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May 2016 Newsletter

Smithers bowlers at their Regional Qualifier

Congrats Special Olympics Team Canada 2017!

2017 World Games logo

Sending heartfelt congratulations to the 15 Special Olympics BC athletes, seven coaches, and one mission staff member who have earned spots on Team Canada for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria!

The hardworking team members earned their places through their performances at the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. The team members from SOBC join the Special Olympics Team Canada roster of 110 athletes, 35 coaches and mission staff, two team managers, and one Chef de Mission, and will compete in Austria from March 14 to 25, 2017.

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#ShareaDream with Staples Canada for Special Olympics

SOBC athletes in store at Staples

We are heading into the final stage of the 16th Give a Toonie Share a Dream fundraising and awareness campaign! From May 7 to 29, Staples Canada stores from coast to coast are raising funds and awareness to help support more than 40,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities participating in Special Olympics sport programs in over 450 communities throughout Canada. In addition to in-store donations, customers will be able to make an online donation while shopping at Staples.ca/ShareADream.

“Our Give a Toonie Share a Dream campaign is an important part of who we are,” said Steve Matyas, president of Staples Canada. “Together with our customers, we’re very proud to support this inspiring and important program that helps open up so many new opportunities for athletes across Canada.”

We are very grateful to all the Staples stores, staff, and customers in B.C. for their amazing support, and to the athletes and volunteers throughout their province who give great time and energy to help make this important campaign a success!

>> Read more

>> Donate online

Changing lives with the Goldcorp Invitational Golf Tournament

We are less than one month away from the 2016 Goldcorp Invitational Golf Tournament in support of Special Olympics BC! One of Vancouver’s premier golf events, the fully stocked tournament returns to Northview Golf & Country Club on June 21. Thank you to all the sponsors, teams, volunteers, and supporters who participate in this event to help change lives with SOBC.

All of the tournament’s teams and major sponsorships are sold out, but you can still help make a difference for SOBC through this valuable event by donating auction items or tee and on-course competition sponsorships. Please contact Christina Hadley by email or by phone at / toll-free.

“Goldcorp is so thrilled to be associated with Special Olympics. It’s the main charity we support through the year, and we hope to do it for many many years to come,” Ian Telfer, Chairman of the Board and Director of Goldcorp, said at the 2015 tournament.

We are truly grateful to the generous sponsors who support Special Olympics through the Goldcorp Invitational:

Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Prince George brings out smiles for athletes and volunteers

The Special Olympics BC Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Prince George saw nearly 60 individuals with intellectual disabilities receive free health screenings in a fun and welcoming environment. The daylong event also provided volunteer health practitioners and students with opportunities to create meaningful connections with athletes, develop their professional skills, and enjoy the event’s energetic atmosphere.

Special Olympics Yukon Health Promotion Clinical Director Ashten Staffen helped run the Health Promotion screenings at the Prince George event on May 1. Staffen was born and raised in nearby Quesnel, B.C., and said the Healthy Athletes Screening Day gave her an opportunity to visit her hometown and connect with SOBC athletes that she hadn’t seen in more than a decade.

“I was shocked that they remembered me!” Staffen said. “It was great to see that they were doing well. They would share with me their medals from Games, and seeing their pride and sportsmanship is always rewarding.”

Big thanks to all the dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic participants who helped make the Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Prince George a big success!

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Law enforcement raring to run for Special Olympics BC

BC Law Enforcement Torch Run 2015

Are you ready to cheer on the Lower Mainland Law Enforcement Torch Run from May 31 to June 3? The Torch Run team is pumped to hit the streets and make some noise, raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics BC. Local law enforcement members and SOBC athletes are thrilled to join the runs in their communities, proudly carry the Flame of Hope, and hear the cheers from hometown fans, so come out and show your support!

The Lower Mainland Torch Run schedule is posted on our website here.

Law enforcement members can register online here.

Law enforcement members, SOBC athletes, and supporters are excited to lace up for the Victoria Torch Run along the Galloping Goose trail on June 18 and the Nanaimo Torch Run on June 25. Everybody is welcome and encouraged to join in the runs or come out and cheer!

Runners can register online here.

>> BC LETR events page

Exciting Regional Qualifiers continue

Thrilling competition continues in this season of summer-sport Regional Qualifiers! Firsts marked in May included the first-ever Basketball Regional Qualifier in the North hosted by SOBC – Prince George, SOBC – Kelowna hosting their first Rhythmic Gymnastics Regional Qualifier, and SOBC – Creston hosting their first Golf Regional Qualifier.

Watch terrific coverage of the Basketball Regional Qualifier in Prince George by CKPG News and Shaw TV Northern BC

May also saw Region 2 athletes hit the lanes for their 5-Pin Bowling Regional Qualifier and Region 7 athletes race through the water in their Swimming Regional Qualifier.

A lot of effort went into planning the Rhythmic Gymnastics Regional Qualifier for Regions 7 and 8 in Fort St. John. Unfortunately, the event had to be cancelled due to wildfire threats. Strong credit goes out to the organizers for all the effort they put in and to the teams that were travelling for the event. SOBC is looking into alternative plans.

