Less than one year remains before thousands of athletes, coaches and spectators flood into Maple Ridge for the 2020 BC Summer Games and the behind-the-scenes teams are ready to roll up their sleeves.
“This is the kick off,” enthused Tom Bowen, vice-president of the Maple Ridge 2020 BC Summer Games.
On Monday evening the board of directors rallied together with their selected committee members at The ACT. The night was an opportunity for the different teams to get acquainted and show their spirit – and they didn’t disappoint.
“We’re all working on this together. Yeah, we all have titles, but we’re building a team to make it work. It’s exciting,” said Bowen, who has lived in the community since 1988.
The group will be putting in many hours over the coming months to prepare for the opening of the games. Some of the responsibilities of the different teams include accommodations for athletes and coaches, logistics, marketing, medical services, technology, and transportation.
A lighthearted welcome speech from Bowen and president of the games Mike Keenan, set the tone for the high energy and fun evening where 14 directors took a few minutes in the spotlight to introduce their teams.
“Tonight really is an important juncture in all of this… we actually have a public event where all the key volunteers, there’s like 80 of them, [without] [them] these games won’t exist… this is kind of the official kick off, so now we roll up our sleeves and get working, and get the games out to the public,” said Keenan, who grew up in Maple Ridge and raised his family in the city.
Several teams came prepared to the rally with creative ways to introduce themselves aside from reciting their names over the microphone.
Director of protocol Gay Conn marched her team to the stage to the tune of an upbeat song. The team didn’t use the microphone to introduce themselves, but rather posters with their names and responsibilities listed.
Also, directors of sport Eric Muller and Bill Johnstone, arrived on stage with their team dressed in athletic gear that represented different sports.
“We both made a commitment to rock these BC Summer Games, an event so spectacular Maple Ridge will never be the same, without further ado I will introduce you to each, we’re only a call away and we’re so very easy to reach,” said Johnstone, before passing the microphone off to his team who continued the rhyme.
But an all-around crowd favourite was the food services team who took their two minutes in the spotlight to offer everyone chocolate-covered strawberries.
Keenan estimates the games will bring upwards of 6,000 athletes, coaches, visitors and volunteers to the city. In January, the organization will put a call out asking for volunteers.
“It obviously gives you that chance to showcase your city and let them know what you’re proud of… [but] let’s not kid ourselves, a lot of money comes in to run these games, out of that comes a legacy of money and facilities that are left when the games are over and the community benefits from that, so it really is a win-win for Maple Ridge,” Keenan concluded.
The BC Summer Games are set to begin July 23 in Maple Ridge.