2014 Alberta Summer Games set to impress
With the kick-off to the 2014 Alberta Summer Games in Airdrie just 10 months away, there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to make sure one of the largest scale events ever hosted by the city is a success, according to Games Chair Al Jones
Jones anticipates there will be more than 3,000 athletes in the city next summer for the Games. There will also be family members, coaches and people who come from far and wide to watch the events.
“You figure many of these athletes will be coming with family and friends,” said Jones. “We could be looking at upwards of 15,000 making their way through Airdrie.”
Add to that number, the staff needed to run an event with the same magnitude of provincial games, including officials, doctors and paramedics and kinesiology specialists. All staff is being provided by the Games themselves as athletes at this level aren’t yet travelling with medical teams and an assortment of trainers.
“Things like food, facility fees, medical staff, we provide all of that,” said Jones, who added how beneficial the Games will be for the community as a whole, “these people are coming from all over the province and they’ll be shopping in our stores, staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants, that’s all money coming into the community.”
The city’s schools will be utilized as athlete villages and the city will provide the facilities themselves at which the athletes will be competing.
“The City of Airdrie and the Rocky View School Division have been excellent with providing donations of space and gifts in kind,” said Jones.
A provincial Summer Games requires high-quality facilities and that is just what Airdrie has according to Michelle Lock, who is the facilities director for the 2014 Alberta Games.
“We’re very fortunate to have all the facilities here in the city and it’s our job to ensure that they’re all operational,” said Lock.
Genesis Place will act as a hub for the Games, as much of the competition will take place in and around the facility. East Lake Athletic Park will host track and field events, Genesis Place pool will be the home of swimming competitions and Bert Church High School’s gymnasium will host basketball.
“There’s seating for 1,200 people at the East Lake Athletics Park,” said Lock.
“Bert Church gymnasium can seat over 400 people; we’re ensuring that our sports with the largest contingent of athletes and spectators have enough space.”
The newly added beach volleyball courts in Chinook Winds Park will also be utilized for the Games, as well as the Monklands soccer fields.
“We’re very fortunate to have a facility like Genesis Place,” said Jones. “It’s a world-class facility and I think having it here played a big part in us securing the games.”
Jones was selected as the chair of the Games in June of 2012 and shortly after, his board was assembled.
“I’m really fortunate to have such a talented group of people on the board,” said Jones.
“They’ve all done a great job in recruiting their own groups of talented people as well to form the committees to bring this all together.”
Board members have been handling a lot of the behind-the-scenes legwork, but when next summer rolls around, there is going to be a need for many volunteers.
“We’re going to need upwards of 2,000 bodies volunteering over the course of the Games,” said Jones.
Aside from rounding up a solid volunteer base, Jones says that it’s integral that the committee procure corporate sponsorships to in order to garner some financial support.
“With an event as large as this, the money is never quite where you want it to be so we’re hoping to have more corporate sponsors come forward,” said Jones.
Lock believes hosting the Games will leave a long-term legacy for the community and be great for the City’s reputation.
“We’re really looking forward to showcasing the quality of facilities we have here,” said Lock. “Not only that, but showcasing the community as a whole to the rest of Alberta.”
Anyone who would like to get involved with the 2014 Alberta Summer Games can contact the games office at 403-945-0104.