The B.C. Winter and Summer Games may be months apart on the calendar, but behind the scenes the year-and-a-half worth of effort put into organizing each provincial competition always overlaps.
Each games open up the opportunity for a new set of directors and volunteers to join together and organize the jam-packed weekend made up of 19 youth sporting events in winter, and 18 in summer, as well as dinners, dances and ceremonies.
The Cowichan Region B.C. Summer Games are set to take place July 19 to 22.
“We’re about five months away, and the rubbers got to hit the road pretty soon, so we’re figuring all that stuff out,” said Lacey Williams, operations manager for the BC Games Society.
B.C. WINTER GAMES: Check out Black Press Media’s full coverage here
During the winter games in Kamloops, society board of director Kirsten Schrader and Williams were two of several summer games organizers who travelled to the Thompson region to watch how the games are run.
From the athletes arriving to transportation to the athlete dance, directors got a first-hand view of what to aim for in July.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the pants because it shows you all that’s involved, all the work that happens, but the whole reason for doing it – it’s very emotional,” Schrader said.
The upcoming games will have athletes from all over the province competing throughout the Cowichan area, compared to previous years that were only focused on one city.
Events will take place at 27 venues in Shawnigan Lake, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan and Nanaimo.
Volunteers the heart and soul of successful games
The ratio of athletes to volunteers is almost 1:1 at most B.C. Games. Volunteers of all ages help with everything from parking lot coordinating, to assisting officials in running competitions to working security at the facilities.
There’s really a job for everyone.
The Cowichan Games will need at least three times the amount of volunteers as the winter games, due to the increased numbers of athletes competing.
Many of the volunteers who donated their time in Kamloops were retired or new to the community, and wanted to use their time to get to know the area and other local residents.
For some it was their first time volunteering, but certainly wouldn’t be their last.
Each volunteer Black Press Media spoke with was impressed with the positive attitude, determination and polite behaviour of the athletes.