Kelowna leg of International Children’s Games had $2 million spin-off

It’s been just over a month since the International Children’s Games played out in Kelowna, but organizers say the impact will be felt well into the future.

“It was a fabulous event, and we had a great time organizing it,” said Heather Schneider, chair of the organizing committee, during a Monday presentation to city council. 

“This put Kelowna on the map internationally —many hadn’t heard of Kelowna, so we were pleased to welcome them and let them know what a wonderful region this is.”

Many participants, she said, have expressed interest in coming back, and that will have an economic as well as cultural impact for years to come.

While some of the games’ benefits will be in the offing, Schneider pointed out the biggest boon to the community was immediate.

“The games had at least a $2 million impact … and 60 jobs were created between September and the games,” she said, noting a more comprehensive report would be released in March.

Knowledge gained through the event is also invaluable, and Schneider said it’s become quite clear Kelowna has the volunteer support and knowhow to host more large scale events in the future.

The games, held in the last week of January, brought in 21 people for the game’s organizing committee and 890 volunteers helped make the event run smoothly. Another 98 families opened their home to the games’ 500 athletes.

The next games will be held in Scotland, and Schneider pointed out there are youth within the community who are getting ready to show their stuff on the international stage.

Already some Kelowna kids have queued up to go, and fundraising endeavours are underway. Westbank First Nations representatives are also interested in participating.

After Scotland the games are slated for Korea.