Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Canada Games organizers launch drive to recruit 6,000 volunteers

Canada Games organizers launch drive to recruit 6,000 volunteers

The Guardian
Organizers of the 2009 Canada Games are inviting all Islanders to Come Play on Our Team.
Games organizers are looking for 6,000 volunteers for the Islandwide event Aug. 15-29, 2009.
The launch of the volunteer recruitment campaign for the Games took place Monday at the CARI complex at UPEI.
Carolyn Bertram, provincial minister responsible for sport and recreation, spoke at the launch.
“From Tignish to Souris, from Victoria to North Rustico, we need Islanders from coast to coast to coast,” she said. “And I know volunteers will step up to the plate.”
The task of organizing all of those volunteers falls to Myrtle Jenkins-Smith, vice-president of the volunteer services division for the Games.
“It’s going to be a massive job. We’ve been working now for over a year and a half. We’ve recruited our core team and broken it up into areas of responsibility. Underneath that we have many sub-committees.”
The launch was also a chance for the Games organizers to unveil a new website where people can apply to volunteer online.
By visiting www.2009canadagames.com, Islanders can choose what type of volunteer job they’d like to do best.
They can help out with any of the 18 sports at the Games, as well as in areas such as information technology and medical services.
At the launch, Bertram demonstrated just how easy the online process is by filling out her own application on a laptop.
The 2009 Canada Games will be the first held provincewide since the Games began in 1967.
Because of the wide geographical area, organizers wanted the volunteer application process to be as easy as possible, said Jenkins-Smith.
“We’re trying to (show people) that there’s many opportunities and they don’t have to just look at something in their backyard.”
Although she admits that recruiting 6,000 people will be a big job, Jenkins-Smith is confident that through face-to-face interaction with Islanders, it will be possible.
The organizers will be travelling across P.E.I. to talk to community groups and organizations about volunteering. They already have 1,000 volunteers signed up, she said.
There is a great spirit of volunteerism on P.E.I., said Joseph Spriet, the president of the 2009 Canada Games, and events such as this one couldn’t exist without that spirit.
“You couldn’t stage these games financially without the 6,000 volunteers. It would be horrendously expensive.”
With all of the options for volunteers, “there’s no question that there’s something for every interest,” he said.
Of the 6,000 volunteers needed, the organizers would like at least 600 to be bilingual.
They will target francophone areas of the province, as well as federal and provincial government employees, to find bilingual volunteers, said Jenkins-Smith.
“We feel like it’s a realistic number. We looked at the areas of responsibility, and where we should have bilingual services throughout the games to make it fair.”

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