BC Games goes back to school

BC Games goes back to school

by: Andrew Pitre, Event Manager, BC Games Society

Author: BC Games Society/Wednesday, September 12, 2018/Categories: Front Page, 2018 News

BC Games goes back to school
It is back to school this fall and eager students are well prepared with flashy new clothes and fresh school supplies for their back-to-school adventures.  Before every BC Winter or BC Summer Games, the BC Games Society goes back to school districts with handshakes, relationship building and conversations about how to convert school district resources into key planning assets for this multi-sport event.

As the BC Games Society celebrates its 40 year anniversary, we look back at the contributions of 30 unique school districts to the success of the Games, the incredible reach throughout the province, and the valuable collaboration between the education and sport.  



A BC Games would simply not exist without the support of school districts in the host community.  A school district has valuable resources of facilities, equipment, transportation and a workforce that is well suited to host a multi-sport Games.  A resolution from the School District Board of Trustees commits school district resources at the bid phase which is typically four to eight years out from the Games.  

• The school district agrees to provide fields and gymnasiums for sport competitions.  
• Schools and classrooms are made available to be converted into accommodate sites to host the biggest three night slumber party some of these communities have ever seen.  The BC Winter Games uses about 130 rooms and the BC Summer Games uses upwards of 200 rooms, as desks are pushed aside to clear space for dorm rooms and BC Games foamies are delivered by volunteers.
• School district buses are used to move the participants around the community during the Games.  
• For the BC Winter Games that take place in February, schools are closed for two days for an extended long weekend of the Games.

         

To be realistic, hosting a multi-sport Games using schools is disruptive to the core purpose of education.  Closing schools for two days in the middle of February involves considerable strategies and communication with all school community stakeholders.  It can be daunting for some teachers to understand that their classrooms are being seconded to host athletes and coaches for three nights.  Also asking passionate teachers, administrators and parents who are already so active in their school communities to assume key Games volunteer leadership positions is one more task to throw on an already busy plate.  

How does the BC Games Society continue to achieve success with school districts?  How do we create more value and synergies?  Maybe one component is to connect the shared values and showcase a few of the benefits that have been achieved in school districts.  

One key opportunity of the BC Games is how it integrates communities.  At the local host society planning table, outstanding community leaders from education, sport, municipalities, health and business all rally together for an 18 month planning journey.  This reinforces existing relationships and develops new networks and opportunities.  Many educators have utilized this experiences as important leadership and professional development.

“The Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games was an invaluable leadership development opportunity for me. As a key volunteer I was exposed to a variety of opportunities such as budgeting, leading meetings, conflict resolution, and scheduling. During my time as the Director of Sport, I developed relationships with people from a variety of backgrounds; this networking has provided me with connections that have helped with a variety of classroom activities, such as having guest instructors for PE classes to the Mayor and city councilors in for discussions with Leadership classes,” said Bo Boxall – Director of Sport, Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games, and Vice Principal, Okanagan Skaha School District 67.  

The student volunteer opportunity is another great benefit as well.  High school students have made outstanding Games volunteers providing a meaningful volunteer experience, new roles, the fulfillment of school credits, and often expose youth to a career pathway of interest.  

There have been various community development initiatives that have leveraged Games operating budget and volunteer leadership.  The Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games partnered well with Okanagan Skaha School District 67 to deliver a youth ambassador program consisting of 35 high school leadership students who were trained in presentation skills and conducted a visit to every elementary school in the district for a BC Games Spirit Rally and Sport Try-it Days in a PE class outreach setting.  This raised the awareness of shared values and active lifestyle messaging while leaving behind a toolkit of instructional resources for teachers  

There can also be a financial legacy benefit to local school districts.  At the end of the Games cycle, the local financial legacy is re-invested back into initiatives by the Legacy Committee.  From the Nanaimo 2014 BC Summer Games, $30,000 was committed to Nanaimo/Ladysmith School Foundation to create a perpetual student award.  Since 2015, eight incredible male/female young BC Games alumni graduates from the Nanaimo/Ladysmith School District 68 have all received $1000 grant respectively.  Many other host communities have directed portions of the financial legacy to school district sport equipment purchases or infrastructure.  



There has been a wealth of school district benefits and leveraging opportunities that is ultimately maximized through relationship building, collaboration, and communication amongst Games organizers and school district leadership.  

Sport and education do have similar goals.   These outcomes are the same - whether it’s a multi-sport Games planning process, or a completed school calendar year.    In the end, new friends are made, a sense of belonging is reached, new learning outcomes are achieved, exceptional experiences are realized and ones’ personal potential has been maximized.  


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