We spoke to a dedicated volunteer who has been involved in the Saskatchewan Winter Games for a number of years. Kerri Thurman, the Co-Chair of Athlete Entertainment, shared her insights into what inspired her to get involved, what her roles and responsibilities were, and some of her favourite moments at the Games.
Kerri had been involved in the games since she was a young athlete, participating in both the Summer Games (Softball) and Winter Games (Badminton). Kerri's father (Lorne Lasuita) was involved with the Saskatchewan Games for almost 50 years, which motivated Kerri to continue the tradition. In fact, she had been volunteering for various organizations and events for as long as she could remember, including coaching gymnastics, volunteering at hospitals, and working with dog rescues.
As the Co-Chair of Athlete Entertainment, Kerri and her Co-Chair, Lisa were responsible for providing a variety of entertainment for all the athletes while they were not competing. The planning and organizing for the Games was an ongoing process, spanning over the past two years. Athlete entertainment occurred from 9am to 10pm, Monday to Friday, as well as some activities on Saturday before the Closing Ceremony.
Kaare Vedvik (Saskatchewan Roughrider), Lisa Jardine (Co-Chair), Frankie Hickson (Saskatchewan Roughrider) and Kerri.
Participants utilizing one of the athlete entertainment spaces (Rainbow Room) at the University of Regina, playing cards.
One of the most memorable experiences for Kerri was coming together as a community and working with others who had the same goals as her. She enjoyed seeing the athletes come together during their downtime to mix and mingle, talk amongst each other, laugh, and play, while building new life skills. Kerri's favourite memory is when she decided to ask three athletes that spent A LOT of their time in the gaming room to sit in on the Saskatchewan Roughrider Family Feud night! The athletes came out of their comfort zone, had a blast, and were the last ones to leave the Family Feud event.
Of course, volunteering isn't without its challenges. For Kerri, one of the biggest challenges was being away from her family during the planning stages. However, she overcame this by receiving support from committee members and getting her family involved with her.
When asked what advice she would give to someone interested in volunteering, her response was simple: "Just do it! Volunteering is what keeps our communities going and there is a volunteer opportunity for everyone - whether you are outgoing, shy, a people person, a planner or just don't know where to start - take the step and get involved!" Kerri strongly encourages anyone who is interested to take that first step and get involved because someone will always be there to help.
Volunteering is an integral part of the community, and it's clear that Kerri's dedication to the Saskatchewan Winter Games made a significant impact. Her passion for helping others and making a difference is truly inspiring, and her willingness to give time and energy is a testament to the power of volunteering.
Lisa Jardine (Co-Chair) and Kerri.