Editor's note: the following article was first published in the Sept. 25, 2012 print edition of The Compass.
It's mid-afternoon at the Carbonear Recreation Complex and there's one lone walker on the rubberized track, marching to a steady pace under an overcast sky and light winds.
It's almost too quiet for such a sprawling, modern recreation facility, but on this day, Stephanie Bourne is not about to complain.
Walking from the swimming pool to the bleachers, Bourne looks energized and refreshed, as if a weight has been lifted off her youthful shoulders.
A month ago, this facility is alive with the sites and sounds of competition, and Bourne was largely responsible for making it possible.
As manager of the 2012 NL Summer Games, Bourne carried a heavy load for the year leading up to the sporting spectacle, which was co-hosted by the towns of Carbonear and Harbour Grace from Aug. 18-25.
But the Games are now just a memory for the roughly 1,300 athlets who took part, and the tempo has slowed considerably for Bourne.
The feverish pace that kept her hopping from morning until night for so many months has been replaced by more mundane tasks as she puts a wrap on her year-long commitment to the Games.
She's no longer juggling media requests, wooing sponsors or arranging meetings with the many Games' committees.
It's now about the paperwork as she focuses on tying up the loose ends, including paying the bills and finalizing reports.
"Everything that went up for the Games, must come down," she said.
Praise for a job well done
Bourne was the recipient of some considerable praise from host committee co-chairs Milton Peach and Joey George during the closing ceremonies of the Games on Aug. 25.
George suggested her career was on an upward trajectory, and that these Games were "just the beginning."
Many say the praise was well-deserved, considering the Games were given high marks by participants and spectators at nearly every level.
But Bourne is not letting all the attention inflate her ego. She's unpretentious, practical and low-key, but also very hard-working, tenacious and enterprising.
It's these same attributes she plans to bring back to her full-time position as a PSO administrative co-ordinator with Sport NL when she returns to her St. John's office in November.
"I'm excited to go back, because I love what I do," she said.
Manage another Games?
Among her final duties is preparing a detailed final report, which will be handed over to those organizing the 2016 NL Summer Games in Conception Bay South.
The report will include any suggestions each committee would have moving forward, their thoughts on these Games, what went wrong and what went right.
"All of those have to come in and I have to prepare a final report," said Bourne. "There's a lot of paper work and a lot of things like that in my office right now."
With 2016 still in the distance, Bourne is unsure if she will be involved in the running of those Games.
"I've been asked if I would go to another community and do one ... but I'm not going to jump into one anytime soon," she said.
However, Bourne would not rule it out.
"I'm never going to say never," she said. "It is very demanding, taking a full year of your life and dedicating it solely to the Games."
Bourne said even after living and breathing the Games for the year, her passion for sport still burns.
"I love sport when I started, and I loved sport when I finished," she said. "I don't want to turn into hating it or anything."
Home sweet home
For Bourne, being able to come back to her home region and running the prestigious athletic event was something she will never forget.
In fact, it was the biggest thing Bourne will take from the entire experience.
"Just coming back to Carbonear and Harbour Grace area, work with all of the people that I've known growing up and to see how much everyone came together, I took a real pride in doing it for the two towns," she said. "I really wanted to see a successful outcome for it, and I'm really happy that we got it."
Meanwhile, the Games are all about the athletes.
Another aspect of the entire experience that really stood out to Bourne was the spirit of competition exhibited by the athletes.
"No doubt, they had first-class competition while they were here," she said.
First and foremost, the athletes evolved into more than just opponents over the course of the seven-day event.
"You can say they were coming here to compete, but they were all friends at the end of the day," said Bourne.
Aside from the athletes becoming friends through competition, Bourne said one of the biggest things was getting the athletes to town.
"That's the thing, once you get the athletes here and registered it kind of has to go ahead regardless," she said.
Bourne, like most everyone involved with the Games, was blown away by the sheer number of spectators who took in one event or another during the week.
Everywhere you turned, the stands were full of people out to support each and every athlete in the Games.
"For that week, you didn't know anything else in Carbonear and Harbour Grace existed," said Bourne. "It seemed like everyone was of the mindset of the Summer Games.
"It says a lot for the area for coming out and showing support for the host athletes and athletes from all over the province.
"We had amazing crowds."
In the weeks prior to the Games, much talk revolved around the number of volunteers, or lack thereof.
Bourne said she had been told not to expect much movement in the volunteer ranks until the last couple of weeks before the beginning of the Games. It turned out to be true.
"The last couple of weeks, there were stacks and stacks of volunteer applications coming in," she said.
Seemingly overnight, the volunteer metres that had been erected in both towns filled to the top.
"If we could have popped the top off of the volunteer metre, it would've just exploded," said Bourne.
In the end, Bourne had high praise for the volunteers and the work they did during the Games.
"Wherever people turned, there was a person in a green shirt willing to help," she said.
For Bourne, Aug. 25 capped off a long week that saw her juggle multiple committees, events and other issues as they arose.
There were no major spats between committee members, and Bourne praised the work of Joey George and Milton Peach.
While the week brought a couple of sleepless nights, Bourne said she would not change anything about the Games.
And, what about the night after?
"The Saturday after was a very, solid sleep," she said. "But, then I was thinking, what am I supposed to do tomorrow?"