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  • Kendra Zamzow

The Village Mayors

While many of us are out basking in the sun watching Alpine Ski, Snowshoe, and other events, a dedicated group of people are making sure everything is running smoothly at the Participant Villages.


There are six Participant Villages – at Palmer, Wasilla, and Colony middle and high schools. Each has its own “Mayor”.


“My wife and I have been involved with the Arctic Winter Games for two years,” said Cory Smith, Mayor of the village at Palmer Junior Middle School. “We chose to help out as Mayors at this school because we know the layout.  We had four kids go through this school, and my wife worked here.”


He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). “We have six congregations in Palmer and eight in Wasilla. When the call went out for volunteers to set up beds, we knew we could do it with all our congregations.” They were able to supply 600 people to help set them up, and they’ll be taking them down this weekend.


“Mostly we try to get answers to everyone,” he said. This was demonstrated as he helped two participants with getting the bus to the winter carnival, another that needed a key, and received information on whether plumbing was fixed in a shower – or not. “And I would like to give a big thank you to all the people volunteering their time and talent. Arctic Winter Games could never have done this without every volunteer."


Over at the Palmer High School Participant Village, Tonya Loyer and Leslie Norris were manning the Mayor’s office. The big office windows looked out at two big posters of the bus routes available to the participants to get around. “We’re the point of contact,” said Tonya. “And the Door Dash stop.” They also hold the key to rooms. Rooms may have up to eight people, but there is only one key. “So we need to go with the person to open the room.” The two of them man the mid-day shift from 11 am to 5 pm. A husband and wife team take the morning shift from 5:30 am to 11:30 am, and another volunteer takes the night shift from 4:30 to 11 pm. Curfew for participants is 11 pm.


“We’ve got feedback about how well everything is run,” said Tonya. “Although we did get a complaint that the bus actually left right on time,” chimed in Leslie, “it wasn’t even one minute late.”


If you are going to Palmer High to watch futsal, or to one of the other Participant Villages where events are held, take a moment to say “thanks” to the Mayors.

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