BC SENIOR GAMES – Organizers in final stages of preparation

Opening ceremonies scheduled for Haley Park on Wednesday

The B.C. Seniors Games are set to kick off on Tuesday and the host cities are tying up loose ends in preparation for the five-day event.

Directors have managed to pull everything together in just 11 short months, as the B.C. Seniors Games occur annually instead of rotating every two years like the B.C. Summer and Winter Games.

“Of course we’re still working on things but the big picture is all in place — all the venues, all the participants … Just lots of details are happening now,” said Keith Smyth, regional vice president in Trail. “People don’t realize there’s a big structure behind all this, it’s like a business — it has to run behind the scenes.”

Some local businesses have put up welcome signs and several welcome banners are floating around town, all in an effort to put Trail’s best foot forward.

Last minute changes to schedules have made filling volunteer positions difficult, but even that is slowly being accomplished.

Trail and Castlegar are still looking for medical volunteers, according to Shelia Hart, director of medical services volunteers, especially for track and field.

Trail has a majority of the bigger sports, which means that medical volunteers are at a premium. Hart is also looking for backup volunteers and said she hopes anyone with First Aid training will step up and help out, as well as retired or non-scheduled local nurses.

Hart said she was speaking to a colleague the other day and they both agreed that these Games were much bigger than “just the Summer Games” or “just the Winter Games.”

“This is a major, major undertaking, so we’re so thankful for all the people who have volunteered and really do want to make it the best Games ever,” she said, explaining that these Games combine both winter and summer sports, bringing in more athletes and spectators, thus requiring more volunteers and officials.

Details about the opening ceremonies have been kept under tight wraps, but Eleanor Gatafoni Robinson, director of ceremonies, said things are good to go.

“We’re really getting to the point where we want this to happen … We’re psyched.”

Set up for the ceremony begins today and any snags along the way have been overcome, she said.

“People will have to come and see what we’ve orchestrated,” Gatafoni Robinson continued, still not revealing any details about what the ceremony has in store. “My team feels like we’ve put together a really nice opening ceremonies and we hope people’s remarks are (reflective of) what we’ve done.”

Athletes will begin checking into Trail’s Best Western Hotel today, staying for the duration of the Games.

To avoid the headache of parking, public buses will run from Cominco Arena at 4:30 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday for the opening ceremonies, with return trips at 8:30 and 9 p.m. Parking on-site will be limited; spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

To register as a volunteer, visit www, http://2011bcseniorsgames.org/index.php/volunteer-information.