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BC Games Volunteer Honoured

Author: BC Games Society/Monday, October 25, 2021/Categories: Front Page, 2021 News, 2016 BC Summer Games, Volunteer Recognition

BC Games Volunteer Honoured

Sylvia Peary was asked to serve on the Board for the 2016 BC Summer Games in Abbotsford. Together the Directors and Liaisons, under the leadership of the President and Vice President, planned and staged what were exceptional Games.

In her position as the Director of Registration & Results, Sylvia was responsible for key Games operations including volunteer registration, results, and accreditation. She assembled an efficient team of Committee Chairs to plan and run these important areas. In all, they registered and managed over 2,600 volunteers, entered thousands of results, and accredited over 3,200 participants. While Sylvia credits the successes with her Chairs, the leader sets the tone, and the tone Sylvia sets not only inspires and motivates but guides and lights the path.

Sylvia has a way about her that brings out the best in others. Her quiet confidence, amazing competence, strategic thought, willingness to roll up her sleeves and get things done, and superb time management are integral to her leadership style.

Sylvia leads by example and alongside those on her teams. This means she was there on the ground in 2016, amongst the volunteers in her Directorate; some likely not even realizing she was the Director, as they set up tables, hauled boxes, and did whatever needed to get done, together. “I don’t believe in asking a volunteer to do something I wouldn’t do myself”, says Sylvia.

Sylvia’s penchant for service was developed when she was young, on the family farm, where she and her seven siblings were “expected to do their part”. “Sitting back and watching someone else was not what I knew,” says Sylvia. Those on-the-farm family ethics stayed with her and has led her to commit in a lasting and ongoing way throughout her life. Sylvia credits these early lessons as instilling in her an “inclination to get involved rather than stand on the sidelines. “Being involved is my preferred way,” she says. She also attributes her continued volunteerism to her husband, former Abbotsford Mayor George Peary, who has been heavily involved in the community.

Sylvia’s path to volunteering for games began with the 1995 Western Canada Summer Games when a colleague on the Board of Directors asked if she would head up the results area. After that she was asked to assist with the BC Disability Games held in Abbotsford, again with registration and results. Her expertise niche was then solidified; she was “type-cast”, as she calls it, and became the go-to when the BC Seniors Games and the BC Summer Games came to town and needed someone to lead these areas. “It’s a lot more satisfying to be involved and more so if you have some skills in an area.” said Sylvia.

Sylvia also sees her volunteer experiences as an opportunity for her own development and growth. “Being a part of it, you learn things,” she said, “and you interact with so many people.” When asked about standout Games moments, Sylvia affirmed that the highlights for her have been working with so many amazing people. “I have been fortunate as a leader,” she said, “to have people -- incredible people -- commit to the roles I have asked them to take on. It blows my mind.” From seeing her in action, we know that those volunteers step up not only because of the event but because it is Sylvia who is asking. She treats everyone with respect and understanding; she brings a caring warmth, and a calm, assured manner that draws people in and makes them feel supported, inspired, and valued, all at the same time. Sylvia believes in the value of multi-sport Games and likes to see stories of alumni achievements. She appreciates having had the opportunity to be part of providing their BC Games experience.

For the past 50 years, Sylvia has contributed to the community of Abbotsford with an ongoing commitment to education, a passion for bringing people together, and the desire to serve. Sylvia truly has had lasting impact and is deserving of the 2021 Order of Abbotsford, the highest form of recognition the City can bestow upon its citizens.

“We are delighted for Sylvia to have her years of volunteer service in our community recognized with this prestigious honour. Sylvia embodies the volunteer spirit that is at the very heart of the BC Games,” said Steve Carlton, President of the 2016 BC Summer Games.

We echo Steve’s comments and congratulate Sylvia for this much deserved recognition!

We are grateful that Sylvia chose to share her talents, energy, expertise, and time with the BC Games. It is not lost on us that the BC Games do not exist without the passion, commitment, and willingness of volunteers. Sylvia is one of these outstanding volunteers who also stepped to up to lead, and for that we are fortunate and thankful.

Sylvia, we are proud to call you a BC Games alumnae. 

Read the Order of Abbotsford citation for Sylvia here.

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