By Trevor Busch
Best laid plans are steering well shy of awry for the upcoming Southern Alberta Summer Games (SASG) hosted from July 4-7 by both municipalities in the Taber region.
Registrations for the Games began on May 3 and closed on June 11 at 12 p.m. Information was distributed through the town and M.D. of Taber websites, social media, utility newsletters and local media.
“It is going very well. With the addition of all of the soccer players and baseball players who fill out intent forms, we are sitting at approximately 2,000 athletes,” said recreation director Aline Holmen at town council’s June 11 regular meeting. “We’re on target with what we were expecting, between 2,000 and 2,500, and our numbers will definitely be going up.”
The Southern Alberta Recreation Association (SARA), the parent organization that maintains and awards the Games, has an updated website that includes all sport information and rules, sponsors, volunteer registration, photos, accommodations, restaurants, and event calendars, and can be found at http://www.southernalbertasummergames.com.
“It’s not all about the sports, it’s about getting people to come to our community, seeing what we have to offer, going into our stores, staying in our hotels, and just experiencing our region,” said Holmen.
According to the update document, insurance has been “difficult to obtain for this Games in comparison to other Games.” The fundraising campaign went “fairly smooth” as the event was competing with numerous other events in 2018 for funding “so there was a challenge but overall fairly satisfied.”
“We’ve have been doing very well in being able to maintain our budget, and been able to attain sponsorship,” said Holmen.
Facilities have been booked, and the athlete handbook is currently being printed. Rules have been reviewed and brought up to date with new provincial sport body standards. Two new sports have been added for 2018, including pickle ball and motocross. First Aid requirements are being evaluated, and supplies are being ordered.
Volunteer t-shirts have been sponsored and have been received, as well as a donation of athlete sling bags.
Sport chairs have submitted their lists for required equipment for events, and it is now being purchased.
“We’ve ordered a ton of equipment, and a lot of that equipment actually stays in the community as a legacy back to the sport groups,” said Holmen. “The legacy for us is sometimes in the equipment, but you’ll hear us say quite often that it’s in the participation and the memories that are made as well.”
Arrangements have been made for the Movie in the Park event that will occur during the Games at the M.D. of Taber Park, along with a pool party. The Taber Public Library will be hosting activities during the Games, and the town has also planned an open gym at the Taber Gymnastics Fitness Club and a Splash Party at the Taber Spray Park.
Opening ceremonies will be hosted in Confederation Park on the evening of July 4. This will include a free barbeque, entertainment by local band Plum Crazy, and other activities for athletes and their families. A formal stage ceremony commences at 7 p.m. and will consist of an athlete march, speeches, and awards.
Approval has been received from ATCO Gas for use of their torch for the event, as well as numerous tents. The SASG office is in the Grey Room adjacent to the Taber Community Centre Auditorium.
Advertising for volunteers for the various events is ongoing, with approximately 300-400 volunteers needed. At last count on June 11, Holmen reported the volunteer list is hovering around 170.
“We’re still a little bit lower on volunteers, it’s been a little bit tougher this time recruiting volunteers. But I still have faith, because we’re a very last minute community.”