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Carolyn Krauss Remembers Fort St. John’s First Foray into the BC Winter Games

Author: BC Games Society/Thursday, November 28, 2019/Categories: Front Page, News, 2019 News, BC Winter Games, 2020 BC Winter Games

Carolyn Krauss Remembers Fort St. John’s First Foray into the BC Winter Games

By Sherry Lythall

When Carolyn Krauss was approached about leading Fort St. John’s first foray into hosting the BC Winter Games back in 1984, she was less than enthusiastic. 

“I can’t do this,” recalled Krauss, the long-time former resident of Fort St. John and former President of the Board of Directors for the 1984 BC Winter Games.

Despite her humble initial response, Krauss rose to the challenge and, with the support of her family, the Fort St. John business community and over 3,000 volunteers, the 1984 BC Winter Games were a huge success.  

It has been 35 years since the BC Winter Games were last held in Fort St. John, yet Krauss still vividly recollects her regular morning spots on live radio called “Coffee with Krauss.” The purpose of these radio spots was to raise community awareness of the games and recruit volunteers. When asked what she remembers most about her experience as president, she spoke of the many hands-on volunteers who worked interactively across various groups and made the 1984 BC Winter Games the accomplishment it was.

“An idea is only as good as the community that supports it,” said Krauss, who also served as the former president of the FSJ Huskies and North West Junior Hockey League.   

She also remembers some of the challenges that came with an event that “was like nothing the town had ever seen before.” The arranging of accommodation, transportation and food for over 2,200 out-of-town athletes was not an easy task.

The athlete’s arrival on jumbo jets led to a huge crowd wanting to see these massive airliners land; a rarity for Fort St. John. On short notice, RCMP, firefighters and other volunteers provided traffic and crowd control at the airport.

“Athletes flew in from all over the Province in jumbo jets and around 6,000 people came out to see the 747’s that towered over the airport buildings,” Krauss said.

Being located in the rather disconnected northeast corner of the Province created logistical issues back in the 1980s.

“Organizers for the BC Games held in the Lower Mainland had access to wholesalers just down the street,” recalled Krauss. “But we had to improvise.”

For example, renting fabrics from an event company to decorate the arena was not an option. As an alternative, the Fort St. John sports venue was decorated using roles of brightly coloured plastic supplied by a local business.

Krauss said volunteering as president for the 1984 BC Winter Games gave her confidence and leadership skills that she uses to this day. She also believes living in a small community has its advantages.

“In a larger city you are a small fish in a big pond but in a place like Fort St. John the opportunity to be a part of something as big as the BC Winter Games is possible!”

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