Calling all locals 

Whistlers Welcome Week to introduce seasonal employees to town

Whether you’ve lived in Whistler for a few short years or have a seasoned 25 years under you’re belt, you’ll all be known as ‘locals’ during Whistlers Welcoming Week.

That’s when Whistler will officially welcome its 2003/04 seasonal employees who have just arrived in this winter Shangri-La for the first time.

Spearheaded by Whistler Community Services, the week of Nov. 10-15 will be jam-packed with a movie night, volunteer fair and a scavenger hunt. It will then culminate in a Community Welcome Dinner where locals will host tables with the new employees and bend their ears with a tale or two about Whistler.

It’s all designed to give newcomers a taste of the larger Whistler community and on the flip side, introduce some longtime locals to the latest batch of seasonal workers.

"We’re showing these seasonal workers, the new locals, that there is a community here that you can turn to and will support you," said community outreach worker Tessa Mcloughlin.

"And in turn we’re showing the locals that these seasonal workers are great people and they’re needed in our community. So it just makes the town and the community more of a solid network."

Councillor Caroline Lamont will host a table at the Welcome Dinner with her husband and two children.

She said the week has been designed first and foremost to welcome the seasonal employees to the community. All of those employees will contribute to the Whistler community in some way while they are here she added.

The other aspect is to teach them about all the social services that are available to support them while the live and work here.

"I think our community really has to appreciate the (young people)... that come here," said Lamont.

"They certainly have come for skiing and other agendas but nonetheless, some of them turn into some of our best employees and stay and are community builders... in the end."

Roughly 30 locals have volunteered to "host" a table to date but Mcloughlin said there are looking for 150 hosts from all spectrums of the community.

Families like the Lamont’s can host a table together or a couple who have been living in town for a few years can try their hand at it or some local personalities and business owners can volunteer for the job too.

The one requirement is that they actually "host" the table and socialize with their dinner companions not just tuck into their free dinner.

The other events during the week include a movie night featuring the locally filmed snowboarding flick Gong Show.

The volunteer fair will represent the community network with things like information on the Re-Use-It Centre, drug and alcohol counselling and the SAFE (Sexual Awareness For Everyone) clinic. Local restaurateurs will also have samples on hand at this event.

"If you just scratch the surface of Whistler it’s hard to see that community but once you’re actually involved in it, you see it everywhere," said Mcloughlin.

Whistlers Welcoming Week will replace Spirit Day as the official welcome for seasonal workers.

"This is only the beginning," said Mcloughlin.

"We’re hoping that it’ll just get into something each year that’s bigger and better."

To sign up for the Community Welcome Dinner call Mcloughlin at 604-902-0670. She is looking for both hosts for the dinner tables and volunteers to help set up and take down the party. There will be a brief orientation meeting for volunteers on Nov. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. a Myrtle Philip School to explain what’s happening. All ages are welcome.

Tickets for seasonal employees will be ready at the end of October. There will be a limited number of 250 tickets for seasonal employees. Stay tuned to the Pique for more information as Whistlers Welcome Week draws closer.

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