In a little over a month Prince Albert will host the Saskatchewan Winter Games, but they’re short on one thing; volunteers.
© Daily Herald photo by Jason Kerr.
Volunteer division co-chair Carol Soles is hard at work preparing for the Saskatchewan Winter Games.
Roughly 1,300 volunteers are needed for the games, which start on Feb. 16, but so far the organizing committee only has around 400.
“We need a fair amount of people to step forward, and Prince Albert will step forward, no doubt about it,” says Carol Soles, the co-chair of the volunteer division. “We just need a little more awareness.”
Finding so many volunteers in a short amount of time may seem like a difficult task, but the organizers are not worried.
“Prince Albert is historically a last-minute town,” says board chairman Al Dyer with a chuckle, “we’re just hoping to avoid a last minute rush.”
This is not an uncommon problem for winter games organizers. At the last winter games four years ago in Moose Jaw, organizers found themselves 1,500 volunteers short just two weeks before the opening ceremonies. The committee members in Prince Albert say they will not suffer a similar fate.
“I’m confident,” Soles says, “Prince Albert is always a community that reaches out and steps forward when there’s a cause. They’re just sometimes a little slow getting started.”
Soles and Dyer both say there is a contingency plan in place to deal with the lack of volunteers. However, they do not think they will need it. Volunteer numbers, they say, are increasing after the slow start.
“The Christmas season sort of took over,” Soles says, “but the numbers are starting to rise.”
The organizers are relying on the good nature of Prince Albert residents, like Dave Harvey. He dropped his volunteer application off on Thursday.
“I like winter sports, I’ve been playing hockey all my life, and I enjoy outdoor things,” he says. “I felt that it would be a good thing to do to help out the community.”
As for the rest of the games, Dyer says the organizing committee is ready to go. They just need that little extra push.
“We’re pretty comfortable at this point that the plans are in place,” he says. “It’s just a matter of implementing them. Volunteers are crucial to that.”
The games run from Feb. 16-22, and feature athletes from across the province competing in 16 events across four divisions. Traditional winter sports like speed skating, hockey and alpine skiing will take place alongside more summer-oriented sports like wrestling and judo. This will be the second time Prince Albert has hosted the event. Back in 1982 they hosted the third ever Saskatchewan Winter Games. Prince Albert also hosted the Saskatchewan Summer Games in 1992.