“We’ve hosted quite frequently in the last eight years, being this is our third time, and it was another successful Games,” said Holmen, at the Oct. 15 town council meeting. “We had 28 events scheduled to occur, with only one event we did not have, and that was archery, due to the hail storm. It’s unfortunate, because three days prior, there had been a bunch of work done on the road to get down to the archery site, in the event of a little rain — not a torrential rain and hail storm. So unfortunately, that event had to be cancelled.”
Numbers of athletes were up from previous years, according to Holmen.
“We had 2,113 athletes and 153 coaches, which are higher numbers than we’ve seen in the last couple of years, other than in Medicine Hat. In our region alone, we had 479 athletes — about a quarter of the participants from Taber, which is not unusual.”
We’re quite comparable with Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, and Brooks.”
The event only ate up a proportion of the initial budget, representing a siginificant cost savings, added Holmen.
“With regards to the budget, we basically took the same campaign that we did for the last two Southern Alberta Summer Games that we hosted, and did very well with $27,875 in cash, and $26,900 in in-kind donations that we received. The good news is our budget went from $94,000 down to $55,000, which brings your $20,000 alotment from the Town of Taber down to $2,600, which I think is fantastic. We are very fortunate to have such a good business community that support events such as this.”
Volunteer numbers exploded mere days before the event start, something Holmen has come to expect with regard to Taber and area.
“We had 371 volunteers registered. We did have some that did not register that just showed up on site, and we estimate that went up to around 400, based on the amount t-shirts we went through. We did struggle initially with the actual committee. As far as general volunteers for the actual events, we were a little short about a week out from the Games, but we didn’t panic, because we know Taber is a last minute community. We had about 129 volunteers about a week before the Games. Very typical of our community, but from my standpoint, very greatful to those people who did come forward, and there were many who volunteered for all four days of the Games.”
Cost savings were manufactured through the utilization of various non-traditional advertising methods.
This year for promotions, we took a bit of a different spin, and actually saved quite a bit of money with regards to advertising, using social media, Facebook and Twitter, everybody’s websites. There was also newsletters, coffee talk newsletters from some of the different regions, radio stations, tv stations, different YouTube videos. We saved ourselves about $10,000.”
Holmen noted that as a group, regional athletes emerged victorious yet again.
“In the standings, as you can see, Taber really cleaned house. We always want to do that whether we host or not. I think this is the fourth year in a row we’ve done that. We’re always happy to see that, our athletes are gung-ho, they still want the Games to continue, and they’re willing to participate.”
The Southern Alberta Summer Games annual retreat was held Oct. 2-3 in Waterton Lakes National Park. A final report was presented to the Southern Alberta Recreation Association (SARA) board members and the feedback on the report and the 2013 Games and was positive. The 2014 Southern Alberta Summer Games will be held in Pincher Creek.
Mayor Ray Bryant surprised Holmen at the conclusion of her report with a measure of admiration and respect for her work.
“As you’ve indicated, we had excellent sponsorship, all of the volunteers came through, but there’s an individual who keeps coming through time and time again, and that’s Aline Holmen. You’ve built yourself up quite a reputation, no matter what you do, be it the Olympic Torch Relay, Rick Hansen, the Summer Games, and all the time and effort that you put in, you always bring it in great style.”