Canadian CYC Delegate Blog Corner
I am Leah Davidson, one of the Canadian Commonwealth National Youth Delegates, bringing a youth voice to Commonwealth issues and international events. This series of articles will cover people who work on Commonwealth issues and for Commonwealth organizations, with the goal of unpacking Commonwealth values and their relevance to young people.
I will be reporting on the Trinbago 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG), an international athletic event focused on youth ages 14-18. This year’s Games will be hosted in Trinidad and Tobago from August 4-11, 2023. Today, I will focus on two young Canadians who are supporting the CYG behind-the-scenes as interns through the Queen Elizabeth’s Scholarship with Mount Royal University (Calgary, Alberta).
A swimmer from Grand Prairie, Alberta, Emily Metituk has competed at the Alberta Summer Games and also supported the provincial Games from an administrative perspective when they were in her hometown. Her dream is to travel and work on major sporting events. Becoming a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship has been a stepping stone towards this goal. “The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship partners with the CYG and matches you with projects,” Emily explained. She was matched to assist with CYG projects in Trinidad starting at the beginning of this year.
Since January, she has worked on sport entry and results (reporting on game scores and competitors from the different countries), among other assignments. Emily’s favorite project was the caravan, an interactive marketing initiative to raise awareness and generate excitement about the CYG. Emily explained, “We had two sides of the caravan: booth set-up, where we would go to different events in Trinidad and host tables with memorabilia to raise awareness about the CYG, and an international initiative, where we would partner schoolkids from across Trinidad with other Commonwealth countries. We did an informational scavenger hunt on the Commonwealth and Trinbago 2023, and asked questions to children, such as, ‘What would your life be like if you were in Botswana’?” The children would then have the opportunity to do research and learn about other Commonwealth countries, and share with their classmates. The goal was to promote greater intercultural awareness across the Commonwealth.
During her six months in Trinidad, Emily has enjoyed meeting the locals and finding “her people.” Emily explained:
They don’t have high tourism here despite having beautiful beaches, but it did not take long for me to make friends. I quickly found an underground music scene and a job at the swim club. It has been incredible the amount of people who have offered to take me to new places or brought me local foods, like crab curry and dumplings or doubles.
During her six months in Trinidad, Emily has enjoyed meeting the locals and finding “her people.” Emily explained, “They don’t have high tourism here despite having beautiful beaches, but it did not take long for me to make friends. I quickly found an underground music scene and a job at the swim club. It has been incredible the amount of people who have offered to take me to new places or brought me local foods, like crab curry and dumplings or doubles.”
As an athlete herself, Emily knows many of the athletes coming from Canada personally and is excited to watch them compete in a few weeks. Emily noted:
These Games are unique because of the young age of the participants. The Opening Ceremony will be so much fun and has a ‘Carnival theme’ that will immerse everyone in the Trinidadian culture, with performances and cultures.
She hopes every person at the CYG who is young – at age or at heart – will embrace the sense of adventure and novelty from this fascinating country.
Another recipient of the Queen Elizabeth’s Scholarship, Tyler Powell, is a student at Mount Royal University pursuing a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education, with a focus on Sports and Recreation Management.
He is passionate about curling and has served as a children’s instructor with Curling Alberta and a Team Lead for Goldline Curling in Calgary. During the summers, he has also worked in golf. “I’m big about people getting out, being active, and living a healthy lifestyle,” Tyler expressed.
Since May, Tyler has been working in Trinidad as an intern with the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee to organize the CYG, with a focus on accreditation. Tyler explained:
There are somewhere between 4000 to 5000 people who need to be accredited. I am responsible for 36 out of the 71 countries.
Tyler is verifying IDs and other documentation and communicating with teams to ensure they are sending the correct number of people, as well as supporting the mighty team of volunteers responsible for on-the-ground logistics. He expressed:
I have been surprised by the number of people who are involved [in putting together such a large-scale event]. There have been 20-30 people who are working 50-60+ weeks to put together this event.
Outside of work, Tyler has also embraced life in Trinidad, including the new spicy food, and he even recently embarked on a 32-km hike on the island. “The people are really welcoming,” Tyler echoed.
As for the CYG, Tyler said:
I’m excited for people to experience the culture of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the hospitality. Most people haven’t heard of [this island nation]. I’m also excited to meet Team Canada and everyone from around the world, [whom] I’ve been communicating with via phone and email.
He looks forward to using this international experience to work toward his career goals of one day leading a curling or golf facility or association. Tyler concluded, “Although there have been highs and lows of working abroad, I would definitely encourage young people to travel internationally and experience the world.”