An initiative earlier this month has added 288 new volunteers for the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games.

At a Dec. 11 event at the Ptarmigan Inn on Hay River for volunteers and corporate supporters, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, represented by president Jay K. Grewal, left, was among the major corporate sponsors recognized by the upcoming 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games with a gift from Greg Rowe, the president of the Host Society. photo courtesy of Thorsten Gohl, 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games Host Society

The volunteer drive – called the 100 Day Celebration – was set up as a competition between the two host communities of Hay River and Fort Smith from Dec. 1 to Dec. 11.

Thorsten Gohl, the marketing manager for the games, explained both towns were asked to challenge themselves and sign up as many volunteers as possible.

“It was an absolute success,” he said of the volunteer drive. “We signed up 288 new volunteers during that period – 164 in Hay River and 124 in Fort Smith. That brought us up to a total number of 831.”

The overall goal is to have 1,500 volunteers for the games, Gohl noted. “So we are over a half.”

The games’ organizers have the task of recruiting 669 more volunteers by the time the event is held from March 18 to 24, 2018.

Gohl is confident that will be done.

“We’re definitely working on some more plans right now, and we’re not sure what that will look like, but I’m quite sure that we will see more social media things happening,” he said.

Plus, Gohl noted that the arrival of special apparel for volunteers will also spur some people to help out.

“We’ll use that for sure that people recognize that they get a jacket, they get a vest and they get a long sleeve T-shirt,” he said.

Gohl also predicted that, after the territorial trails are finished in January, residents of both Hay River and Fort Smith are going to get “super excited” about the games.

There is also an opportunity for people to get the volunteer apparel by offering accommodation space in the homes, not their time.

“We’ve also started now a campaign for additional accommodation where instead of volunteering your time you volunteer your beds, for example,” said Gohl. “So we get a place for mission staff to stay during the games, and then you become a volunteer without needing to volunteer, but you still get the same recognition as a volunteer.”

The people who volunteer such accommodation will not be included in the 1,500 number needed to run the games.

The conclusion of the 100 Day Celebration volunteer drive also included recognition of some of the major corporate sponsors for the games.

They include NorthwesTel, the Rowe’s Group of Companies, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, Aurora Ford and IKON Office Solutions.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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