What a day! Chartwells Champions Day took place on July 16th at TD Place. Chartwells and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group invited us to get together 100 Kids to take part in a fun filled afternoon on the field. With Ottawa Redblacks and Fury players, and the Redblacks Cheer team, all the Kids got to take part in football, soccer and dance activities.
Here at Kids Up Front we partner with over 88 local child-serving agencies, so when OSEG invited us to share the opportunity with our groups we knew there would be a overwhelming interest in the event. We were excited for our youth and were happy to rally their support for OSEG; one of our program’s Founding Partners. This task also took on a personal meaning for me as this was a great learning opportunity as a student summer program coordinator at Kids Up Front.
I began reaching out to our agencies to share the event details. Running drills with pro-athletes, cheer lessons from the CFL’s best team, free swag and a summer BBQ – it wasn’t hard to get our group excited about the great afternoon! With the details of the day in place, we selected a very deserving group of great youth from the YMCA/YWCA – National Capital Region, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, Robert Smarts Centre, South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre, Morrison Gardens Community House and Pinecrest Terrance Community House come out for this amazing day.
As a summer student, the opportunity to be a project lead on this event allowed me to learn about the intricacies of planning and executing an event of this size. Everything from organizing our agencies, to coordinating bus transportation, social media aspects and the legalities of signed waivers, being prepared and executing a great day relied on teamwork from our sponsors and partnering agencies.
Finally, the big day came, and watching the Kids arrive on their busses started getting everyone really excited! The welcoming squad was second-to-none, getting everyone registered and organized into groups to start their workstations. Ottawa Redblacks players ran some football drills to practice their field kicks and tackling skills, Ottawa Fury players were running a super fun soccer scrimmage and 2-on-2 drills, and the Ottawa Redblacks Cheer Team were teaching us some signature cheer and dance moves needed to cheer on our Ottawa Redblacks!
One little girl walking by me exclaimed “This is my first time playing football!” and I responded “Wow – isn’t it great your first time is on the field of TD Place!” and she excited said “YES!” This kind of reaction made my day! Kids Up Front is one of the most rewarding positions I’ve ever experienced so far! Here are some more awesome things we heard from the Kids about the event:
“I loved how we got to meet and play with the players. They gave me many new tips and tricks.”
“I loved being outside all day”
“The food was so good”
“The cheerleaders were so pretty and I really had fun dancing with them”
“I finally have my own water bottle”
When it was all said and done it was a fantastic day! The most important part was the fun had by the Kids and getting them off the sidelines and into the game. Our special thanks to Chartwells Canada and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group for allowing us this amazing opportunity!