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Best practices: a student volunteer perspective from the Canada Winter Games

Shae Best

When Shae Best, a first-year student-athlete on the RDC Queens Basketball team, was presented with the opportunity to become involved in the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, she didn’t hesitate to take part in the once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Best’s position with the Games coordinates with her academic program at Red Deer College.

“I am helping administer the athletes if they need to use the Polyclinic,” she says. “I’m in the Occupational Physical Therapy Assistant Diploma program, so that fits in nicely with the role.”

The Polyclinic, which is located on RDC’s main campus (to support the Athletes’ Village), is set up as a small general and sports medicine clinic. It offers a variety of services, which include: chiropractic care, athletic therapy, physiotherapy, massage, psychology, and access to a doctor or nurse.

Best, who calls Lloydminster, Alberta, home, is the first point of contact at the clinic, and she has several roles. Some of her duties include answering the phone, directing the athletes or coaches to the appropriate service, booking appointments, and following up as needed.

Last season, Best played four games with the RDC Queens. She suited up for 19 games this year. Home games are held in the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris. This state-of-the-art facility has been named the legacy building for the national event, while providing opportunities for RDC learners and student-athletes, and central Albertans for decades to come. “It is a really big change coming into a new building,” she says. “We love the team room, and playing in the gym and the atmosphere it brings to our games.”

Giving back to the community has been instilled in Best from a young age and also aligns with the philosophy of RDC Athletics. “Volunteering is something that I have done my whole life,” she says. “As members of Queens Basketball, we go around to different schools and spend time with the students, and try to grow their love of basketball. The children look up to us, so it’s awesome to see their faces.”

From February 15 to March 2, the Centre will have an electric environment with five events taking place during the Canada Winter Games. Spectators will be able to enjoy badminton, figure skating, wheelchair basketball, squash and short track speed skating.

Red Deer and RDC have been bustling with excitement since competition began. The City of Red Deer has welcomed approximately 3,600 athletes and coaches, along with over 20,000 visitors.

Having the Games in Red Deer and five sports on campus is special for Best. “It means a lot to have the Canada Winter Games here,” she says. “For Red Deer being smaller, hosting this large event will bring a lot of positive things to central Alberta.”

The Winter Games is the most sizeable event that Red Deer has hosted, and the largest to take place in the province of Alberta, since the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Learn more about RDC’s role as a proud partner with the 2019 Canada Winter Games.