A visit to Kamloops this past summer gave 2014 BC Seniors Games president Milt Kruger and his fellow directors a sampling of what the upcoming event will have to offer.
Langley is hosting the 27th annual Games from Sept. 9-13.
For the Langley group, their August 2013 excursion to the Kamloops Games was a sampling of whatâ€™s in store when roughly 3,500 athletes will converge on their community for the multi-sport competition.
Kruger spent three full days with 2013 Games president Charlie Bruce.
â€œThe experience was certainly positive,â€ Kruger said. â€œWe got a sense of the feel and excitement of the Games. The trip was tremendous value. It gave us something clear to work towards.â€
There are 25 sports included in this yearâ€™s Games, and they range from whist and crib to swimming and bowling.
One of those who visited Kamloops was Howie Vickberg, a former Langley Township councillor who is the protocol director with the 2014 Games.
In Kamloops, he focused on the track and field portion, mainly because of his own interest in distance running and athletics.
â€œThat was really neat,â€ Vickberg said. â€œIt was very inspiring.â€
The age for participating athletes is 55-plus.
The â€œplusâ€ part includes athletes as old as their 90s, Vickberg noted.
â€œIt was pretty neat watching folks well in their 70s, 80s, and when it came time for their actual race, or to do what they were doing, it was like a switch went on, and the competitive juices kick in,â€ Vickberg said. â€œIt was really neat watching the interaction. A lot of these folks have been doing this for a long time. It was like watching a reunion in a sense, as well.â€
Referring to the 2010 BC Summer Games, and 2013 Special Olympics BC Summer Games, both successfully held in the community, Vickberg said Langley has the amenities and dedicated volunteers to be able to handle an event of this magnitude.
â€œWe more than hold our own,â€ he said. â€œAs a community, Langley has really evolved with our sports facilities. The LEC is sort of the culmination of that, but weâ€™ve got McLeod [Athletic] Park and over the years weâ€™ve really added to the facilities in Aldergrove. An event like this is such a great use of what we have.â€
The push is on for volunteers.
People can register online at 2014bcseniorsgames.org and then clicking on the â€œcontact usâ€ tab on the right hand side of the screen. They can also drop by the Games office to sign up in person. Located at 20560 Fraser Hwy., the office is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 604-533-8065.
â€œWithout volunteers, we have nothing,â€ Kruger said.
Games operations manager Shirley Stewart said helpers are needed in a variety of positions.
â€œWe need everything from helping with registrations to sports events, medical, and secretarial duties, to ceremonies, and compiling results,â€ Stewart said.
She estimated that 1,400 to 1,600 volunteers will be needed before, during, and after the Games â€“ primarily immediately before and during.
â€œWe can do it. This community always comes through,â€ Stewart said. â€œIf they donâ€™t have time during the summer, thatâ€™s okay, they can volunteer for positions during the actual Games,â€ which happen the week after Langley Good Times Cruise-In.
â€œWe are open for business nowâ€¦ Weâ€™d love to have you come in to register and help us out,â€ Stewart said, noting volunteers are also needed to help out ahead of time in the organization of the games.
â€œWe can use your helpâ€¦ whatever youâ€™re interested in and capable of giving,â€ she added, â€œVolunteers can be any age group, as long as they have the time and the ability to held. Thatâ€™s all we need.â€