    Recognizing the challenges that the SNCC and other community sport organizations faced, I decided to join the Sport Support Team (SST). During the pandemic, I realized the power sport has to unite people during challenging times. People wanted diversions and positivity when there seemed only to be unwelcome news. I still missed the ability that CSOs had to connect with others who share similar passions. Therefore, I joined the SST to create opportunities for others to similarly use sport as a mechanism to build positive social change at a community level.

    In November of 2022, I joined the SNCC as a team manager. My role consisted of helping the organization ideate and promote its spring, summer and autumn programming for the 2022 calendar year. The planning aspect consisted of event creation and implantation on their website. I partook in helping to schedule and post the programs onto the website and then promote the programs through the club’s social media. Before joining the club, I had no experience with canoeing, kayaking or dragon boat. However, I do not believe that not having experience with unfamiliar sports should stop you from applying. With the SST’s help, I quickly learned many lessons about both the sport and the vision and values that the SNCC had. This knowledge lets me tailor my work to meet the expectations of the organizational stakeholders and have more impact within my role.

    Below, I outline some of the main lessons that I took away from my experience helping a local sport organization following the COVID-19 pandemic.   

    A Little Help Goes a Long Way in Small Organizations

    Most CSO members are volunteers. Any support that you provide to these organizations, no matter how small, goes a long way in helping them. Although I was volunteering only five hours a week, I quickly became an integral part of the organization. With the training provided by the SST, I approached each situation with professionalism and put an intentional focus on learning more about the culture and stakeholders of the SNCC. This resulted in significant trust and responsibility being put into me. For example, having an audience of over 30,000 thousand people on social media felt slightly daunting. Nevertheless, the experiences the SST provides will help us understand some of the roles and responsibilities that we will have in future internships and entry-level jobs within the sport industry.

    Adjusting to the Ambiguity of the Professional Work Environment

    One of the first lessons I learned after joining the SNCC was how different our academic careers are from a professional work environment. In high school and university, you often have a clear outline of the expectations for a project or exam and what steps you need to take to succeed. However, I quickly realized that in a professional setting, the tasks we are responsible for have a variety of ways to be achieved. Thus, it is vital to have a supportive environment focused on helping you acclimate. Through the SST training and the kindness of the SNCC members, I quickly adjusted to the unique working environment that nonprofits work within. With their support. By asking probing questions and learning organizational expectations, I soon became comfortable with ambiguity which played a large part in finding success within my role.

    Developing Transferable Skills for the Sport Industry

    Having an opportunity during our time at Brock University to gain experiential learning and utilize the theoretical knowledge we gain from our classes can feel incredibly rewarding. I built upon my education to develop transferrable skills that I can use in my personal and professional future. Below I outline three transferable skills I acquired while working for the South Niagara Canoe Club.

    Organization

    Given that the volunteer work was self-directed, you have the flexibility to choose when to begin and end tasks to meet obligations. In order to succeed, I needed to elevate my organizational skills. While I worked with volunteered for the SNCC and the SST, I managed many responsibilities. I was volunteering for the 2023 North American Indigenous Games, the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games and working on independent research study while having seven full-time classes at Brock University. Thus, the importance of managing my time efficiently was necessary to find personal success while also bringing value to the South Niagara Canoe Club.

    Coordination

    In my role as the team manager of the South Niagara Canoe Club, the importance of planning and coordination were paramount to increasing summer program participation after the COVID-19 pandemic. To better plan the summer programs, I scheduled frequent meetings with the Commodore and other stakeholders, letting me better tailor the programs to a target audience and enhance the SNCC’s mission of becoming the go-to destination for paddle sport within the Niagara region. The tailored, carefully planned approach resulted in 73 registrations during the first three weeks of summer camp registration — an increase from only 14 the previous year. By increasing my coordination with others, I was able to gain the insights needed to succeed within my position and gain valuable skills for my future career goals.

    Analytical Skills

    Being part of a CSO also helped me understand and solve real problems local sport leaders face every week. For example, while I have been an avid social media consumer for countless years, I never really considered the differences between creating content for myself and for an organization. In my volunteer role, I had to think critically about the best ways to connect with my target audience while remaining authentic to the SNCC brand. One way to do this was to create new social media platforms for the SNCC to leverage, like LinkedIn and TikTok. It also meant expanding my social media platforms to include Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter. I had to analyze the different audiences and cultures of each platform and adapt my content creation strategy. Through these multidimensional problems, I challenged myself while building my analytical skills.

    Conclusion

    As a result of the Sport Support Team and the collaboration between the Centre for Sport Capacity and the South Niagara Canoe Club, I experienced an invaluable opportunity to build transferable skills and learn how CSO’s have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, this experience has been one of the most fruitful in preparing me to enter the sport industry after I graduate. I would recommend the SST to anyone looking to engage in community and nonprofit sport organizations in the future or anyone simply looking to give back to the community and further their personal and professional growth.

    If you want to get involved with the Sport Support Team, visit the SST webpage

    All Photos Courtesy of the South Niagara Canoe Club

    Categories: Blog, Students