Tankard Chair answers questions surrounding volunteers needed

Letter to the Editor:

As chairman of the 2022 Tankard I would like to address some of the questions and comments raised about the volunteer rewards package.

On first blush it does, admittedly, seem counter-intuitive to have to pay to volunteer. So let’s explore this a bit further and try to understand where we are coming from.

Many sporting events of this nature, be it a Provincial championship such as the Tankard or a National championship such as the Brier, require their volunteers to purchase a package, always including a jacket and shirt.

The Tankard and Canadian Mixed Championships have been held in Owen Sound in recent memory and, in each case, the volunteers purchased a package. The practise is common with events in many sports.

An effort is always made to ensure that the volunteers are getting value in their packages.

The value in our case is inordinately high – over $600, and even with help from some sponsors, the price of $140 does not cover all costs. Central to the package is an event crested jacket and shirt, which alone has a value that approaches $140. Added value derives from access to the event when not on shift – an event pass would otherwise cost $125.Β Β A golf day at Saugeen, a bonspiel at the Port Elgin Curling Club, and a post-event volunteer gala, all with free meals, plus snacks and drinks in the volunteer lounge and an official event pin round out the benefits to each volunteer.

Who profits from all this?

The event will bring upwards of $1,000,000 to our community, providing impetus to restaurants, hotels and other services in February, traditionally the lowest month of the year in terms of tourist revenue. Inputs to the event such as volunteer apparel, food service, media services, and facility rental are sourced locally, fostering our business community.

A program is in place to compensate area curling clubs for ticket sales. The community in general will be the biggest benefactor.

The Tankard will require about 200 volunteers, those from the curling community and the community at large all being welcome. Over 10,000 hours of labour will go into the event and no one is being paid.

The response from all corners of the community has been very encouraging and, based on that, we hope that all curling clubs in the area will profit from new interest and new members. Any profits over and above the expenses of the event will go to the Port Elgin Curling Club, a not-for-profit operation and the prime mover in the venture. These funds will be used for much needed upgrades to the facility and for broadening our participant base.

I hope that this provides some understanding. Yes, there is a cost, however the benefits far outweigh that cost and, as a volunteer, you are part of an event that will bring huge rewards to our community.

Doug Flowers,
Chairman, 2022 Ontario Tankard