Community leaders were encouraged recently at a reception hosted for consultant Tom O'Hara, a past member of the Arctic Winter Games International Committee, and his wife Angie.
Currently O'Hara serves as the general manager for the Arctic Winter Games Host Society, and volunteered to come to the Peninsula, "My wife decided she'd like to visit the Kenai Peninsula, so we are taking a look around to determine if the Borough of the Kenai Peninsula has the where with all to host the Games. I feel so far they do, and we're trying to assist your committee to build momentum and a bid package that will be well received by the International Committee," said O'Hara.
Word has been spreading throughout the community about the opportunity and desire for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to collectively host the Games in 2006. Earlier this year a local delegation of athletes, parents, and government officials attended this year's games in Greenland and Canada. Since their return, the enthusiasm and commitment to bring the games to the Peninsula has been growing. That momentum took a giant step forward recently as community leaders across the Peninsula started hearing the professional evaluation of the opportunity from Tom O'Hara, who is currently the general manager for the 2004 Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games to be held in Canada.
O'Hara didn't come with a spoon full of sugar, but spoke candidly and answered questions directly about what is required of a host community, " It is a huge undertaking, but what you've done is to approach the project with a very methodical process, taking small pieces at a time and finding solutions to them. You'll need to generate around 3,000-4,000 volunteers, you can do that, and you have great facilities, so I think when you add up all the components and you put the human factor in of your great people and their can do spirit, I certainly think that the Kenai Peninsula Borough can host the Games and I feel your bid will be successful," said O'Hara, at a reception held at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.
O'Hara first met the Kenai delegation when they attended the 2002 games. Jack Brown, director of community and economic development for the Borough, was surprised and greatly encouraged by O'Hara's commitment, "He has already saved us hundreds of hours of preliminary bid proposal work, we are very fortunate to have his professional help," said Brown, who is presently heading up the committee preparing the official document which is due to the International Committee in October.
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