(From left) Danny Macdonald, Arctic Winter Games 2020 sponsorship manager; Chris Yeung, 2019 Red Deer Host Society staff member and Jess Staffen, manager of venue, logistics, sport and athlete services for the Arctic Winter Games 2020. Macdonald says the observer program as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games has been helpful. Photo contributed

Observers from across Canada learn from 2019 Canada Winter Games

While almost all athletes are learning to be better at their chosen sport, some games organizers are learning to be better hosts at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Future games’ representatives and others sports event organizers have been out and about for the last week and half to learn a thing or two as part of the games’ observer program. They’re having a well-rounded learning experience from classroom time, seeing the Games events in action at the venues in Red Deer and talking to organizers and spectators first-hand.

David Patterson, president and CEO at Canada Games council said the observer program has formally been going on for five games, but informally for much longer.

“We let future Canada Games as well as any future games come to these games to see what the team in Red Deer has done and what they can take away to help them for their games to help build Canadian sports through games in the future,” said Patterson.

There have been 23 participants watching the Red Deer games including future Canada Games, Western Canada Games, the Arctic Winter Games 2020, 2019 Western Canada Summer Games and the Canadian Olympic Committee among others.

They have been taking notes on accommodation, transportation, marketing, protocol and sponsorship.

Danny Macdonald, Arctic Winter Games 2020 sponsorship manager, said his team learned about efficiency, how to make the job easier and keep costs low. For instance, giving teams their own vehicles to get to the venues is both cost effective and convenient versus buses – something that came up during the learning sessions.

“Teams appreciate that more instead of being dependent on standard busing services… we’re going to explore it to find vehicles for teams through some of our sponsor programs instead of hiring buses which will reduce some of our cost,” Macdonald explained.

The sponsorship manager has also been impressed with marketing and social media engagement at the Red Deer games.

He also enjoyed meeting other games organizers as well as chatting with the 2019 Canada Winter Games host committee.

“It’s not just to collect information, it’s pooling in a number of different games with folks who have different background, so it’s proven to be more dynamic,” he said.

Patterson said the observers learn about everything from security, food, transportation, sport venue setup and community outreach.

“Over the course of several days, we try to give them the entire gamut as to what it takes to put on successful games and when we do that, that lesson is positive and fruitful with follow up conversations,” Patterson said.

He said outreach for the community is working well at the Red Deer games in various dimensions – be it the Red Deer community or those with participating teams.


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