Have you been having a great time at this year’s #Stampede2015? What have been some of your favourite moments or experiences?
For me, I feel one of the most special opportunities we have as Calgary Stampede volunteers is having the chance to help out some of the other committees with their events. Often during our Next Generation (NGC) meetings our Chair will ask us if we’d like to participate in upcoming activities planned by one of the 46 other volunteer committees. I make an effort to say yes to as many as possible- it is a great way to support our fellow Calgary Stampede volunteers, meet new people, and partake in some pretty wonderful events.
This past Monday, Emily and I represented NGC at the 36th Annual Queen’s Alumni Giddy-Up Grits hosting children with special needs and their immediate families. It’s a heart-warming morning organized by past Queens and Princesses from the Royalty program (they have about 70 active members, which is a lot of crowns!). As the families arrived, they were greeted by many mascots, clowns, and entertainers; there was face painting and even a few furry friends for them to interact with.
I caught up with Tara Linton, Chair of the Giddy-Up Grits (and 1999 Princess!) to learn a bit more about this wonderful event.
Can you list the other committee partners you work with to make the morning possible?
Downtown Attractions (mascots), Kids’ Day (breakfast!), Promotion (greeters & Harry the Horse), Royalty and Indian Princess, Agriculture Education (Country Critters), and the Queen’s Alumni.
What was the inspiration behind starting this event?
It began in 1979 – before the Queen’s Alumni were even a recognized Stampede committee! The women who began the Alumni had a passion for volunteering and working with special needs – how the event was born exactly I do not know! But it has been hosted rain or shine for 36 years now! The goal is to promote Stampede’s Western Legacy and Spirit while offering caregivers a private, secure, safe and free event to attend. We have four other events like this during the calendar year – Giddy-Up Rodeo in mid-August, Giddy-Up Carnival in the Fall, Giddy-Up Christmas, and Giddy-Up Aggie Days.
How do families meet criteria to attend, and if interested, how do they apply to participate?
We have a database that has evolved and collected names for many years. We began with contacting schools, camps and other special needs organizations, extending invitations and building the database from there. We maintain the names (in privacy) of those kids and continue to extend invitations through other groups so as to continue reaching children and families.
There is no age limit to our events – babies on up to adults in their 20’s and 30’s attend! However, with a morning like Grits, there are obviously some ride restrictions for some of the adults (which is why a small portion of the main midway is opened up for the “big kids”).
What sponsors would you like to thank?
Maxim Power Corporation, Cenovus and North American Midway Entertainment (NAME)
Here are some fun food facts from the morning: we used 100 pounds of pancake batter, 925 plates, knives and forks, 1100 sausage patties, 900 juice and 750 milks! Thank you to the Queen’s Alumni committee for hosting this amazing, memorable morning for so many families and for including us as well!
You can find more information on what is happening on park for the 10-day Calgary Stampede as well as all year round on Twitter @calgarystampede and @CS_NGC, or on Facebook through our official Facebook page.