Sylvan Lake again proved a successful host of the Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts, thanks largely to nearly 200 volunteers who helped ensure its smooth running.
According to volunteer co-ordinator Donnelly Hort, they helped in the areas of security, hospitality, marketing and sales, among others.
Hort was thankful to have had so many people respond to the organizing committee’s appeal for volunteers.
“Everything started around October, and we posted a volunteer form on the website and put information out at all of the leagues at Sylvan Lake Curling Club,” she said.
“Most of them came in within a short period of time, though, in the last month. There was a real run at the end, that’s for sure.”
While a large number of volunteers came from the Sylvan Lake area, others came from places such as Red Deer, Calgary and Airdrie.
Many had a strong interest in curling, and some had previous experience volunteering at bonspiels around the province, according to Hort.
“It’s for the enjoyment of the sport,” she said. “A lot of people volunteer and come to watch, as well.”
Some of the more fortunate volunteers were able to take in the curling while carrying out their duties.
Hort said the final number of volunteers fulfilled the organizing committee’s early estimate of the amount needed in order for the tournament to run smoothly.
No specific skills or previous experience were required, although some roles, such as those in bar services, could only be filled by people of a certain age.
“There are no real restrictions,” said Hort.
“There are some physical limitations that some people may have that restrict them from doing certain volunteer work, but other than that, you just have to be willing and available.”
Upon being accepted, volunteers met with organizers to discuss their roles and expectations, and to indicate their availability for the duration of the tournament.
“We try and push to get as many (volunteers) as we can, and that way if people are sick, or for whatever reason can’t make it, we have backup,” said Hort.
The absence of paid positions in organizing and running the tournament made the work of volunteers essential to its success.
For that reason, Hort is extremely grateful to those who travelled from places near and far to lend a hand.
“We really appreciate the response to the request for volunteers for this event,” she said. “We appreciate their time and effort.”