With the Kenai Peninsula Borough signing on to host the 2006 Arctic Winter Games during a ceremony earlier this week, residents need to roll up their sleeves.
Now the real work begins. Residents have no time to rest on the laurels of winning the Games.
There are only 1,066 days left to prepare for the Games, and there's a mind-boggling amount of work to be done during that time to make sure the peninsula is ready for the thousands of athletes and visitors that will converge on the peninsula for this prestigious cultural and sporting event.
We're sure, however, residents' can-do spirit will prevail.
It will be no small or simple task to get the peninsula ready for this world-class event which is expected to bring an estimated 2,000 athletes from Alaska, Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, Nunavut Territory and Greenland to the peninsula.
It took hundreds of volunteers to make the peninsula's winning bid presentation; it will take thousands to host the Games. Many of those thousands have already pledged their support; many more will be needed.
Enthusiasm for the Games now needs to be turned into elbow grease. Our hope is residents will tackle the tasks at hand and say "yes" to the challenges ahead.
If you have yet to catch the excitement of the Games and are wondering what's in it for you, those involved will tell you nothing less than a life-changing experience.
There will be tangible benefits in the form of upgraded and new sports facilities. There will be intangible benefits in the form of unity of purpose and camaraderie that will bring residents from all over the peninsula together to host the best Arctic Winter Games ever. There will be the opportunity to meet people and establish friendships with others who live in the far northern reaches of the world. And there will be the unique opportunity to showcase the peninsula's rich cultural heritage, as well as learn more about the arctic cultures of other countries.
It's an event that really will require all residents to participate for it to be its best. There can't be any sitting on the sidelines as preparation for the Games gets under way.
Let the work begin.
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