Come on, volunteers!
There’s a little over five weeks to go before the lighting of the flame to officially kickstart the 2012 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games in Carbonear and Harbour Grace. In other words, blink just a few times and the competitions will be underway, with eight regions from throughout the province competing in 10 sports for the right to hoist the Premier’s Cup.
While the exact numbers won’t be known until later this month, it’s estimated that up to 1,400 young athletes between the ages of 11 and 18 — along with hundreds more coaches, parents, guardians, and family members — will flock to our towns and communities. Expect this event to inject many positive spinoffs throughout the region, especially in the business community.
Many among them will be casting a critical eye at how the games are organized and managed, and will surely be talking about the event long after it’s over. You can be sure that organizers want their experience to be a favourable one.
That said, this is an opportunity, much like the last time the event was staged in this region in 1992, to put our best foot forward and assemble the best games in recent memory. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that athletes and other visitors leave this region with good memories and positive things to say about the people and place.
We are now beginning to see some very visible signs of preparation as the host towns spruce up their respective recreation facilities. But the real work is going on behind the scenes, where an estimated 200 volunteers are working daily to get ready for the 2012 competition, which runs from Aug. 18-25. But this is far from enough. Up to late last week, organizers say roughly 350 volunteers had filled out an application, with a welcome surge in numbers coming in recent days.
But remember, this is a massive organizational undertaking, one that will require, organizers say, up to 600 volunteers to make sure it happens in an orderly, safe and distinguished fashion.
Organizers are not panicking about the shortfall, and say it’s a tradition in past events that a flood of volunteers come forward in the days before the start of competitions. But you can be sure there’s growing concern about whether or not there will be enough people to staff the various venues, especially in areas such as accommodations, communications, registration, transportation and security. Help is also needed with the opening and closing ceremonies.
Whether you can offer an hour, a day, or a full week of your time, your help is needed and welcomed. It’s as simple as completing a code of conduct with the RCMP, and picking up an application at town offices in Carbone a r o r Harbour Gra c e , o r g o i n g o n l i n e a t http://www.ignitethelight2012.com/.
— Terry Roberts