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August 2016 Newsletter

Special Olympics rhythmic gymnasts

Photo by Darren Inouye, SOBC Region 5 Coordinator

Howie Meeker named to Special Olympics BC Hall of Fame

Howie Meeker Hall of Fame induction

After more than 40 years of generously giving his time and influential support to help Special Olympics throughout Canada, B.C., and Campbell River, legendary hockey player, coach, and broadcaster Howie Meeker has been inducted into the Special Olympics BC Hall of Fame.

Meeker received his induction plaque at the successful annual fundraiser that bears his name, the SOBC – Campbell River Howie Meeker Golf Classic, on August 20.

“I’m very, very excited to become a member of the Special Olympics BC Hall of Fame,” Meeker says. “Over the last 45 years, people involved in this wonderful operation at every level coast to coast have made the experience something extra special in our lives, Leah and I. Much of our appreciation of what we have, and how lucky we are to have it, comes from the Special Olympics athletes.

“If you’re sitting there in your automobile or reading the newspaper and you’re thinking there’s something missing in your life, and if you’ve got an extra buck or two, or better still a few hours a week to get involved, guaranteed you’ll hit the motherlode with Special Olympics. Yes indeed, the sun does shine 24 hours a day, and you will have fun.”

Pictured above right: Meeker receiving his Hall of Fame plaque from SOBC Director Colin MacKinnon. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror.

>> Read more

Sports Celebrities Festival set to inspire November 21

Sports Celebrities Festival

The Sports Celebrities Festival presented by Silver Wheaton is an inspiring and interactive gala celebrating the power of sport and the human spirit. Now entering its 18th year, this popular gala has raised more than $4 million in support of Special Olympics BC and the Canucks for Kids Fund.

Set to be held on November 21 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, the 2016 SCF will offer opportunities to meet and mingle with Special Olympics BC athletes and local sports heroes including the entire Vancouver Canucks roster. This year, Brandon Sutter will be the evening’s featured Canuck!

Our sincere thanks to Presenting Sponsor Silver Wheaton, to Major Sponsors Canaccord Genuity and the Macquarie Group Foundation, and to all the sponsors and supporters coming on board to make a difference with this special night.

Ways to get involved:

>> Learn more

Healthy Athletes coming to Burnaby, Cranbrook

Athlete Corey Yee at Special Olympics Healthy Athletes

Open to all individuals with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics BC’s Healthy Athletes Screening Days are fun, free events with lots of healthy giveaways, education, and free screenings. The next events are coming up in Burnaby on September 25 and Cranbrook on October 15!

The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program helps address the unique issues that many individuals with intellectual disabilities have around health care and communicating their needs. The professionals who lead Healthy Athletes screenings have received specific training to work with individuals with intellectual disabilities, and their interactions with participants lead to referrals back into the health care system to ensure they get the treatment they need.

The Burnaby event will involve screenings in the areas of Health Promotion, Special Smiles, and Strong Minds, Strong Bodies; the Cranbrook event will have screenings in a range of disciplines including Opening Eyes, where athletes can receive free eyeglasses if they require them or free sunglasses if they do not.

Come out to learn more about your health and get amazing resources and tools to help keep you healthy and active!

>> Burnaby details

>> Cranbrook details

UFC joins forces with Special Olympics BC

UFC announced Thursday that it has made a financial contribution to Special Olympics British Columbia through its corporate social responsibility initiative, We Are All Fighters. Symbolizing how everyone fights every day to overcome challenges large and small, We Are All Fighters celebrates the fighter in all of us and is designed to make a meaningful impact in communities where UFC events are held. Focused on “revealing the champion in all of us,” Special Olympics programs make a difference across Canada by promoting active lifestyles and better quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities through sport.

“Special Olympics provides crucial programs for athletes all across Canada,” UFC Executive Vice-President and General Manager for Canada, Australia, and New Zealand Tom Wright said. “These programs enable athletes to learn life-changing skills and develop self-esteem through sport.”

In support of the contribution, UFC hosted an introductory mixed martial arts workout for Special Olympics athletes at DCS Fitness & Martial Arts. No.1-ranked flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez, No.2-ranked welterweight contender Stephen Thompson, and The Ultimate Fighter Nations winner and UFC middleweight Elias Theodorou instructed Special Olympics athletes on martial arts technique, and discussed the discipline, honour, and respect required to succeed in sport.

>> Read more

Energy, inclusion highlights of 2016 BC Summer Games

Special Olympics athlete Jessi-lynn Gordon

BC Games give Special Olympics BC athletes the opportunity to compete alongside up-and-coming young mainstream athletes and para-sport peers, creating empowering experiences in both sport and social spheres. At the Abbotsford 2016 BC Summer Games held July 21 to 24, there were many inspiring examples of inclusion for the 39 participating SOBC swimming and track and field athletes, such as the connections sparked by SOBC – Prince George swimmer Sam Russell.

The engaging Russell enjoyed socializing with swimmers from around the province – many of whom came to the SOBC team throughout the competition to have their photos taken with him. He said he had a great time making new friends and talking about swimming, track and field, golf, rugby, and football.

There were “such nice people here – new friends, and my family,” said Russell, who was supported by a cheering section of supportive family.

“It’s surreal,” SOBC – Campbell River swimmer Ashley Adie said of the BC Games experience. “The energy is explosive, and everyone is so encouraging.”

>> Read more

Functional testing inspires fitness and success

SOBC - Castlegar athlete Liam Donnelly is a dedicated swimmer who takes pride in his health.

Special Olympics BC – Castlegar athlete Liam Donnelly says attending an SOBC functional testing session in June helped him improve his athletic performance, become healthier, and build confidence.

