EDITORIAL: Cheers to BC Winter Games volunteers

It’s important to stop for a moment and recognize the massive effort that has gone into making this event a success.

As we come into the final leadup to the Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games (Feb. 25 to 28), it’s important to stop for a moment and recognize the massive effort that has gone into making this event a success.

For many B.C. athletes, the Games, winter or summer, have been a major step on the road to bigger competitions, a path that, for some, lead all the way to the Olympics. For others, this will be the highest point in their sports career.

In either case, it’s important that the Winter Games are well-run and provide these young athletes with the best of memories.

That’s the job of the volunteers that are making these games happen. Some are set to start their volunteering when the games begin, but others have been working on the Penticton games since 2013, when we found out we were the 2016 host city.

That adds up to a lot of volunteer hours, especially when you consider the numbers involved. About 2,000 volunteers supporting 1,225 athletes, 333 coaches and 180 officials.

And the Winter Games is just one of several events this year that wouldn’t happen without the volunteers. There are the big ones like Challenge and Gran Fondo, but there are many more, large and small, that wouldn’t happen without volunteers.

Penticton’s army of volunteers also makes this an attractive city for big events looking for a host. It’s something that Mayor Andrew Jakubeit thinks the community should take great pride in.

“I think it separates us from a lot of other communities because we have so many groups and volunteers that enjoy giving their time to create a positive environment for the people that come here,” said Jakubeit. “We have a great mix of volunteers who make things happen in town, and really leave that positive experience or impression on whoever they come in contact with.”

So as we prepare to cheer on the athletes coming to town next week, let’s first give a cheer for the volunteers that are key to making this event a success.