KAMLOOPS — The countdown is on to the BC Winter Games, and this year organizers are celebrating 40 years of exceptional experiences for young athletes in our province.
Since 1978, the BC Winter Games have given over 350,000 participants the chance to compete, excel, and prepare for higher levels of competition.
In Kamloops, just 27 days remain until the opening ceremonies take place, which will see more than 1,500 athletes converge on the city.
Competition will take place in Kamloops, Stake Lake, and Sun Peaks.
To ensure the event goes smoothly, hundreds of volunteers are still needed in a variety of different capacities.
"We're still looking for volunteers in opening and closing ceremonies to help marshal in the athletes," said 2018 BC Winter Games President Niki Remesz, "we're looking for food services, but specifically we are looking for a few chefs, and we are also looking for people to clean up, take plates, wipe tables."
With more than 2,000 games participants staying in Kamloops from Feb. 22-25, the BC Games Society is also seeking volunteers to assist with accommodations at Kamloops schools.
"It's probably one of the least glamorous jobs," said Karl de Bruijn, chair of the Accommodations Committee, "we're behind the scenes kind of thing, but it's a very important job for the games because it gives parents of the athletes, and everybody a lot of comfort knowing that there's good accommodation, and that they'll be well cared for once they're at the accommodations."
de Bruijn is hoping to see the number of committed volunteers double before the games.
"Right now we're looking good on paper, like there's 60 people, but we could really use double that. We could use about 120 volunteers."
In total, the BC Games Society is looking to recruit 2,000 volunteers. 1,270 have registered so far.
One of those volunteers is Kamloops resident Graham Cope. This will be his second Winter Games, having volunteered as a teenager in 1979.
"We had family friends that were very active in ski racing, and they needed bodies to help out at the race course up at Harper," Cope said. "So, the mom of the family asked me if I would be interested in helping out on the race and I was all over it. I enjoy skiing, and I thought well this will give me some exposure to racing too."
39 years later, Cope still loves the sport, and is one of the more senior officials in the province.
"This race I'm going to start off as starter on the first day during the slalom races, the (giant slalom) I'm probably a course worker just helping out on the crew and mentoring people on the slope."
No matter the skill levels or abilities of those who volunteer, organizers promise the effort will be worthwhile.
"Later on you say, 'I was part of that, I helped that,'" Remesz said. "There are so many legacies that are going to be left over from the BC Winter Games, and these legacies we have all contributed towards."
Anyone wishing to volunteer can visit the Kamloops Sports Council, or sign up online.
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