Let the Games Begin!

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games are about to begin (February 7 – 23), and the world is waiting to see what fun they’ll bring! At the library, we have plenty of great books about sports, including a display with specific books detailing the winter sports that we’ll be watching during the games. Come in and take out a book about snowboarding or skiing, to gain some insight into the events so you can cheer on our team!

 

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Published in: on February 6, 2014 at 3:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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What’s It Like to Volunteer at the Olympics?

We have a fabulous Carleton Place connection to the Sochi Olympics about to take place from February 7 – 23, 2014.  One of our patrons is volunteering there, and she’s agreed to fill us in on what it’s like to be helping out with such a major event. I’ll tell you a bit more about her in a moment, but first, a few important facts about the Olympics themselves.

It’s the twenty-second Winter Olympic Games, and Sochi, Russia beat out PyeongChang, South Korea by only four votes in order to host this year! Sochi is located on the Northeast coast of the Black Sea, and is said to have mild winters, the perfect climate for Winter Games, don’t you think? (Certainly better than this Arctic Vortex we’ve been experiencing in parts of Ontario this year.) When the Games begin on February 7th,  they’ll encompass sports like freestyle skiing, the luge, hockey and bobsleigh (is it bobsleighing or bobsledding now?) To make all of this run smoothly requires volunteers from around the world. They’ve arrived in Sochi many weeks prior to the Games, and are already getting to know each other, the places they’ll be working in, and the people who are assisting them. It’s a long process, but a satisfying one, from the sound of it.

Sarah Loftus is a mainstay in our community. When she’s not jetsetting around the globe volunteering at one type of sporting event or the other, you can find her making hot, handcrafted beverages at our local Starbucks, always with a smile on her face. We might see her father in the library a little more frequently than she manages to drop in, but it’s always nice to say hello when we get the chance.  She was super nice about answering a few questions for us regarding her volunteering highlights in Sochi.

Sarah Loftus

How did you hear about volunteering for the XXII Winter Olympics?

Sarah:  I had previously volunteered at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and loved my experience. I was constantly checking the website for information about when you could apply and signed up to be reminded when the application opened to the public. 

I think I heard about volunteering for Vancouver from an advertisement on the side of my email. I definitely had never, ever considered it. I didn’t even know it was possible. To me it felt like a unique way to experience the games and to be involved with all of the excitement.

What are some of the highlights of your work there in Sochi, Russia?

Sarah: Biggest highlights so far are:

          – Meeting new friends from all over the world (Russia, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Australia, USA, Canada)
          – getting the chance to travel to Russia and volunteer at another Olympic Games 
          – seeing all the pieces fall into place for opening ceremonies
          – the excitement of knowing I’m going to be part of the cast of the Opening Ceremonies of              
            the 2014 Olympic Games
Sarah Loftus

Where do you stay?

Sarah: I’m staying in Adler, Russia at a hotel called the Dolphin. Sochi is the first Olympics to provide accommodations for all of their volunteers. I probably wouldn’t have been able to come here if I was required to provide my own accommodations because of the cost. 

You have long hours as a volunteer. Do you get to attend any of the sporting events as a spectator?

Sarah:  All volunteers are being given a ticket for one of two dress rehearsals for the Opening Ceremonies. As I am a cast member, in the ceremonies, I won’t be attending them as a spectator. Before arriving in Sochi I purchased tickets to two games in the Women’s hockey tournament. I’m going to see the USA ladies play Team Finland and to a quarter final game. I’m hoping to pick up some tickets to a Canadian ladies and men’s game and something else that isn’t too expensive. 

What book did you read on your flight over?

Sarah:  THE STORYTELLER by Jodi Picoult. Plus, I watched two movies: Perfect Pitch and The Lion King

Do you know any Russian?

Sarah:  I came to Russia knowing absolutely no Russian, which was definitely very intimidating. I’ve been here almost a week and I’m starting to recognize a few words but nothing significant. It’s difficult because there are so many characters in their alphabet that are nonexistent in the English language. 

Within our little group of International volunteers (there are about 16 within my function of ceremonies) we have started a Russian words of the day to help with things like hello, goodbye, thank you, etc. 

Since you work at Starbucks, how is the coffee over there?

The coffee is not very good. I miss Starbucks. Powered coffee is far from the quality I’m familiar with. Tea is very popular though. 

What’s been your best moment so far?

Sarah:  The best moment so far would be one of two things:

        1. Getting my accreditation (security clearance cards) finally after 4 days of problems    
            and stress. 
        2. Rehearsing the Athlete’s Parade beginning to end for the first time. It was the first   
            time I realized just how incredible and emotional the experience of being a cast 
            member really is. It really was beautiful and there wasn’t even a single athlete or 
            costume in the room.
Sarah Loftus

Do you think the Bolshoy Ice Dome looks like a giant computer mouse?

Ice-Dome-Bolshoy-by-SIC-Mostovik-09(Photo courtesy of SIC Mostovick- Architects)

Sarah:  Bolshoy DOES look like a computer mouse. Funny isn’t it? 

Have you seen Canada’s official mascot, Komak the Moose?

Sarah:  I have not seen Komak the Moose yet. There aren’t very many hints of countries floating around yet. Pretty soon teams will start arriving and hopefully we start seeing more flags, mascots and general Olympic excitement. I will keep my eye out for him and will be sure to say hi and introduce myself!

As you can tell, the process of volunteering is not only rewarding, but fun. Here’s hoping our Canadian athletes do well and bring home the gold as many times as possible. You can find out more about the Canadian athletes on their official site, and more about the Sochi Winter Games at the 2014 site right here.  And a big thank you to Sarah for giving us a glimpse inside the Olympics. You can follow her wonderful blog posts chronicling her stay in Sochi right here. Have a wonderful time, and cheer loudly for all of us, too! Good luck, Olympians!

