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Salmon Arm ignites the countdown to the 55+ BC Games

The June 7 Torch Lighting Ceremony marks 100 days until the Sept. 10-14 games

The flame has been lit, both literally and figuratively, as Salmon Arm counts down the last 100 days before it hosts the 55+ BC Games.

With background music from the Salmon Arm Community Band, local dignitaries, volunteers and athletes attended the Torch Lighting Ceremony Friday night, June 7, in Marine Park to mark the kickoff to the games that will take place from Sept. 10 to 14. 

After Secwépemc Knowledge Keeper Louis Thomas opened the event with a prayer, and Andrea Bajova sang O'Canada in English and French, emcee Kenthen Thomas introduced the board of directors and volunteers that will make the games possible.

"These volunteers spent and spent countless hours organizing the games and are doing a tremendous job. They are part of more than 1,200 volunteers needed which will make the Salmon Arm 2024 55+ BC Games the best ever," he stated, adding with a laugh "I really love saying that."

Additional speakers included Neskonlith and Adams Lake band Couns. Frances Narcisse and Cliff Arnouse on behalf of their Kukpi7s (Chiefs), as well as Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison. 

"Just before I start, how cool is it to come to an event in Salmon Arm and hear four different languages; English, French, Secwépemc and let's give it up for our signer over here," Harrison said, acknowledging the American Sign Language interpreter adding to the multi-lingual event. "It makes me proud to be a part of it."

Referencing the city motto that "Salmon Arm is a small city with big ideas, he credited city Coun. Debbie Cannon, who is also the city's games society president, for pursuing this "big idea" for quite some time to make the games a reality and helping organize the well-attended torch lighting.

"Wow, we sure know how to ignite community spirit," she said, sharing that recognition with the board and volunteers.

Cannon's provincial counterpart BC Senior Games Society president John Buis also recognized the work that has gone, and will go, into the organization of the games, but also talked about the importance of the experience itself.

"As much as our games are about competition, it's more about making friends for life," he said. "We want our participants and volunteers to make memories that last a lifetime."

After apologizing to his wife for being about to go off-script, which he said makes her cringe, he added that the games are "such a special opportunity for Salmon Arm to showcase itself, particularly after what happened last summer," he said, referencing the Bush Creek East Wildfire. 

As the speeches concluded, Const. Cort Hodges escorted torch bearers Lois Angle and Ralph Owens to do the honours, and officially mark the countdown to the Salmon Arm 2024 55+ BC Games.

About the Author: Heather Black

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