The Team Behind the Scenes

Volunteers come back year after year to keep things running smoothly at NYO


Volunteers from Youth with a Mission (YWAM) pose with CITC Program Instructor Carolyn Crosby (at left) during the 2015 NYO Games. YWAM, a Homer-based outreach organization, is one of several groups that donates time to NYO. Photo by Wayde Carroll

If you’re familiar with NYO, you probably know that this annual event draws about 500 students from 100 communities across Alaska for three days of friendly competition and contests of strength and agility. But did you know that NYO volunteers also come from near and far to make the Games a success?

“We have particular groups and individuals who show up to volunteer at NYO year after year,” said CITC’s Community Engagement Officer Denise Osborne. “Those volunteers keep things running smoothly on the floor and behind the scenes, and they’re really key to the success of NYO each year.”

Youth with a Mission (YWAM), a Homer-based outreach organization, is one of several groups that donates its time to NYO. Volunteers from YWAM empty trash cans, take surveys, keep score, sell merchandise, enter athlete data, and do whatever they can to assist the officials who run the games. From Anchorage, volunteers from the Ernie Turner Center pitch in most years by providing security and helping with the ambassador’s table, greeting visitors and pointing people in the right direction.

Meanwhile, a dedicated band of individuals works as scorekeepers—a crucial role that requires training in order to enforce NYO rules and regulations. Additional individuals put their backs into the Games as they set up and break down the stage area, tables, expo room, and main floor, while math-savvy volunteers man the NYO gear sales table. CITC employees get in on the action, too, with several consistently returning each year to pitch in wherever help is needed.

NYO is a team effort among the athletes and the volunteers, alike. Come be a part of the NYO team! There are lots of different ways you can join in on the fun. For more volunteer opportunities, or to learn how you can support the games, call (907) 793-3209 or email