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No Ordinary Game

OPP Volunteering2

From L to R: Sergeant Michael Gayos, Special Constable Richelle De Belchior, Special Constable Krista Hatfield, and Special Constable Ryan-Blair Smith.

By Bill Markakis, Volunteer Coordinator, Corporate Volunteer Program

If you were passing by the CAMH Sandi and Jim Treliving Gymnasium recently, you probably would have seen a very lively game of basketball being played. You would’ve noticed a lot of laughs, smiles, teamwork, good competition and some very tired faces. What you may not have noticed was the community building being done as this was no ordinary game of basketball. Clients and staff from Units 3-1, 3-2, 1-3 and the Concurrent Youth Unit joined officers from the Queen’s Park OPP Detachment as volunteers from the Corporate Volunteer Program.

The impact of this event was felt in many ways and one of those was by bringing clients and staff together from units and programs that may not typically have an opportunity to participate together. The impact on this program with the officers can be best described by them.

Sergeant Michael Gayos:

This was a great event and a great program. The interaction between the officers, clients and staff of CAMH was fantastic and it allowed me to see the officers and clients in a different light. What I really enjoyed was being able to set people up for success. So often when you get the ball your first thought is to score, here the first thought was to set somebody else up so that they could get the opportunity to score. We learned a lot about the organization, each other and more importantly about the clients. After participating here, we’ll be ambassadors for change in our workplace. We look forward to volunteering in the near future.

Special Constable Richelle De Belchior:

At first there was a little bit of nervous energy as we didn’t know what to expect when we first arrived. After the training session we felt much more comfortable and as clients began to show up and participate we were much more at ease. Once the ball was tipped off it felt like we were all on the same level, just a bunch of people playing basketball and having fun.

Special Constable Ryan-Blair Smith:

I really enjoyed myself at the event. Playing basketball with the clients was a great way to break the ice. As we started playing more and more you could see the rapport and relationships build on each team. It was a great way to integrate us in to the CAMH community and I’d love to be able to do this again.

Special Constable Krista Hatfield:

Playing basketball here allowed me to see people in such a different way. So often when we interact with people who may be struggling with a mental health illness it’s when they’re not necessarily at their best. Today we got to see them at their best! I felt really welcomed by the clients and I saw a lot of collaboration. At one point I noticed people walking by the gym and they stopped in to cheer us on. It really did look like any other community gym and that’s what it felt like – community.

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