With just over three weeks until the opening ceremonies for the Saskatchewan Winter Games in North Battleford, there has been a recent surge in the number of volunteers that have signed up, but many more are still needed.
In early January, a final push for volunteers began, as less than 500 had signed up.
Now, there are more than 700 registered volunteers, with the end goal still set at 1,200.
"We had a huge response from people who obviously heard about it from battlefordsNOW or were talking to friends. Registration has come up quite a bit," Volunteer Committee Co-Chair Mark Richardson said on Wednesday. "We're still looking for that final group and we're hoping — now that we've launched the self-scheduling, [where] people can not only just go in and register but they can go in and register their shifts — we're hoping that will kind of light the fire in people to get in to register and volunteer."
Richardson said three specific areas are still needed: set-up and tear-down, the kitchen, and IT.
"Probably the three biggest departments and therefore in the biggest need," he said. "Venues need to be changed over, even for things like the opening and closing ceremonies."
For those who may be turned off by the term "IT", Richardson pointed out that those tasks are not complicated.
"A lot of people will look at IT and think 'I'm not necessarily tech savvy,' but a lot of what the IT department does is things like filming the games," he said. "I think personally [that] would be a great opportunity to take part in the sport that you're watching anyway."
There is no worry from Richardson about not getting to the 1,200 mark, as he said that for many in the community, three-plus weeks away still feels like a lot of time.
He also said there are likely many who have committed to volunteering, but haven't necessarily signed up yet.
If, for whatever reason, the goal isn't reached, Richardson said the games won't be affected.
"If we didn't get to the 1,200, just knowing the 700 that we have and whoever does sign on, I think we'll be able to fill the shifts regardless," he said. "They say many hands mean light work, but it would mean more work for the people who are scheduled to volunteer or we'd hope that they step up and volunteer more."
"If we don't get to 1,200, but we get 1,000 who are willing to work more shifts than expected, we'll still be OK," he added.
For those that may be on the fence, Richardson said it's not every day that an event this big comes to the community.
"I think you'll feel like you've missed out if you don't [volunteer]," he said. "This community has shown in the past we're a great base of volunteers...I think we'll get there, there just might be a little stress in between getting there and getting those shifts filled."
For those who need more information, or would like to sign up, you can click here.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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