Countdown to Langley Seniors Games now on

The big push is on for getting Langley ready to host the 2014 B.C. Seniors Games.

Langley was awarded the games in 2012, and ever since then, from the nomination committee to the current board of directors and group of volunteers, a collection of local residents have been working to make sure everything is in place.

So far, things are on track to get the games ready by their start on Sept. 9.

“It looks like everything is as it should be,” said Michael Jackstien, vice president of the board overseeing the games.

Along with operations manager Shirley Stewart, Jackstien gave the Langley Advance an overview of what’s happened so far and what the games will need to be a success in the next few months.

The games will have close to 4,000 participants, from age 55 up. There are 25 sports and activities, spread across almost as many venues, from public rec centres to schools to private golf courses or bowling alleys.

The list of sports and the venues are all confirmed, said Stewart.

Two main things are still underway that will be necessary: finding sponsorship money and finding enough volunteers.

“The more we raise, the better the games will be,” said Jackstien.

The money won’t just go towards the games.

“Money left over becomes a legacy for the City and Township,” Jackstien said.

The second major need will be for another large group of volunteers, from within and outside of Langley.

“We want to start the push for volunteers,” Jackstien said.

The games already have about 400 signed up, but they’ll need 1,400 to 1,800 total to be a success.

Stewart is not worried that Langley and its neighbours will step up to the plate.

“Piece of cake,” she said of getting that many helpers.

There are teams of volunteer managers for each directorate organizing the games.

The only issue she sees is getting students out.

“Volunteering in September is a bit of a challenge, because school is back in,” Stewart said.

However, there are still opportunities for individuals and groups of volunteers, including service clubs or groups from local businesses to donate some of their time to help out.

Of course, many seniors are expected to help out as well.

They’ll need people to work on medical, security, and promotions tasks.

Several people from the Interior who helped with last year’s games in Kamloops have already offered to help as well.

Langley already has a wealth of experience in running games of this kind, having hosted the B.C. Special Olympics and the B.C. Summer Games in recent years.

In some ways, the Seniors Games are easier, noted Jackstien and Stewart. The adult participants look after their own housing and transportation and are more self-sufficient, leaving the organizers to concentrate on the games themselves.

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