Quietly, a group of dedicated volunteers have been working hard to pull together another national curling event - the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships!
how I managed to get on the organizing committee. It's been fascinating to see how a big curling event comes together. Sure, this is the not the same scale as the Olympics - there will be no tv coverage and dozens instead of thousands will come watch, but it's still been quite the week to organize. I haven't posted much about what's been going on, but the curlers arrive in a week and the first draw goes March 21, so it's time to catch you all up on what we've been doing!
Each committee member had a job to do. Here's an idea about some of the things that needed to be arranged before the event:
Transportation: The biggie. How do you get wheelchair teams from the airport (45mins out of Edmonton) to the hotel? How do you get wheelchair teams from the hotel (5 mins from the club) to the club? Accessible buses and vans had to be acquired, drivers sorted out, and people trained how to transfer people in wheelchairs. Kudos to the woman in charge of this area - it was quite the production to sort out, and I hope everything goes smoothly during the week!
Hospitality: In addition to rooms for all participants, a hospitality suite, breakfasts, wine and cheese night, and closing banquet needed to be arranged. Lunches and dinners at the club were decided on, and volunteers scheduled to help with serving.
Sponsorship: A tough, yet extremely necessary task - hit up local business for cash. This team did great! A huge thank you to all out sponsors!
Media & Promotion: A volunteer wrote and distributed a media release. Another group of volunteers put together a poster to advertise the event, which will go out to all the curling clubs in the city, local health services, agencies, and supermarkets. They also made that sponsorship image that we've been using to promote the sponsors. There's a lot of printing that's going to go on for the posters and images; banners will be made and displayed in the club. It's going to look awesome! A journalist for a local paper was contacted and will write a piece about the event, and some advertising will go out as well. I'm part of this group too. I've written information and sent along bits and pieces for the Canadian Curling Association's (CCA) web team to put on their website. I've been posting (infrequently) on our twitter and facebook accounts, but I'll be ramping that up during the event (as well as posting to my personal account). I'll also be doing the online stats entry for Curlcast, which is the live scoring webtool used by the CCA. I'm looking forward to that! During the week I'll also be writing up a daily blog post to publish on the CCA site to keep everyone up to date. That is the part that makes me most nervous! Must watch those spelling mistakes!
Volunteers: An army had to be organized! Most volunteers came from advertising in the club, but wonderful folks from elsewhere will also be helping out. They all needed to be contacted for scheduling and uniform sizes, and then scheduled for all the jobs that need doing during the week. Another huge area to sort out!
Program: A program (that looks awesome by the way!) was made to showcase teams, the event, and sponsors. Come down to watch and have a look!
Facilities: Our facilities guy is awesome! He made these great stick holders that could go on the sideboards to hold the curlers stick when they weren't in use (I reckon he should patent that!). He's going to put up all the clocks, has arranged a way to raise flags during the podium bit (no podium though, to complicated to wheel onto!) and generally made sure the club is ready to handle 10 wheelchair curling teams. Of course there is the fantastic ice crew too; they will be super busy that week!
Entertainment: A piper (yay for the piper), anthem singers/choirs, a jazz band for the banquet and two bands for our Friday/Saturday party nights were booked! Fun times!
Athlete Liason: Accessibility aids had to be arranged for the hotel, drawing on items from local organizations. Welcome packages were put together for athletes.
Ceremonies: Opening & Closing ceremonies had to be sorted out. Sound equipment and flags (including flag bearers) were found and speakers were arranged. It's going to look wonderful.
Officials: The officials come from NACA (Northern Alberta Curling Association) and will be recording stats and officiating the game. They pretty much sort themselves out, and will be working closely with us during the event.
Photographer: Another outside team member, hopefully it'll all work out so that the photos can be posted to the CCA's flickr account.
And throughout everything, our fearless leader, @1CathyC has made sure everything actually happens! She's been awesome and has worked so hard! Those little paragraphs above really don't tell the complete story of all the work that has gone into organizing this event, and I'm sure I've missed loads of other details. It's been a big job - but I know all that hard work will pay off and the event will be awesome!!
The absolute best part of this whole process has been meeting and working with all the great people on the committee. I was a stranger coming into it all, as most of the volunteers curl at the club, but they've been super friendly and really accepted me into their group. I've started curling at the club, and know I've made friendships that will last well after the event is over. I'm so lucky! Being a curling volunteer has really been good to me.
We started meeting last fall. Monthly meetings became weekly meetings, and now there's only one week left! Lots to do! Follow along for more news and updates - and stay tuned for details about how you can come down and watch all the action!