Harrison youth open to opportunity at BC Summer Games

Getting involved in Girl Guides led Rachel Renaud to volunteering with medal ceremonies

This is a huge weekend for the province’s top athletes, as the 2012 BC Summer Games kicked off yesterday. It’s a time when personal goals will be eyed up, then met and even exceeded.

Over the next few days, dreams will be realized as athletes swim, run and compete their way to even higher goals. Some of them will  even be working toward the Olympics, one day.

The Games take place in 15 sport venues in and around Surrey until Sunday. There are 2,818 athletes competing, who will be supported by 573 coaches. It will take nearly 400 officials to oversee the 20 different sports featured.

And keeping it all together, at the heart of the events, is a steady crew of volunteers. Earlier this year, the Surrey 2012 Summer Games president put out the call to rally up 3,500 people to help carry out the four day event.

Rachel Renaud, 12, is one of the thousands who answered that call.

“I’m a Girl Guide,” she explained, in Promontory. “They were asking if Guides in the area wanting to volunteer with the medal ceremonies.”

Despite her young age, Renaud is already committed to getting involved in acts of community service. As she works toward her Canada Cord through the Guiding program, she has lent a hand to several organizations. So, her decision to join in and help with the Games was an easy one.

For Renaud, who lives in Harrison Hot Springs, the Games isn’t about personal bests, but being her best. It’s a time of opportunity.

“I found out that when I do these acts of community service, a lot of other opportunities come to me,” she said. “It’s a win-win situation for me and for the people who I’m aiming to help out.”

For example, she once stepped up to help at a church function, and so impressed the woman in charge that she was invited to join the youth group on an excursion to Whistler.

“I like to do a lot of community service projects, and part of the reason I am in Girl Guides is because one of the main focuses is service to the community,” she said.

Of course, with an attitude like that, she is quite accustomed to the other benefits of volunteering.

“I get to meet a lot of new people, and get to have a lot of new experiences,” she said.

In a phone interview earlier this week, Renaud said she had already gone through a training session for the medal ceremony where she’ll be volunteering, at Albert Dyck Park in Abbotsford, where the towed water sport events will take place.

They learned how to set up the podiums and flags, and saw how the athletes will move through the area.

She’ll be volunteering for one day only, due to the distance from home.

She’s looking forward to whatever the Games may bring her this weekend.

“Volunteering gives you a lot of opportunities and that’s what I really like,” she said.

As for her own goals and future, well, Renaud is only 12. But she does have one idea.

“I play violin,” she said. “I’m not that experienced but my dream would be to be a concert violinist. That’s not where I’m at right now though. It requires so much practice!”

 

Games open to all

The 2012 BC Summer Games events and medal ceremonies are free to attend. The sports featured are athletics, baseball, basketball, canoe and kayak, diving, equestrian, golf, inline hockey, lacrosse, rowing, rugby, sailing, soccer, softball, swimming, synchronized swimming, towed water sports, triathlon, volleyball and wrestling.

Locations include the Cloverdale Recreation Centre, Bear Creek Park, South Surrey Pool, Newton Athletic Park and more. For a full schedule, locations, and list of athletes visit www.bcgames.org. For more stories about the BC Games, visit www.ahobserver.com and click on the BC Games tab.