Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games President Jennifer Woike and vice president Mona Kaiser at the Maple Bay Yacht Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Countdown is on to 2018 Games

‘Dream team’ of directors leads preparations for ‘best Games yet’

Less than a year out from the Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games, Games president Jen Woike and vice-president Mona Kaiser are pleased with the way plans are moving forward.

“We are excited about hitting the one-year-out mark to what will be the best BC Summer Games yet,” Woike said. “As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the BC Games Society next July in Cowichan, we hope to make memories for all the athletes, coaches, spectators and volunteers, the kind of memories that last a lifetime. There is nothing greater than taking on a challenge. Our team of key volunteers and the Cowichan Region are ready to step up to the plate to make the Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games the best yet.”

From July 19-22, 2018, as many as 3,700 athletes, coaches and officials will take part in the Summer Games, with competition in 18 different sports.

Woike and Kaiser have assembled a “dream team” of 15 directors and nearly 100 volunteer chairs to oversee everything from meals to accommodations to transportation for the participants. They will head up a group of more than 3,000 volunteers. Woike is in awe of the types of people who have already stepped up.

“The level of experience and talent we’ve been able to pull together for the board of directors has been amazing,” she said. “I was unaware of the amount of talent in the Valley until we started assembling the board.”

Woike and Kaiser emphasized that this will be a “regional games,” with venues across the Valley, from South Cowichan to Ladysmith and west to Cowichan Lake. Locations already confirmed for use include municipal and school district facilities, as well as several private facilities such as Shawnigan Lake School, the Cowichan Golf and Country Club, Brentwood College School, the Maple Bay Yacht Club, and Queen Margaret’s School.

“There has been a terrific response from the community,” Kaiser said. “Because it’s a regional games, held in a smaller-than-usual setting, we’ve had a terrific response from private facilities in making space available. Really, everyone we talk to, when we say, ‘Can you help us?’ they say, ‘Yes.’”

The Games will have an estimated economic spinoff for the Valley of around $2 million.

The 2018 BC Summer Games will kick off with an opening ceremony at Laketown Ranch on Thursday, July 19, 2018. Competitions run Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22 with the closing ceremony held on the Sunday afternoon at the Cowichan Sportsplex.

The ceremonies and sports are open to the public, and Woike and Kaiser encourage everyone to attend.

The BC Summer Games will help produce more top-level athletes in the province, BC Games Society president and CEO Kelly Mann emphasized.

“Participants at the BC Summer Games are British Columbia’s next generation of provincial level athletes, coaches and officials,” Mann said. “Their experiences at these Games will help them move onto high-performance teams, representing our province at future Canada Games, with several becoming Olympic level competitors. I have no doubt that next year in the Valley, athletes will be treated to incredible hospitality and quality sport experiences.”

Visit www.bcgames.org for more information.

kevin.rothbauer@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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