“The announcement was made today because we wanted to do the Games manager and the dates all at the same time,” Games manager Judy MacLeod Campbell said. “As you noticed and probably know from what’s going on in the education world, we didn’t get that date finalized until late Friday.”
Campbell has been working as the Games manager since mid-January. While she hasn’t managed the event before, Campbell has more than 20 years of experience in the sport, culture and recreation sector.
“The biggest thing with the Games is the planning, organization, co-ordination and communication,” she said.
Campbell is working closely with the Games organizing committee.
“We have 11 different divisions -- everything from sports to venues to logistics to marketing and promotion,” she said. “Everybody needs to know I’m really a conduit between the different divisions so that we all kind of now how one thing impacts another.”
The reasons to select the third week in February for the Games are two-fold, according to Campbell. She said the weather is still ideal for outdoor sports such as cross-country skiing, biathlon and snowboarding and it would not conflict with the school year or the operations at Carlton Comprehensive High School.
“Many of the coaches and managers from across the province are often in the education system,” Campbell said. “Obviously, that’s good timing for them to have the week off, and then of course with Carlton being athlete’s village, we do need that facility to house the athletes during the Games.”
The Winter will include about 2,000 athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff, 150 major officials, 200 VIPs and guests and around 1,500 volunteers. As well, the city is expected to host about 5,000 visitors and experience an economic impact of about $1 million.
“Now that the dates are solidified with the school division, we’re working with Sask. Rivers School Division and Carlton,” Campbell said. “Carlton will house the athletes, coaches and managers, so that’s a big piece – laying out the plan for that facility in terms of where everybody sleeps, eats and recreates in that building.”
Sixteen sports will be held at 11 different venues, all of which will be in Prince Albert, except for alpine skiing, which will be held at Wapiti.
“The Games run from a Sunday to a Saturday, but Wednesday is a turnaround day,” Campbell said. “So half of the sports happen in the first half of the week, from Sunday to Wednesday, and then those athletes, coaches, managers go home and a new group comes in for the other half, which consists of eight different sports.”
Campbell pointed to the importance of sponsorships and volunteers.
“Those are really our biggest areas are finances and volunteers, and of course the sports themselves,” she said. “Right now, we are working with the provincial sport governing bodies to get schedules for the week, to get all of the different sports’ needs organized … what can we actually fund, looking to our volunteers.”
Online volunteer registration up will be up in the next month or two, said Campbell.