Saturday, January 26, 2008

Getting down to business, then fun and games

Getting down to business, then fun and games
2009 canada summer games
Journal Pioneer

Just call him the seven-million-dollar man.

Wayne Carew heads the group fundraising for the 2009 Canada Games in P.E.I.

Lately, the vice-president with the Friends of the Games has been dashing across the Island with other Canada Games officials to capture local business interest.

"We don't just need money," Carew explained at a Kensington and Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday.

The Summer Games have a $33-million budget, with $7 million needed from the efforts of the Friends. But Carew told the Kensington business audience the Games could also use value in kind; to run the event they need everything from computers to cars, and massive amounts of food. (Think 1,600 loaves of bread, 35,000 potatoes and 11,000 litres of milk to start).

Carew explained the Friends have been encouraging business participation, support and help in getting national corporate contacts.

He said in an interview about half a dozen national Games sponsors have been lined up with announcements expected to start within a month; another half dozen he described as 90 per cent complete.

Carew said they've been presenting the Games as a marketing opportunity. "It's too easy to say no to a donation."

A presentation video depicts young athletes in celebration and comments from the likes of Olympians Cindy Klassen and Dave "Eli" MacEachern. Games officials also come armed with statistics - like the expected 150 hours of Games broadcast time.

Kensington itself will see action in soccer and softball (with upgrades planned to facilities at Kensington Intermediate Senior High and Community Gardens, respectively) as well as water sports in the Southwest River in nearby Clinton. Carew stressed it's a great chance to promote the community.

A number of such presentations have been delivered locally, particularly at chamber of commerce functions, with more planned.

He's been pleased with the response. One at a chamber event in Summerside led to contact with the president of a national company.

Carew himself volunteered because of the legacy the Games leave for sport but also the chance they provide to promote tourism and economic development here.

"It is really a once in a lifetime opportunity."

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