Come on, vol­un­teers!

The Compass - - OPINION -

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.ig­niteth­e­

— Terry Roberts

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