By Ryan McCracken on November 8, 2018.
After years of waiting and months of planning, the Medicine Hat Sport and Event Council began putting plans for the future into action at its first meet-and-greet event on Wednesday at Medicine Hat College.
More than 50 community organizations were represented at the event, which allowed the council to roll out its framework for enriching local sporting, cultural and community groups across the Gas City.
“We’ve got a variety of services that these organizations already want to access, which is fantastic,” said sport and event co-ordinator Kara Brake. “Having all those groups there was fantastic because we actually got to tell them, ‘This is what we’ve heard, this is what we’ve done and this is what we’re going to do.’
“It was really great to see the amount of support and the amount of people that came.”
The Medicine Hat Sport and Event Council was first proposed in 2010 but finally became reality last September. It spent the majority of the past year working in partnership with Tourism Medicine Hat to develop two working committees, says co-chair Ron Webb.
“One is a bid and event committee and one is a promotions and marketing committee,” said Webb. “Over the past six months in particular, we’ve been working in the development of our organizational structure and really starting to plan out our role and activities involved in supporting organizations.
“Our biggest focus and goal over the next few years is to work with organizations within the community in supporting both the development of the organization, as well as working with them in regard to bids and proposals to host other events in the community of a provincial, national and international basis.”
Webb says the meet-and-greet featured “a pretty good cross-section of the community,” all of whom seemed thrilled at the prospect of a council geared toward helping local organizations grow their brand while drawing more sport and event tourism to the area.
“It’s really about trying to encourage the organizations to take the opportunity to see what it would be like to host something more major É like provincial, national or international events,” he said. “It’s great for their participants, their members, it certainly contributes to the community from a social, recreational and economical basis.”
Webb added the council is also working to assist organizations in creating economic impact studies for various events that draw in participants or attendees from other parts of the province and country.
“Looking at what the kind of impact that these kinds of events can have on our community, they’re major,” he said.
“The number of events and the economics of sport tourism and event tourism is very large.”
Brake says the council caters to much more than sport. Tuesday’s meet-and-greet featured faces from a variety of local groups including the Medicine Hat Folk Music Club and Jazzfest.
“It’s important that we note it’s not just sport. We know that we’ve got great cultural and community organizations as well,” she said. “Whether that be the folk music festival or JazzFest or dance organizations, there are so many other things in this city that are fantastic, so we wanted to help them as well and showcase what they have to offer.”
Any local organizations seeking to learn more about the Medicine Hat Sport and Event Council and what it offers can visit the website at mhsportandevent.com, or contact Brake directly by email at email@example.com or by phone at 403-866-2632.
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