Marge Noble was a volunteer at the inaugural BC Games that were held in the summer of 1978 in Penticton. Noble is back as a volunteer for the Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games. She is holding a photo of herself (right) and Mary-Ann Lancaster meeting Premier Bill Bennett at the Games in 1978.

BC Games leaves legacy with Penticton volunteer

For Marge Noble, volunteering for the Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games shows how life can come full circle.

For Marge Noble, volunteering for the Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games shows how life can come full circle.

The long-time Penticton resident will volunteer as a host for Gymnastics in the Penticton Community Centre gymnasium. But this isn’t her first BC Games experience.

Noble was the Host Chair back in 1978, when Penticton hosted the inaugural BC Games — an initiative launched under Premier Bill Bennett. His vision for the Games was to provide “an opportunity to bring all parts of B.C. together, large and small communities, in the spirit of sport and friendship.” Bennett served as the premier of B.C. between 1975-1986 and passed away on Dec. 4.

“Bill Bennett and his MLAs felt this was the community that should kick this off. We were blazing new trails into making this a success. We could see the vision,” Noble said.

“We were outside during the Games when he approached and he welcomed us. I found him very warm,” Noble said. “He was such an Okanagan man, so it must have been very gratifying to be at the first Games in Penticton. He was very complimentary.”

For Noble, hosting the BC Games in Penticton was an opportunity to learn new skills and raise the profile of the community.

“At that time, we felt we were a special community and handed this opportunity that was a tremendous project for Penticton and the province,” she said.

Noble brought together 32 friends and acquaintances, gathering in her living room and describing the opportunity to help out with a historic event for Penticton and the Province of B.C. as well.

“They all took it to heart,” said Noble. “It gave us an outlet as wives and mothers.”

The hostesses were given pre-training, including a two-day course from the Ministry of Tourism at the time, as well as bright uniforms to help visitors identify them at venues.

Once the Games began, Noble recalls her hostess team were everywhere at all times — helping to make sure athletes received 8,000 boxed lunches and were on track to eat other meals provided by the then-Penticton Inn. That was the basics; once they were on site, it was dealing with anything that came up.

“We became the trouble-shooters for the Games,” she said. “We were really well organized and rose to the occasion.”

“Back then, there was no cooking available at the Peach Bowl. No cellphones, no computers, nothing,” she laughed. “We made the best of the tools we had to work with. But everyone pulled out all the stops. You can’t put a price tag on what volunteers do, really.”

The first BC Games drew national attention, televised by BCTV (now Global BC) and CKLK. Special wishes were also relayed from the Prime Minister’s Office — then occupied by Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

Thirty-seven years later, another Trudeau sits in the PMO, the Games are set to return to Penticton and the South Okanagan, and Noble is helping out in the Games office leading up to February.

“I’m a grandmother now, and I see what the BC Games does not only for my granddaughter, but the mark it makes on all the athletes’ lives,” she said. “It’s so fun to be part of a team.”

Volunteers needed

Penticton’s got game –  do you? Penticton needs volunteers to help prepare to host the BC Winter Games from Feb. 25 to 28, 2016. This undertaking will bring over 2,000 young athletes, coaches, officials and families to the South Okanagan, resulting in significant economic impact for local businesses.

Hundreds of helping hands are needed to make this event a success. Areas most in need of volunteers are: Accommodations, Security, Food Services (prep cooks, etc.), Promotions (photography, writing)

You can sign up online at  www.bcgames.org or give the Games office a call at 250-492-2026.

 

 

Just Posted

RCMP spike belts help nab alleged Okanagan car thieves

RCMP arrested two Kelowna men who attempted to evade two spike belts

Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day with a powwow

Indigenous dance takes place at the Shatford Centre on June 21

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mainly sunny

Environment Canada is calling for a chance of showers tomorrow across the Okanagan

Penticton cyclist injured in hit-and-run in critical condition

Jesse Birkedal was injured in a hit-and-run while cycling on Eastside Road

Vehicle smashes sign and cars in Summerland school parking lot

Driver of a Ford Expedition lost control, crashing into two other vehicles

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Man arrested during Kelowna police stand off

Water is flooding Highway 33 in Kelowna Monday afternoon

Judas Priest rocks the Okanagan

Judas Priest is on a 32 date tour of North America

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Restrictive policies affecting labour mobility for care aides in B.C.

‘I had to take two competency exams and pay over $1,400,’ said an Okanagan care aide

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Most Read