Published in: on January 28, 2014 at 3:21 am  Comments (2)  
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Harper’s Hockey

 

 

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the ...

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Commander’s Palace restaurant Monday evening, April 21, 2008, after attending the North American Leaders’ Summit dinner in New Orleans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It’s not a secret that our Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a hockey fan.  But a lot of people might be surprised to know that he’s been writing a hockey book for years…and it’s just been picked up by a publishing house! The story of the hockey book goes a little deeper, however, and has caused some controversy along the way.

 

With no official title yet, the book is being marketed as a history of the early days of the NHL. It’s not really anything new, maybe, but this type of book generally does well on the market.  With Mr. Harper’s name attached to it, the interest is sure to explode once it is released. And good for him!  From all accounts, he really worked hard on this–a labour of love–rather than allowing someone to pen it with him in a matter of weeks.  So, what’s the problem you might ask?

 

Apparently, the book has been picked up by a major publishing house—Simon & Schuster. For most authors, that would be a great accomplishment. The bigger the publishing house, the better the deal.  While Mr. Harper is going to donate his royalties to the Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services, one would assume he’d still want to get the biggest deal he could, if only to give his charity the most money possible.  Great! The controversy starts here. 

 

While Simon & Schuster is a well known and respected publishing house, it is barred by the Investment Canada Act from “acquiring and publishing domestic books”.  What does that mean?  It means that while they have offices in Toronto, legally, they only sell and market the books already acquired by their New York offices. So, Mr. Harper’s book will be published in the US, sold across the border here in Canada, and the money he makes will go back across to the US before he sees any of it.

 

This may sound typical of a lot of Canadian authors. While many writers on this side of the border sign with American agents and have US publishing deals, the fact that Mr. Harper, our Prime Minister, did not choose to go with a Canadian publishing house when so many of them are suffering in this economy, is not sitting well with some. Apparently, none of the Canadian publishing houses even made an offer on the book.  This probably isn’t because they weren’t interested or didn’t think it would sell, but rather, they knew they wouldn’t be able to compete with the larger American houses. And for his side, Mr. Harper’s agent, Michael Levine, insists this isn’t something we should view as a political faux pas.  This deal was a book written by a Canadian with a love of hockey.  If it had been any one other than our nation’s leader, no one would have questioned it.

 

I guess it won’t matter once the book comes out.  Not many people will remember this controversy in November when they’re scrambling to get their hands on it. At that point, people will only be concerned with whether the book is good or not. (I’m sure it will be fascinating!)  And really, why all the fuss?  Do we care if Mr. Harper buys jeans at Walmart–an American company, or if he gets his furniture from Ikea–a Swedish company? If he supports other ventures that make money for companies that might also have competitors in Canada, we don’t protest. While it would have been nice for him to “choose” a Canadian publisher, the offer just wasn’t there. You can’t complain about something that never was.

 

It’s the Carleton Place Library Olympics!

While many of the world’s athletes are already on their way to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, we had a host of young local “athletes” attend our Olympic Days at the library. Armed with lots of sunscreen, bottles of water and a host of fun games, they ventured out in the park behind the library and competed in events.  (Our own Agent G. made up part of the cheering crowd. They weren’t taking part in trampoline, so he couldn’t participate, but boy, did he have fun!)

Our kids formed teams and played for fun prizes. The sweat was pouring as the competing “countries” tried their hardest to win Gold!

In the end, everyone came back into the air conditioned building, enjoyed some freezies and cold drinks and showed off their medals.  Okay, and they played freeze dance a  few times, to0! Wouldn’t be a summer library program without Freeze Dance!

Go Canada!

They came and they Krafted

Our Hockeyville Kraft Night on January 24th was a HUGE success!  We had lots of young crafters who were ready to get their hands dirty, and we were joined by a few fantastic team members from the Carleton Place Canadians!

We made some crazy goalie masks and everyone got to design their own hockey jersey as well!  Our hockey players did a fantastic job helping the kids to create their “krafts”. No one went home without a handful of projects, including the hockey players themselves!

We’d love to thank the members of the Carleton Place Canadians who took an hour out of their schedules to come and be with us.  Not only did they learn the kids’ names, they didn’t even hesitate to get out of their comfort zones and get creative with us!  It was a very fun evening and we hope it’ll help towards our goal of making Carleton Place Kraft Hockeyville 2012!


A BIG thanks to Brodie Barrick, Shayne Morrissey, Luke Martin, Luke Edwards and Jessica Smith for helping us out. Go Carleton Place!

Hockeyville “Kraft” Night at the library!

To join in the fun on the bid for Carleton Place to become Kraft Hockeyville 2012, we’re having a Hockeyville “Kraft” night at the library!  Kids from ages 6 – 12 are welcome to sign up for a fun evening of hockey “Krafts”, puzzles, games and more!  There might even be a few very special guests to help us out!! (Just a hint….they’re not playing that night, but they are Canadians…….)

If you don’t know about the exciting endeavor, you can drop by the Kraft Hockeyville website to sign up and “JOIN” our community of Carleton Place, in an effort to become this year’s Kraft Hockeville community!  The winning community will get $100,000 in arena upgrades from Kraft Canada, an NHL pre-season game played at the local arena, NHL open team practices and a special Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on CBC.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  But Carleton Place needs LOTS more people to sign up and upload photos, stories or videos about the hockey experience in Carleton Place. 

If you know a young person who would like to come to our Kraft Night from 7 – 8pm on Tuesday, January 24th…please drop in or call us at 257-2702 to register.  Hurry…spaces are limited and this is going to be a popular event! Go Carleton Place!

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