This weekend will see athletes compete in Bocce Regional Qualifiers for Regions 1 and 3 and the Softball Regional Qualifier for Region 6. Best of luck to all participants, and big thanks to all the volunteers and supporters who make these important opportunities possible!

Rewarding and fun volunteer opportunities are coming up at the Athletics Regional Qualifier in Langley on June 11 and 12! Experience is not required – just dedication to hosting a great competition experience for athletes from around the province. Please contact Shawn Fevens by email or by phone at / toll-free.

>> More info

B.C.’s New Car Dealers steer strong support for Special Olympics

New Car Dealers Association of B.C.

B.C.’s New Car Dealers have been helping Special Olympics BC change lives through the power of sport for 32 years. The 2016 New Car Dealers Foundation of BC / Special Olympics Auction raised $187,000, bringing the three-decade total to just under $4.6 million in support of SOBC and the work of the New Car Dealers Foundation.

The auction is an annual online fundraising event open to the New Car Dealers Association of BC membership and their families, partners, suppliers and sponsors, Special Olympics BC partners, suppliers and sponsors, and donors to the auction.

This year saw donors generously give the greatest number of items yet, with 281 sought-after prizes in the following categories: Automotive and Business, Food and Wine, Lifestyle, Media, and Sport and Travel. The 2016 auction also experienced growth in the important cash pledges from New Car Dealers as well as related businesses and supporters, as this year’s cash pledges were greater than in 2015.

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Horizon-expanding opportunities with SOBC youth programs

When Sandra Hamel first registered her daughter Esme for Special Olympics BC – Nanaimo’s Active Start program, she thought it might be a fun thing to do. Very quickly Esme showed that participating in Special Olympics youth programs definitely is fun, but it’s also full of exciting benefits that develop through the fun activities and warm environment.

Throughout her first weeks in her local Active Start program, 2½-year-old Esme consistently exceeded expectations. “The program challenges her, but in a really good way,” her mother said. “We’ve seen a lot of benefits that we didn’t anticipate, and we love seeing her grow so much. … I’m always so excited at the end of the night because I do see something new every night.”

SOBC also actively works with schools to connect with their youth with intellectual disabilities and let them know about all the opportunities open to them with Special Olympics, including traditional and Sport Start programs.

An exciting example of effective try-it days is growing on the Island with Nanaimo and Campbell River schools helping their students engage with Special Olympics. In spring 2015, the Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools District 68 staff teamed up with SOBC to host a series of four try-it days where students from all seven high schools had opportunities to sample a wide range of sports offered by SOBC – Nanaimo, as well as a Club Fit and healthy living station.

>> Read more

Thanks to all the kids, families, and volunteers involved in the fun and empowering SOBC Youth Sports Day in Burnaby on May 14 (pictured above right)!

Breaking down barriers with motionball’s Marathon of Sport

Michael Blondé and Mike McClenahan both got hooked by the fun, inclusive, high-energy atmosphere at motionball Marathon of Sport events. Now Co-Directors of the Marathon of Sport Vancouver, they have been instrumental in growing the event, building participation within their respective companies, and raising funds for Special Olympics.

At Marathon of Sport events, young professionals compete alongside local Special Olympics athletes in a variety of exciting sports, such as basketball, soccer, and beach volleyball. Teams have a lot of fun, create meaningful friendships, and raise funds to support the Special Olympics Canada Foundation and Special Olympics programs across the country.

“It is like the Olympics meets summer camp meets a fun get-together with friends,” Blondé said.

This year, the Marathon of Sport Vancouver will take place on June 4 at the EA Sports complex in Burnaby, and the Marathon of Sport Kelowna presented by Interior Savings Credit Union will be held on June 11 at City Park.

Click here to learn more and support participants.

>> Read more

Special Olympics athletes, coach earn Richmond Sports Awards

Special Olympics athletes Magnus Batara and teammates

Big congrats to Special Olympics BC – Richmond athletes Magnus Batara and Nicky Chow and coach Meghan Jamieson, celebrated by their community as winners in the 17th annual Richmond Sports Awards!

Batara (pictured at right with Team Canada 2015 teammates) earned the inaugural Richmond News Sportsperson of the Year Award after his outstanding performance at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, while Chow won the 2016 Richmond Sports Awards Special Olympics Athlete prize in recognition of his impressive achievements in speed skating, as well as his accomplishments and strong improvement in basketball and soccer. Jamieson, a dedicated SOBC – Richmond coach who is also a nominee for this year’s SOBC Grassroots Coach Award, won the Richmond Sports Award for outstanding achievement by an Adult Female Athlete due to her excellence in judo.

>> Read more

Functional testing furthers athlete and coach development

Special Olympics BC is striving to help athletes improve their health to benefit them in their sports and throughout their lives. One of the techniques that has been introduced to assist is functional testing.

