community involvement S

outhern Alberta is well known for its ability to attract major events to the area, be it Alberta or Canada Games, major golf and curling tournaments, Special

Olympics or international hockey.

The positive effects on the region for hosting large-scale affairs are nearly countless, but in order to even get off the ground, a significant number of people must come together and put in a ton of time.

“A lot of effort goes into getting those events to come to this city,” says South Country Co-op Marketing and Community Relations Manager Carmen Hudson. “When an event like that is held in a community like this, the financial impact is huge — the amount of money spent on hotels, dining out, fuel, etcetera — it has a major effect.

“These events are huge for our communities, and without Co-op supporting these events, they couldn’t happen.”

Of course, that’s a non-issue because if a local community bids successfully on a big event, you can rest assured the Co-op is there to help. And South Country doesn’t just come aboard as a sponsor, it comes aboard as the biggest sponsor there is—but in the Co-op way. Being a sponsor doesn’t just mean offering a chunk of funding for South Country Co-op — it means taking care of the most important aspect of any community event.

It means taking care of the volunteers.

“We always want the volunteer sponsorship,” Hudson says. “Without the volunteers, these events wouldn’t happen, so for us to be able to support the volunteers, and even have the opportunity to volunteer ourselves — that’s what matters to Co-op.

“We do that because that is our commitment to the community — lending a hand — and we couldn’t do that if people

Co-op is so dedicated to this aspect, and so committed to providing whomever is necessary for the job, that employees won’t ever have to sacrifice their wages in order to be a volunteer. And when the event is large enough, the need for bodies on site is just as big.

As one example, for the recent Alberta 55-plus Summer Games, Co-op employees

No one knows our communities like

Co-op, and it’s such a great opportunity for us to get out there and tell our stories

didn’t shop with us.

“The more people that shop with us, the more we can give back.”

The volunteers at these events are quite likely Co-op members themselves, so it makes sense to be joined by Co-op Team members on the front lines, doing whatever is necessary to be great hosts for the community.

“It’s important for us to get out there and do the leg work so these events can go off without a hitch,” says Hudson, adding that it helps sell the community to visitors when the volunteers have passion for and knowledge of their home.

“No one knows our communities like Co-op, and it’s such a great opportunity for us to get out there and tell our stories.”

manned water stations at every single event from start to finish. With a team of almost 700 employees South Country- wide, and a passion throughout for doing their part, finding the necessary numbers is rarely an issue.

“We don’t have to struggle getting volunteers at all,” Hudson says. “We actually had to tell some that we didn’t need them for the 55-plus Summer Games. Our team is just amazing and always willing to help.”

South Country Co-op’s top priority is bettering the community in any way they can; assisting in bringing visitors to the area has a positive financial ripple effect for the people and businesses in the region. If there’s a chance to shine a light on and promote growth in any communities within their trading area, Co-op will be there.

“Because that’s just what we do. It’s a Co-op thing!”

20 | CO-OP Telling our Story

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