Organizers of the 2011 B.C. Seniors Games introduced and honoured key volunteers at a rally in Castlegar on Tuesday night, gearing up for the major sporting event that is set to take place across the West Kootenay in August.
The games motto – “Three Cities, One Goal” – was emphasized by the mayors of Castlegar, Nelson and Trail, all of whom attended the event and spoke positively about the benefits of the games for the region as a whole.
“I see this as one more stepping stone in brining our communities together,” Nelson Mayor John Dooley told the crowd of well over 100 people at the Castlegar Community Complex.
Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs – who has been at odds recently with members of Castlegar City Council over the possibility of school closures in School District 20 – said differences of opinion between municipalities won’t get in the way of hosting the province’s top senior athletes this summer.
“This is going to be one of those opportunities to work together,” Bogs said.
Politics were put aside early in the evening, however, as this event was primarily about the people who are donating their time and effort to make the games happen.
“We can’t do this without everybody out there,” games director Wayne Naka told the crowd after most of the directors, chairs and other key volunteers had been introduced.
“We really appreciate all the volunteerism.”
But the volunteering has only just begun. Organizers have focused on filling top-level positions first, but the next task will be to recruit the army of front-line volunteers that will be needed to run the games.
All in all, volunteer director Doreen Smecher said about 1,500 to 2,000 volunteers will be required and organizers plan to put out a general call for help in the spring.
“We’ll be out in the community in full force,” she said.
About 3,500 participants aged 55 and over are expected to compete in 27 events at the 2011 B.C. Seniors Games, which will take place at venues in Castlegar, Trail and Nelson Aug. 16 – 20.
The events range from archery to ice hockey, equestrian to darts, mountain biking to golf and even card games like whist, cribbage, and bridge.