With just 100 days left until the Vancouver 2011 North America Outgames, the organizing committee says they are ready to go. The venues are secure, they are working with local and Provincial sport organizations and they have funding streams in place. It would appear as if every opportunity has been maximized in the lead up to the biggest multi-sport event being held in metro Vancouver this year.
In February 2011, the Vancouver Parks Board announced a $100,000 grant for the Vancouver 2011 North America Outgames. The funding came from the BC Sport Hosting grant.
With just over three months to go, the Province of British Columbia still has not committed any resources or funds to the Outgames, according to Outgames president, John Boychuk.
“There will be some form for support,” commented Boychuk who has made many presentations to various Provincial government Ministries over the past few years.
Boychuk says BC’s Premier, Christy Clarke is aware of the requests for funding and resources but has not yet responded to their proposals.
The Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport, Health Ministry, and Ministry of Education have all been asked to get involved with the 2011 North America Outgames, however there still has been no commitment.
Federally, the funding hasn’t appeared either. The Outgames has received a grant for summer students to help with the organizing and preparations for the events.
Clearly the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and Tourism British Columbia (TBC) did not embrace the value of the Outgames and the tourism dollars associated with the Outgames because they did not provide any funds to promote the destination athletic event, nor did they promote the event through their existing campaigns.
Boychuk cites funding cuts at Tourism British Columbia for their inability to promote the games.
As for the CTC not being involved, “Non-competitive sport doesn’t quality for funding” explained Boychuk. “The Outgames are friendly sport. There’s no funding available.”
Tourism Vancouver has been a long-time supporter of LGBT tourism.
“They have been a partner now for three years,” said Boychuk. “They helped produce the big to secure the event.”
Using their existing resources, Tourism Vancouver has been a valuable partner to the Vancouver 2011 Outgames by including detailed event on their website and promoting the Outgames and relevant conferences and trade shows.
The legacies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games live on. Some legacies clearly stronger than other.
The Vancouver Outgames organizing committee had hoped to receive funding from 2010 Legacies Now, but to date has only received support through access to volunteers through Volunteer Vancouver. Boychuk says 800-1,000 volunteers ranging from security and drivers to sport and conference organizers are needed to host the event.
“We are much smaller event compared to the Olympics,” stated Boychuk. “We are athlete focused, not coporate driven.”
Boychuk and members of the Outgames organizing committee have worked closely with local clubs and a select few Provincial Sport Organizations including Badminton BC and Soccer BC, to sanction the sport events. Sport BC was also limited in their ability to help support the Vancouver Outgames.
During the next 100 days, the organizing committee will be focused on working with the volunteers and sport groups to ensure the venues and events are ready. The committee’s goal are to operate with a balanced budget, ensuring the community is supported, and the games leave a positive impact.
Boychuk is confident the event will be a success, and the support from the LGBT community has been incredible. Every Wednesday in the lead up to the events, there will be events hosted promoting the games.
The North American Outgames will be hosted in Vancouver July 25 – 31, 2011.