July 23, 2014 7:34 pm

Volunteer spirit helping make NAIG a success

REGINA – You’ll hear her voice with every batter at Optimist Park this week.

Announcing and marking down every pitch, Lynette Nishnik isn’t getting paid, but she is hard at work.

“It’s a lot to do but you have to remain focused and always be paying attention,” said Nishnik during the few seconds between pitches.

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Nishnik is one of more than 2,000 volunteers for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Regina. She’s been keeping score at the park for several years and, like any other major tournament, she didn’t want to miss it.

“I like to show this beautiful Optimist Park and have the kids out here. I like to support young athletes doing positive things in their communities,” Nishnik said.

The games had looked to come up short on volunteers just one week ago, but since then another 400 people have signed up for jobs like making deliveries or setting up bleachers.

Help has come from all across the country.

“We actually had a group of youth come from Northwest Territories to volunteer. I’ve had phone calls from people in Ontario and Calgary, flying in the day of the opening ceremonies,” said Brad Bellegarde, NAIG volunteer coordinator.

Volunteer efforts are perhaps appreciated the most by parents – cheering on their kids, while recognizing their work is what helps keeps these young athletes competing.

“There are people left and right helping them out, making them lunch, driving them back and forth,” said one appreciative parent.

“I don’t think it would be possible for this event to happen without them,” an athlete said about NAIG volunteers.

All eyes this week are on the athletes, but this support off the field may be what makes it possible for them to perform.

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