Functional testing involves exercises that measure fitness and foundational movements, which are used to test an athlete’s fitness level and motivate and guide training. Functional testing is important as it provides feedback to coaches regarding the program’s effectiveness and shows the personal progress of each athlete.

SOBC first introduced functional testing as part of the Performance Program, and subsequently began including in provincial team training and hosting standalone functional testing sessions around the province so that all athletes and coaches can use these techniques to help improve and track their performance.

Functional testing sessions will take place in Prince George on May 28, Chilliwack on May 29, Victoria on June 4, Kelowna on June 5, Castlegar on June 18, and Cranbrook on June 19.

To reserve your spot, please contact Morgan Hunter by email or phone at / toll-free.

>> Read more

Torch Run traditions raising funds for SOBC

Law Enforcement Torch Run Free the Fuzz Victoria

Greater Victoria law enforcement celebrated the success of their Free the Fuzz roof sit, a Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraiser for Special Olympics BC. Big thanks to members of the Oak Bay, Saanich, and Victoria police departments and the Central Saanich Police Service for raising more than $6,000 for SOBC at this annual event! We’re so grateful to everyone who supported the festivities and fundraising, including SOBC – Victoria athletes and volunteers.

On June 11, join the 26th annual Abbotsford Police Challenge Run supporting Special Olympics BC! Everyone is welcome to participate in the 10km Challenge or 5km Fun Run. Lace up your trainers and earn a participation medal, and get a chance to win a top fundraising award with your school or company team. More info

>> BC LETR events page

SOBC athletes hit the links with Golf Canada

Special Olympics golfers at Golf Canada event

Golf Canada gave Special Olympics BC athletes and coaches the opportunity to showcase their abilities and hone skills at the CN Future Links Pacific Championship in Kamloops on May 11.

Twenty-five golfers from SOBC – 100 Mile House, Kamloops, Kelowna, Quesnel, Surrey, Trail, and Victoria opened the day with a nine-hole competition, followed by a clinic for the athletes and SOBC coaches with a PGA of Canada professional to cover key lessons from the day.

The top-scoring female golfer was SOBC – Victoria’s Kelsey Simpson, and the top-scoring male golfer was Ryan Courtemanche of SOBC – Kelowna. Golf is one of SOBC’s fastest-growing sports, and the support from Golf Canada provides great opportunities to help build the game.

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Knights of Columbus making a difference with Special Olympics

The Knights of Columbus are a valued Special Olympics International partner and we are grateful for their support here in British Columbia.

The Knights of Columbus Campaign for People with Intellectual Disabilities has existed since 1970, with many states and provinces participating in the U.S. and Canada in support of those with intellectual disabilities. Knights of Columbus members from B.C. and the Yukon give away Tootsie Rolls and collect donations as part of their efforts to support people with intellectual disabilities.

We also appreciate the opportunity the BC/Yukon Knights of Columbus gave us to speak about Special Olympics BC’s life-changing programs at the recent 105th annual B.C. and Yukon State Council AGM and Convention in Richmond.

SOBC soccer teams shine at BC Soccer Adult Provincials

Special Olympics BC – Cowichan Valley and Victoria soccer teams had the chance to show their skills as the opening match at the BC Soccer Adult Provincial Championships in Langford on May 14! Watch the viaSport British Columbia live stream recordings:

Part 1: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/86851705
Part 2: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/86852961

Thanks to BC Soccer for the opportunity for SOBC athletes to take centre stage, and thanks to viaSport for the broadcast!

Special Olympics to take centre stage at the 2016 Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif Conference

Matthew Williams and Jessica Chapelski

The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) is excited to announce that Special Olympics athlete Matthew Williams and Special Olympics coach Jessica Chapelski Souza are joining the 2016 Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference as emcees.

With a theme of Innovation and Inclusion, the 2016 conference will challenge sport leaders to embrace diversity as an opportunity to create a more powerful Canadian sport system. “I am thrilled that Matthew and Jessica will be with us in Richmond as conference emcees,” says Lorraine Lafrenière, Chief Executive Officer of the CAC. “Their personal experience as leaders and ambassadors of inclusivity in sport will be invaluable as we encourage our delegation to become a more innovative, diverse, and inclusive sport community.”

The 2016 Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference will take place in Richmond November 3 to 5.

>> Read more from the CAC

Floor hockey athletes share their skills on Yukon trip

Special Olympics BC – Vancouver floor hockey athletes acted as coaches and mentors for their peers in the Yukon during a recent trip to Whitehorse centred around sport development.

Six athletes, floor hockey Head Coach Craig Hikida, and Local Coordinator Arthur Pangilinan, all representing SOBC – Vancouver, made the trip to Whitehorse to help develop the local Special Olympics floor hockey program. During the March 18 to 20 trip, the SOBC – Vancouver athletes helped Hikida and Pangilinan run a two-day skill development camp for the Special Olympics Yukon athletes.

Hikida said he is proud of how the SOBC – Vancouver athletes acted as mentors during the trip.

“They were terrific,” Hikida said. “They were exceptional at knowing what their role was and helping others as best as they could.”

>> Read more