The board of the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games has been recognized by the GNWT as this year’s outstanding volunteer group.
Representatives of the board – made up of volunteers from the host communities of Hay River and Fort Smith – received the honour on May 24 in Yellowknife during the annual presentations of the NWT Outstanding Volunteer Awards.
“It’s certainly a surprise, a very welcomed surprise,” said Hay River’s Greg Rowe, the president of the board. “You know you don’t do this for recognition.”
Rowe said he was informed the board had won the award just over a week before the presentation ceremony.
“It’s certainly a nice recognition,” he said.
Rowe said the board members put in several years of work in a partnership involving Hay River and Fort Smith, noting that they were diligent to stay united and make sure it was a South Slave games.
“The board itself always stayed as one board,” he said.
The board was made up of six members from Hay River and six from Fort Smith.
Rowe said it was a very tight-knit group that worked closely to achieve what all members feel was a “hugely successful” 2018 games.
The board president said the members probably volunteered thousands of hours to the effort and gave up a lot of personal time to do so.
“The contribution is amazing, really,” he said. “I don’t think anybody will really understand the amount of work that goes into it.”
Despite that, Rowe said it was a great experience.
The Arctic Winter Games board was made up of the following members from Hay River: Rowe and directors Jason Coakwell, Mark Horton, Tiffany Demarcke, Rob Wilkins and Julianne Fuller; and from Fort Smith: vice-president Kevin Smith, and directors Dana Fergusson, Jessica Cox, Shari Olsen, Rashmi Patel and Olivia Villeneuve.
The other winners of the 2018 NWT Outstanding Volunteer Awards are:
Helena Tutcho of Deline, outstanding elder award;
Michael Koadloak of Ulukhaktok, outstanding youth award;
Ryan Fequet of Yellowknife, outstanding individual award.
The NWT Outstanding Volunteer Awards annually go to individuals and groups who have helped improve the quality of life in the NWT through volunteerism.
“Volunteers play a critical role in helping build sustainable, vibrant and safe communities in the NWT,” said Municipal and Community Affairs Minister Alfred Moses in a news release.
Moses said he is happy to recognize outstanding volunteers who selflessly devote their time and effort to the betterment of their communities.
Each of the award recipients receives $500 to give to a volunteer organization of their choice.
Rowe said that the Arctic Winter Games board has asked that its donation go to the NWT Arts Council for youth programs, in recognition that arts and culture are huge aspects of the games.