A call to arms

The Compass - - OPINION -

The 2012 New­found­land and Labrador Summer Games have en­tered the home stretch, with just un­der 70 days re­main­ing un­til the opening cer­e­monies on Aug. 18.

Teams are start­ing to take shape and en­ergy is build­ing around the games.

But, one thing is still hang­ing over the head of event or­ga­niz­ers — the amount of vol­un­teers that have come for­ward is alarm­ing.

If you are mak­ing the trip into Car­bon­ear, by way of Har­bour Grace, have a look at the vol­un­teer ther­mo­stat set up on the road next to the soc­cer pitch at St. Fran­cis.

When you see this ther­mo­stat, no­tice the num­ber of recorded vol­un­teers. It reads about 150.

Now, this num­ber and the ac­tual num­ber of vol­un­teers could dif­fer, but the fact of the mat­ter is that is sim­ply not a num­ber that can work for an event of this mag­ni­tude. Not with up­wards to 1,000 ath­letes, coaches and par­ents de­scend­ing on the towns of Har­bour Grace and Car­bon­ear.

Now, as co-chair Mil­ton Peach eluded in th­ese pages a cou­ple of weeks prior, vol­un­teers are not as easy to come by as they were 20 years ago. In the two decades since the last Games in the re­gion, the vol­un­teer­ing process has be­come a waste­land of pa­per work and record checks.

No longer is it show up, put your name down on a sign-up sheet and await march­ing or­ders.

With that said, I don’t think that will pre­vent peo­ple from show­ing up. What I do think will pre­vent peo­ple from sign­ing up is a lack of knowl­edge of how to be­come a vol­un­teer. If peo­ple lack the knowl­edge, how can they expect to know what to do?

There needs to be sig­nage of some sort lit­ter­ing the high­ways, bi-ways and ev­ery­where in be­tween. Th­ese signs need to im­plore peo­ple to do­nate their time to a wor­thy cause and what is sure to be a mag­nif­i­cent event. What the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee needs is a call to arms — a bat­tle cry to rally the troops and to drum up in­ter­est.

Maybe, an Un­cle Sam type char­ac­ter to draw peo­ple in … OK, maybe not one of those.

Let this serve as a cry. What is it they say about giv­ing blood? It’s in you to give. The same goes for time.

Yeah, I think that works. Time, you have it so give it up and vol­un­teer. Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher

with The Com­pass

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