PALMER — The Mat-Su Borough was awarded the 2024 Arctic Winter Games in April, and have already begun working to organize ahead of the arrival of approximately 2,000 athletes in three years. On Tuesday, former Mat-Su Borough School District Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Amy Spargo was announced as the President of the Arctic Winter Games 2024 Host Society.
“I think she’s a great fit for this position. She’s smart, she’s an accomplished leader, she’s a great communicator, she’s well respected, she’s a champion of our youth and she has a passion for the Mat-Su Borough and our Valley and our community so I can’t think of a better fit,” said Borough Manager Mike Brown.
Spargo heads up a star-studded Board of Directors for the host society that will begin planning for the upcoming Arctic Winter Games that will feature competitions in 21 sports including traditional Arctic and Dene games as well as cultural events. The 2024 Games will be the seventh time that AWG has been hosted in Alaska, and the first since Fairbanks in 2014. With an estimated cost between $4-6 million, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly previously voted to appropriate $250,000 and Fairbanks forwarded $50,000 from the proceeds of the 2014 games. Brown also announced that a $1 million grant from the State has been received.
“I am thrilled to be in this position. It has been fun and fast and furious from the beginning. Since the bid was awarded to the Mat-Su Borough, a nonprofit organization was stood up from scratch and that organization is called the Mat-Su 2024 Arctic Winter Games host society,” said Spargo. “It’s been exciting to assemble a team of civic minded positive people that are willing to volunteer their time to make this good thing happen for our community.”
The board will begin meeting monthly in September. Mat-Su Borough planner Leda Borys will serve as Vice President and MSB Finance Director Cheyenne Heindel will serve as treasurer. Past participant and local engineer Colin Fay will serve as Director of Venues and Matanuska Telephone Association Vice President of Consumer Markets Jonathan Babbitt will serve as Director of IT and Communications. Casey Ressler will serve as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
“Another stroke of luck we had is that our director of sports technical is Holly Odegard who served as the director of sports technical in Fairbanks in 2014 and she had such a good time at that position that when she retired and moved down here she volunteered to take up that work again for us so we have somebody who’s been there and done that,” said Spargo.
The estimated economic impact of the AWG is valued at approximately $38 million and the 2022 AWG will be held in Grand Prairie, Canada. Current Assemblyman Rob Yundt is a former participant at AWG.
“The community spirit among this group is remarkable and I’m confident we will be able to showcase our athletes, local community, people and culture in a positive light. I would be remiss in a room full of people who care about our home and community like I do not to let you know that we need about 2,000 volunteers to pull off the Arctic Winter Games in world class fashion,” said Spargo. “There will be opportunities for people who can make a three-hour commitment hanging signs or putting together bunk beds to a three year commitment serving on a committee for health, safety or a specific sport and every level in between This event is a chance for all of us to pull together for a great cause.”