The Faces Behind the Games

Posted by Rebecca on July 15, 2015

Pan Ambling

The Games have officially started!

Considering the spectacular Opening Ceremonies this past Friday and the 25 gold medals Canada has won so far (64 medals in total), it is no wonder that Games fever is everywhere!

The Games are generally focused on their stars — the athletes — but there are also 23,000 wonderful, hardworking volunteers who make this multi-sport event possible.

Kelly and Pachi, the mascot of the Games!

I had the pleasure of interviewing one of those volunteers, Kelly Chen, a Venue Operations Manager for the Games. Kelly works with the Venue Management department, where she leads planning processes and manages the teams and athletes at the sports sites. Kelly explained that there are “Back of House” operations (concerning the athletes, members of the media and VIPs) and “Front of House” operations (working with the volunteers who are ticket-takers and ushers). As a Venue Operations Manager, Kelly deals with the Back of House side of the Games, taking care of VIPs and essentially making sure everything runs smoothly.

Kelly established herself as an experienced volunteer, with a long list of contacts and referrals, long before the Games arrived on campus. She likes to call herself a “busy bee” for a reason! Once she got to York in her first year, she found clubs through YU Connect and contacted those she was interested in. She found York Is U (an initiative that fosters leadership at York) and helped plan York’s birthday celebrations as an Internal Administrative Coordinator. Her responsibilities included ordering food and taking care of marketing operations. Since then, Kelly has volunteered with the Career Centre, York International, Student Community and Leadership Development, and she currently works as a Student Tour Ambassador, assisting with Fall and Spring Campus Days/Open Houses and giving tours of York to prospective students and their parents. Can you see some real York pride here?

Today, Kelly gives us a glimpse into the fun things she’s done so far and what she’s most excited about for the Games. She also explains that the skills she gained as a Student Tour Ambassador really helped in adjusting to her new role.

She says, “Giving a venue tour was a lot of fun. A group of about 300 volunteers came by, and in groups of 20 to 30, I showed them the venue, which is the York Stadium. It was kind of like being a Student Tour Ambassador, where I used my skill and knowledge of the campus to engage the volunteers.”

Pan Am Stadium
York Stadium

She adds, “I’m most excited for the athletes! Meeting and having them compete on home soil is so cool. I’m most looking forward to Dontae and Khamica, who are varsity athletes here at York who made it to the Games. I really love track & field, as I competed as a kid. I won first place for 400 meters! For me, it’s the best of both worlds, being able to watch track & field at York University.”

Kelly is just one of many York students helping make the Games a great experience for everyone. You can find more stories of extraordinary student volunteers on YFile.


And you? Are you excited for the Games? Are you a volunteer? Do you have questions for Kelly? Let us know your thoughts! Leave a comment or tweet me @yorkuniversity!

Pan Am Medals
An up-close look at the medals of the Games!



Rebecca M. is a third-year English major. She no longer blogs regularly for the YU Blog but may post on occasion as a guest-blogger.

See other posts by Rebecca

  • Avatar
    Carys sun

    Love this article

  • Megan

    Great article Rebecca! I really enjoyed this one.

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