Student stories

EPHE co-op student gains insight into event planning and management

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KidSport Greater Victoria and MEC

For the summer term of 2018 I worked as the Key Administrative Assistant at KidSport Greater Victoria, as well as a Cash Specialist/Event Staff at MEC, to fulfill my final work term for the BA of Recreation and Health at the University of Victoria.

Since 2002, KidSport Greater Victoria has funded over 10,700 children in financial need with seasons of organized sport. It is a national non-profit organization with 41 chapters in British Columbia alone. The overall goal of every KidSport chapter is to support children and families in financial need access organized sport and experience the associated benefits of sport. Per calendar year KidSport will cover up to $400 per eligible child in sport registration fees.

My role as the Key Administrative Assistant included tasks such as processing KidSport grant requests, completing donation requests for upcoming events, and reorganizing the master list of contacts for all future events. A monthly mail out of letters to families indicating that their child will get to experience a season of sport was another essential task. In addition to my role in the KidSport Greater Victoria office I was also involved in several events; KidSport Golf Tournament (May 17th), the Larry Orr Invitational (June 23rd) and the Island Summer Games (June 23rd). A large portion of my time was devoted to assisting in the planning of Golf for Kids (September 8th), the GoodLife Victoria Marathon Thrifty Foods Kids Run (October 7th) and the Jon Montgomery Pizza Pigout (October 18th). I have been the Social Media Editor for KidSport Greater Victoria since October 2016. Not only did I continue this role throughout my work term, but I also took on a portion of the social media responsibility for the Pizza Pigout online platforms.

During my time with KidSport Greater Victoria I learned a great amount in regards to how to manage a nonprofit organization and how much work goes into event planning/management. From networking, to grass rooting new ways to fundraise, to maintaining annual events, I think I was exposed to a great deal in my short time within the KidSport office.

An unexpected outcome of mine was to be welcomed onto an even larger role at KidSport Greater Victoria once my work term ended. Since the manager will be on leave for the beginning of the fall the executive director inquired if I would be willing to gain different responsibilities within planning and implementing several of the upcoming events. I am thrilled for this opportunity and look forward to gaining even more applicable skills to my degree.

This work term experience has shaped my future goals as it has reaffirmed my interest in recreation and leisure business management. This fall I will beginning a business minor and am looking forward to having experiences to use in the reflection and learning processes to come.

MEC, formerly known as Mountain Equipment Co-Op, is a member owned cooperative that strives to provide its members with gear and services of the highest durability and sustainability. Their target population is anyone and everyone who shares a passion for the outdoors. Not only is MEC a retailer, but they also provide free run and bike meetups three times a week, paddle and snow festivals, gear swaps, backcountry camping clinics, and an annual Race Series (consisting of 5 races within a calendar year with the option of 5K, 10K, or half-marathon).

I had two roles while working with MEC; cash specialist and event staff. Ensuring the highest quality of interactions with members was a significant aspect to both roles. From giving the correct information and registering members in the race to cheering them on as they reached their goals I felt I played an integral role in the Victoria location. Educating members on the best ways to care for their gear and give individualized feedback and recommendations were highlights of my position. Sharing personal experiences in regards to travel and outdoor pursuits made helping someone plan their own trip that much more genuine.

In mid-July I was selected to participate in the Outdoor Development Program. This program included a three day sea kayak tour of the Gulf Islands. Through this opportunity I gained more experience in trip-prep, kayaking, knowledge of gear, and leadership skills.

Through observational learning I gained insight as to how event planning and management differs between fundraising, such as with KidSport, in comparison to races and clinics. Of course there is still the recruiting volunteers and sponsors portion; but there is also the liability/waivers and safety portion.

Overall, I learned a great deal from both positions and am excited to see how these skills can be used in the future.


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