Greyhound Masters Track & Field Club members Deborah Lee (left) and Urith Hayley practise the hurdles at North Surrey Senior Secondary for the upcoming BC Seniors Games. The Games will be held in Langley from Sept. 9-13.

Age is no hurdle

Local athletes are getting the jump on training for the BC Seniors Games – where volunteers are needed.

By Gary Ahuja

The best way to keep in touch with your culture is to respect and listen to your elders.

Those were the words of Kwantlen First Nations’ elder Kevin Kelly recently as he spoke to a crowd in Langley as part of the countdown to the BC Seniors Games.

“We pay respect to our seniors; it is very important, our elders are our teachers,” he said.

“Always take the time to talk to your elders. If you don’t, you lose your culture.”

The 2014 B.C. Seniors Games run Sept. 9-13 and are being co-hosted by Langley City and Langley Township.

When the B.C. Seniors Games were first held in 1987, 650 athletes over the age of 55 competed. This year, more than 4,000 athletes will go for gold medals in their respective sport.

In addition to showcasing the skills of older athletes, the Games – which feature sports such as archery, badminton, cycling, dragon boat racing, ice hockey and more – are expected to generate $2.5 million for the economy.

With just a few weeks left to go until the competition, the push is on to secure a few hundred more volunteers.

The organizing committee is about halfway towards reaching the goal of 1,500 volunteers, said Michael Jackstien, vice-president of the Games.

“Our push is to get the number of volunteers up,” Jackstien said.

Photo: Greyhound Masters Track & Field Club member and coach Dave McDonald practices with a javelin.

Volunteers can commit as little as a half a day to working the full week.

“From directing participants along race routes to helping at the awards podium, there is something for everybody and all age groups,” said Games’ president Milt Kruger.

The organizers are also challenging local groups to support the Games with employee volunteers.

“The Games are a perfect way for companies to give back to the community through team participation,” Kruger said. “Several organizations are already participating, but there is a need for more.”

Two of the main areas more help is needed in are medical services and transportation.

And for those without first aid knowledge, the Games organizers have a company which will train potential volunteers, Jackstien said.

As for transportation, no special licence is needed as the organizers have a fleet of 35 cars ready  to drive competitors to and from the venues.

Other areas volunteers are needed include: sport set up and management; lost and found; traffic control; security; hosting and medal presentation; results centre; and participant accreditation.

To register as a volunteer, go to the Games office (#101-20560 Fraser Hwy.) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday), phone 604-533-8065 or email volunteer@bcsg2014.com

For more information about the Games, go to bcseniorsgames.org

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