The countdown to the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games is nearing the home stretch, but there is still time for companies to get in the games through sponsorship or volunteer commitments.
MNP is the latest business to become a sponsor of the event, which will take place at various venues in and around Swift Current in August.
MNP partners Cindy Heinrichs and Tracy O'Donnell, who are members of the company's team of advisors at the Swift Current office, made a cheque presentation of $15,000 to Friends of the Games Director Scott Cassidy, June 5.
This will make the company a gold level sponsor of the event, and MNP's financial and volunteer support will go towards athletics.
“At MNP we feel community involvement is very important and the Summer Games is one of the biggest events I believe coming to Swift Current in many years,” Heinrichs said. “So we thought it would be a good opportunity for our team to do some team building and help our community.”
The athletics events will take place at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School track from Aug 13-18, and there will be a number of daily MNP volunteers.
“We're also having a MNP tent set up from I believe the 15th to the 18th, where we'll be also having people out there doing different things, whether it be giving out refreshments or something else,” O'Donnell said. “That's yet to be decided, but aside from the financial, we will also be giving of our people's time as well.”
The company's values include a commitment to give back to the community and volunteering helps to create a corporate team spirit.
“It's just an opportunity for us as a team to get together outside the office work,” Heinrich said. “So you can do something other than work together, have fun together volunteering in the community.”
Cassidy said the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games host committee is excited about MNP's financial and volunteer commitment.
“It shows how important the Games are and how much of an impact they’re going to make on our local community when we have buy-in from a national company,” he noted. “This is a good example of how our team and committee at the sponsorship part of the Games has went out to national-regional partners and had their support and then how it reflects locally. We have a local MNP branch here with the group of partners who have agreed that this seems to be something they want to back and we just couldn't be happier with their support.”
Athletes will compete in 16 different sports during the 10 days of competition and the goal has been to create sponsorship opportunities at the various events.
“We are actually feeling good,” he said about their efforts to obtain corporate sponsorship for the event. “The games are coming in the next two months, and we’re just wrapping up our conversations with potential sponsorship partners across Canada, across Western Canada specifically, provincially, and then of course locally here. June is a busy month for the sponsorship part, but we believe that, let's say come July 1, we’ll have that much more dollars and in-kind donations towards the games from all the exciting partnerships that are happening.”
The original goal was to obtain $900,000 in corporate investment. That target will not be reached, but it became clear it will not be necessary to achieve that.
“Now that we've come closer to it, that budget has been fined-tuned a little bit more,” he explained. “We’re finding things that we don't need to spend money on. We’re asking for in-kind donations that will kind of eliminate those budget items. ... Financially the Games should be in great position to put on a wonderful games experience for all the youth athletes coming, all the parents coming, the officials.”
According to Cassidy each conversation with a potential corporate sponsor was a pleasant one and nobody indicated it was not something they would not want to support, but the economic landscape presented a challenge.
The economic outlook was different when the torch was passed to former Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games, which was hosted by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Alberta.
“Economically things were a lot different,” Cassidy said. “Ag and oil are huge drivers of the economy in western Canada, and they affect every business after that. Everything is a spinoff from there, and those two industries have suffered some tough times in the last couple of years. ... Maybe the dollars that would have been there three, four, five years ago just are not quite there, because these businesses are focussing on retaining their employees rather than maybe sponsoring games at the time, and we respect that. Nobody is in control of that.”
Over 1,700 athletes, coaches, officials and mission staff from Alberta, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, and Yukon will attend the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games from Aug. 9-18. For more information about the event and to buy tickets, visit the website http://2019wcsg.ca