“I learned so much in one day,” Donnelly said. “It was so much fun – I had a blast!”

In functional testing, athletes participate in exercises that measure fitness and test their foundational movements. These sessions are used to evaluate an athlete’s fitness level and motivate and guide training. Functional testing also helps athletes track their progress and provides coaches with feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of their training programs.

SOBC’s next functional testing sessions will take place in Quesnel and Cranbrook on October 15, Vernon on October 16, Surrey on November 5, and Vancouver on November 6. Stay tuned for details on our Vancouver Island session.

For more information, or to reserve your spot, please contact James Marchand by email or phone at 604-616-1342 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

>> Read more

Coach opportunities and recognition

National Coaches Week 2016

The second annual National Coaches Week is coming September 17 to 25! Please click here to find viaSport British Columbia’s list of a range of B.C. events, including opportunities to register for National Coaching Certification Program multi-sport courses hosted by viaSport’s Regional Alliance for only $10!

As part of Coaches Week in B.C., the NCCP Special Olympics Competition Sport Workshop in Revelstoke on September 24 and 25 is being subsidized thanks to the support of SOBC, viaSport, and PacificSport Columbia Basin. Instead of the normal $65 course fee, this course is being offered for only $25. Spaces are limited – book early!

This week is a great time to thank our wonderful coaches and celebrate the tremendous positive impact they have on their athletes and communities! Join the conversation on Twitter at #CoachesWeek and #ThanksCoach.

More development opportunities will be provided in the SOBC Coaching Summit, which is set to return this October. Please click here to read about the 2014 summit and find resources. We’re grateful to the Local Executive Committee members who have been selecting coaches to attend this year’s event! If you are interested in participating, please contact your Local Coordinator and cc SOBC’s Leslie Thornley at Lthornley@specialolympics.bc.ca.

Children’s book by LETR member set to support SOBC

A new children’s book is poised to teach kids about inclusion and raise funds for Special Olympics BC.

In There’s a Norseman in the Classroom!, children returning from summer vacation discover a new student has joined their class — and he happens to be a huge, hairy, noisy Norseman. While the kids initially reject Norm the Norseman because he is different, they learn to accept him and appreciate all the great things he brings to their classroom.

Law Enforcement Torch Run member and Delta Police Department Constable Grayson Smith wrote the story, which features fun and vibrant visuals created by award-winning illustrator Timothy Banks. Two dollars from the sale of every book will go to benefit SOBC.

You can pick up a copy of There’s a Norseman in the Classroom! on Peppermint Toast Publishing’s website or Amazon.ca.

>> Read more

Special Olympics Team Canada members hard at work

Special Olympics Team Canada members in the Okanagan

Yes, these summer days are great. But who’s ready for winter? The members of Special Olympics Team Canada 2017 sure are!

Fifteen Special Olympics BC athletes, seven coaches, and one mission staff member have qualified for spots on Team Canada for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, set to be held March 14 to 25 next year.

In May, the 148 members of Team Canada 2017 participated in training camps at Ontario’s Teen Ranch, which brought together the team’s athletes, coaches, and mission staff from all across the country. The first training camp involved the snowshoeing, speed skating, and floor hockey teams; the second brought together the alpine skiing, cross country skiing, and figure skating teams.

>> Read more

Run or walk for SOBC at GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Take part in a scenic run and help raise funds for Special Olympics BC through the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon on October 9! This fun day of races features a marathon, half-marathon, eight-kilometre run, and kids run.

SOBC is grateful to be one of the charities selected for the successful CHEK Charity Pledge Program. If you are interested in signing up for the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, or have already registered to run/walk, you can help raise funds for SOBC or a specific SOBC Local.

To get involved, contact Charlotte Taylor by email or by phone at 604-737-3056 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Northern Regional Conference coming soon

Special Olympics BC logo

Coaches and volunteers in Regions 7 and 8 have the opportunity to come together with awesome peers to educate, engage, and inspire each other at the Regional Conference set to be held in Prince George September 30 to October 2! To please contact your Regional Coordinator or Charlene Flood, Manager, Community Development, North and Central Interior, by email or by phone at 250-570-1455.

Read about other recent Regional Conferences:

Make a difference with your Aeroplan Miles

Special Olympics BC is fortunate to be part of the Aeroplan Beyond Miles donation program. We hope our frequent-flyer friends will consider donating your Aeroplan Miles to help Special Olympics.

>> Please click here

Registration events ongoing

Special Olympics social media avatar

Special Olympics BC community programs are continuing to hold registration events throughout the early fall! All current athletes, coaches, and volunteers are reminded it is important to attend registration events each season to reconnect with your Local – check out the SOBC website calendar. If you aren’t able to attend a registration event, you must follow up with your Local. Thank you all!

Giveaway items for Locals

Special Olympics BC Locals can purchase a new range of fun products with the SOBC logo that can be used as event giveaways and for volunteer appreciation. Please click here to view the items available, including pens, pencils, reusable tote bags, stickers, and waterless tattoos.

To purchase items, please contact Office Administrator Lauren Openshaw by e-mail or by phone at 604-737-3078 or 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Staff update

On September 6, we look forward to welcoming Caitlin Woods-Rotering as the new Fundraising & Communications Coordinator. A B.C. native, Caitlin comes to SOBC with a passion for fundraising and communications, and great experience from her work at Children 1st and Autism Initiatives Scotland. Caitlin is currently completing a Douglas College post-graduate diploma in Professional Communications. She takes over in the role from Eliot James, who recently left SOBC for new adventures and we wish her well in her travels!