FAIRBANKS — As Fairbanks settles into its role of hosting the 2014 Arctic Winter Games, there is a buzz around town and although it requires an army of volunteers putting in long hours, the excitement seems to be infectious.
“I love the energy,” said Kara Nash, chairwoman of the graphics and signs committee. She said she may never look at a graphic or sign the same way ever again.
Nash is from upstate New York, graduated from the University of Rochester and moved to Fairbanks seven years ago. She started working for the Downtown Association as events and marketing director.
“My goal is to help nonprofits fundraise through events that benefit the community,” she said.
When she isn’t working or volunteering for the Arctic Winter Games, Nash is a high school diving coach.
“I was a gymnast all my life, and when I reached the middle school level, I converted to a diver so I could participate in a school-sanctioned sport,” Nash said.
She competed at the collegiate level four years and when she moved to Alaska began coaching at West Valley, Monroe Catholic, Hutchison and Lathrop high schools.
“I eventually became the diving coach for North Pole making my coaching program borough-wide,” she said. I have been coaching locally for six years and will continue to do so as long as I can.”
Nash recently opened her own event planning business, taking on projects like the Yukon Quest Annual Wine Tasting and Auction, Habitat for Humanity’s Festival of Trees and the Midnight Sun Festival.
“It gave me the flexibility to be actively involved in AWG, coach high school diving and create a schedule that allows for new and exciting challenges,” she said. “I want to give everything my all, but the challenge has been finding enough hours in the day.”
Although she is a self-proclaimed workaholic, Nash does like to travel and explore.
“I like to travel statewide and will make any excuse for a road trip,” she said. “I go dip-netting in Chitina every summer. I also like to get out of Alaska occasionally and like planning trips to visit friends around the country.
“I enjoy spending time in Montana during the winter, learning to snowboard,” she added.
Now that the Games are actually under way, she said she is thrilled to be involved as much as she is.
“I get to experience every aspect of the Games,” She said. “I get to go from behind the scenes to dining with the athletes to just being a spectator.”
Nash is grateful for the friends she’s made through the Arctic Winter Games and “how much they make me laugh.” She said, “I have also become addicted to pin trading after procuring a valuable ‘spin’ pin from Team Alberta North. I am hooked on the Arctic Winter Games.”