Innovation at the BC Winter Games

Innovation at the BC Winter Games

Author: BC Games Society/Thursday, April 30, 2020/Categories: Front Page, News, 2020 News, BC Winter Games, 2020 BC Winter Games

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The BC Games Society continues to evolve, building off past Games and staying up to date with advancements in sports safety and technology. At the Fort St. John 2020 BC Winter Games, we successfully implemented multiple new initiatives to create a safer sporting experience. The emotional, mental, and physical safety of participants is the BC Games Society’s top priority and enables young athletes to have the exceptional sport experiences that define the BC Games.

One such initiative was the Culture of the Games policy, launched at the 2018 BC Summer Games and developed further for the 2020 BC Winter Games in Fort St. John. The Culture of the Games policy states that everyone associated with the Games has the right to participate in an environment that is supportive, positive, respectful, accessible, and that contributes to exceptional experiences; and that each participant has the responsibility to contribute in a positive way to the experiences of everyone involved. This policy was developed into a visual icon for the 2020 BC Winter Games and could be seen on participant and volunteer materials, badges, signage, at accommodation sites and at information and planning sessions. Upon arrival at the Games, the BC Games Staff provided a focused awareness session on the Culture of the Games for every participant to better understand their role within it. The BC Games Society also launched a new Code of Conduct that outlines the expectations of participants while at the Games. As a member of the viaSport Safe Sport Sector Working Group and Responsible Coaching Movement, the BC Games will continue to expand and integrate sector-wide concepts and principles into the Culture of the Games policy for future Games.

Getting each participant safely to and from the Games in Fort St. John was an unprecedented operation –making Games history with the most participants ever to travel by airplane. The BC Games Society mailed each participant a travel confirmation letter with information to access their custom itinerary online, as well as fluorescent pink baggage tags to more easily track luggage. Twelve chartered flights to and from the Games, and five coach-line buses stopping at 32 pick-up points across the province, managed to seamlessly transport 1500 participants and their luggage to the North Peace Region – a corner of the province Provincial Sport Organizations rarely travel to for competition. Operating out of seven airports, volunteers set up their own arrival and departure area at each airport to welcome participants and reassure anxious parents as they said their goodbyes and gave their final pep talks. Together the BC Games staff, Host Society volunteers and flight and bus contractors successfully worked side by side to bring all participants safely to the Games.

Once arrived at the Games, keeping track of participants is a top priority in ensuring their safety. One successful innovation used in Fort St. John was a new accommodation check-in tool. A barcode was added to each participant’s accreditation badge that could be scanned by an online app on any mobile device with internet access. This new technology gave volunteers greater control to ensure young athletes were safe and accounted for by curfew, and allowed BC Games Society staff and Host Society volunteers to check live reports confirming check-in at each accommodation site.

Finally, the BC Games Society implemented new Crisis Communications Preparedness Training to prepare the Fort St. John 2020 BC Winter Games Board of Directors for any eventuality during the Games. This training included scenarios and facilitated discussion, action plans outlining the responsibilities of each Director, plans for escalation, a decision-making matrix, and creative problem solving. Often referred to as “Table Top Exercises,” this type of training is done in most international sporting events, and allowed all members of the Fort St. John 2020 BC Winter Games Board of Directors to fully understand the interdependencies among their areas and clarify their roles in solving potential issues together. The training was successful and the BC Games Society will continue to offer it in future Games’ communities.

All of these innovations successfully contributed to a safer sporting experience in Fort St. John and will ensure the Games continue to provide exceptional experiences and positive memories for our athletes and volunteers in the future.

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