Community Spirit Makes Summer Games a Success
The Wagmatcook men winning gold in the “Tug of War” event may have captured the genuine spirit of the summer games with team work and true summer games passion. For others it may have been the family appreciation day that defined the summer games weekend, where family and friends from Unama’ki and Mainland came together as one Nation for a fun fill day of entertainment, activities and free food.
But no matter what moment defined the 2011 Wagmatcook Summer Games, everyone who was there, will agree, this year’s summer games were amazing and they truly reflected the summer games of the past. “Kutay One Time Ago-ek” as the Mi’kmaq elders would say.
Over 1350 athletes from 9 Mi’kmaq communities from Cape Breton and Mainland NS came together in Wagmatcook to rekindle the sportsmanship spirit of the 2011 Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Summer Games on August 23-28, 2011.
The small Mi’kmaq community of Wagmatcook population grew ten-fold while they embraced neighboring communities with open arms which made the summer games all the more special. New friendships were born and lifetime of memories where made.
The daunting task of bringing all this together fell in the hands of Terry Bernard who was hired as the summer games coordinator. Terry immediately brushes aside any compliments when told great job, “I take no credit for this weekend,” said Bernard.
“We should congratulate everyone in the community,” Bernard said instead, “The whole community brought this together. We had close to 150 volunteers, 50 summer students, and community involvement from the band, fisheries, elders, youth, and all the special committees.”
Bernard couldn’t believe how everyone was working together, “It was amazing, even people were coming up to me and asking what can I do to help.”
Bernard also wanted to thank Wagmatcook Chief, Norman Bernard, “Chief Norman was there from day one, he volunteer and worked hard to make sure these summer games were a success.”
Terry Bernard also wanted to make sure that one of the true successes of this year’s summer games was making it a drug and alcohol free summer games.
Bernard said we had no incidents all weekend long and it made it all the more special. Bernard hopes this same spirit continues next year and every summer games.
For Bernard, the highlight for him was the family appreciation fun day when over 11 hundred kids and parents enjoyed fun activities, rides, barbeque and free give aways. There were so many people at the event that traffic halted to a stop. But Bernard and his crew took care of it.
Bernard wanted to thank Mi’kmaq Family and Children Services for being the major contributor to the family fun day.
Wagmatcook Chief Norman Bernard commends his community and volunteers for making this year’s summer games such a memorable time. Chief Bernard said, “From feedback from other Mi’kmaq communities it was viewed as a huge success. I praise the community spirit of Wagmatcook and the networking of Mi’kmaq communities throughout Cape Breton Island and the mainland.”
Chief Bernard sent out a special thank you, “I thank each and every volunteer from Wagmatcook and all the volunteers that came from the surrounding areas to make these games successful. Everyone worked very hard and I truly appreciate the time and effort that they spent to make this a memorable experience.”
Eskasoni was announced as host of next year’s summer games 2012. Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni congratulated Chief Bernard on such a fantastic job and praised the community of Wagmatcook for being such great host, “They did a great job and had amazing community spirit.”
Chief Denny hopes this summer games spirit will keep growing and become stronger every year. Chief Denny said we have a great deal of work to do to prepare for next year’s summer games. Chief Denny said he wanted to add more events, improve ball fields and incorporated more cultural component events for next year.
See you all next year in Eskasoni!