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October 2016 Newsletter

Floor hockey at the 2015 SOBC Winter Games

SOBC’s Shelly Poland, Garth Vickers win 2016 Special Olympics Canada National Awards

Special Olympics Canada Female Athlete of the Year Shelly Poland

Special Olympics Canada has announced the 2016 national award winners, and we’re delighted to congratulate all the deserving recipients, including Female Athlete of the Year Shelly Poland of Special Olympics BC – Golden and Male Coach of the Year Garth Vickers of SOBC – Kelowna! Sincere congrats also to former BC Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council member Rick Taylor, winner of the Rob Plunkett LETR Award!

These awards recognize the athletes, coaches, and volunteers who have exemplified the spirit and essence of the Special Olympics movement throughout the year. Award winners will be honoured during SOC’s 2016 National Awards evening on November 17 at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

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Celebrating power of sport with the Sports Celebrities Festival

2006 Sports Celebrities Festival

We’re just under a month away from the Sports Celebrities Festival presented by Silver Wheaton! This inspiring and interactive gala supports the life-changing work of the Canucks for Kids Fund and SOBC.

The 2016 SCF is now sold out! If you are still interested in supporting this unique event, please consider donating an auction item.

At right, enjoy a look back at the twin power of the 2006 SCF where Vancouver Canucks Henrik and Daniel Sedin took the stage with SOBC – Kelowna athletes Glen and Andrew McIntyre! Find more #SCFMemories in the coming weeks on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our sincere thanks to all the sponsors and supporters who make a difference with this special night. Our generous sponsors are:

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Westminster Savings partners with SOBC to change lives through sport

Westminster Savings

Recognizing that many children and families miss out on the multiple benefits available through sport and the arts, Westminster Savings has just announced a set of major partnerships that will provide access to sport and the arts for thousands of families over the next three years. Special Olympics BC is one of three charities that will each receive $75,000 annually from the credit union from 2017 through 2019.

“Westminster Savings is proud to support opportunities for people to enrich and balance their lives,” says Gavin Toy, President and CEO, Westminster Savings, “We know that access to sport and the arts gives individuals the chance to get creative, get active and connect with one another. This in turn benefits our communities, making them healthier, more inclusive places to live.”

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B.C.’s Carol Yakiwchuk wins Golisano Health Leadership Award

Carol Yakiwchuk wins a Golisano Health Leadership Award

North Vancouver’s Carol Yakiwchuk is Canada’s first-ever winner of a Golisano Health Leadership Award, recognizing her dedicated volunteer work with Special Olympics BC to help address the significant health disparities facing individuals with intellectual disabilities.

A dental hygienist and educator with more than 20 years’ experience, Yakiwchuk volunteers with Special Olympics BC’s Healthy Athletes program, serving as one of three provincial Special Smiles Clinical Directors alongside Kelly Blundell and Nancy Vertel. Yakiwchuk received her Golisano Health Leadership Award at SOBC’s Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Burnaby on September 25, where she and fellow volunteer health care professionals were giving their time to offer free health screenings for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

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Special Olympics celebrated on the Hill

SOBC on Parliament Hill

On October 25, athletes, parents, volunteers, and staff from across Canada spent the day sharing the joy of Special Olympics with Members of Parliament and Senators on Parliament Hill.

It was a busy day of more than 130 meetings between Special Olympics representatives and Parliamentarians, sharing stories and how vital Government of Canada funding helps change lives through Special Olympics programs.

Representing Special Olympics BC were athletes Becki Allen of SOBC – Delta and Vincent Li of SOBC – Richmond, along with SOBC – Vancouver Co-Local Coordinator Arthur Pangilinan, Past Chair Pamela Keith, Vice President, Sport, Lois McNary, and President & CEO Dan Howe. The teams attended meetings with many MPs from across B.C., including Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

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Hit the ice with the LETR and the Prince George Cougars

Law Enforcement Torch Run Skate

Sharpen your skating skills and help raise funds for Special Olympics BC at the Law Enforcement Torch Run Skate on November 3! Participants can hit the ice for a fun skate with LETR members, Prince George Cougars players, and SOBC – Prince George athletes. Register and find out more at sobc.kintera.org/torchrun2016

LETR members and SOBC – Prince George athletes will be selling raffle and chuck-a-puck tickets at the Cougars home game on November 2. Get your tickets at the game for another opportunity to support SOBC and the chance to win great prizes!

Healthy Athletes a hit in two fall events

Healthy Athletes Screening Day September 25

Sending our heartfelt thanks to the volunteers, athletes, and supporters who made the Special Olympics BC Healthy Athletes Screening Days in Cranbrook and Burnaby full of great health information, resources, and fun!

The Cranbrook event on October 15 involved more than 75 individuals with intellectual disabilities from throughout the Kootenays receiving free health screenings in a warm and supportive environment that helped draw out issues and share vital information.

The event benefitted from remarkable support from volunteers, particularly the staff of Nish Dental Clinic, Cranbrook Vision Care, and Kimberley Vision Care, along with College of the Rockies dental and nursing students and staff member Deni Marsh, who volunteered their time to provide screenings and help with functional testing. The clinics in particular went above and beyond, providing their office, equipment, and expertise. When weather and transportation challenges threw a wrench in the proceedings for practitioners and equipment travelling sent to Cranbrook, these individuals went well above and beyond the original scope of their roles to make the day a success!

SOBC – Grand Forks coach and parent Debra Mackenzie said participating athletes received “practical literature and hands on information about being healthy,” and the great bonus of free prescription glasses. They experienced had great support from volunteer health professionals who were “friendly and ready with questions for our athletes.” The busy and engaging setting helped minimize anxiety and increase enthusiasm to participate.

At St. Thomas More Collegiate on September 25, the SOBC Healthy Athletes Screening Day offered dental screenings, health promotion tips and tools, and mental training techniques to help individuals with intellectual disabilities. The great day closed with the presentation of Canada’s first Golisano Health Leadership Award to B.C. Special Smiles Co-Clinical Director Carol Yakiwchuk.

Stay tuned for a full recap of these awesome events!

Getting bold and cold with the Polar Plunge

2016 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC

We can’t wait for the 2017 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC coming March 4! Last year’s event was an absolute blast with colourful costumes, freezing water, and brave and enthusiastic participants. Relive the fun and excitement of the 2016 event with this video.

Raise your game with functional testing

SOBC Athletics Performance Camp

Special Olympics BC – Castlegar athlete Liam Donnelly says attending a functional testing session in June inspired him to train harder and take pride in his health.

“I have never felt as strongly attached to my whole fitness as I do now,” he said.

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 Port Alberni and Surrey on November 5 and Victoria and Vancouver on November 6.

To reserve your spot, or to get involved as a volunteer, please contact James Marchand by email or phone at 604-616-1342 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

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CrossFitters conquer CF|24 for Special Olympics

CrossFit 24

A day really made a difference on October 22 as participants stepped up to the CrossFit 24 challenge for Special Olympics.

Working in teams of three to six, CrossFitters across Canada completed one high-intensity workout every hour for 24 hours to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics. In B.C., CrossFit gyms CrossFit North Okanagan, Raincity Athletics, and CrossFit Uncivilized took part in the event, holding an all-night “CrossFit slumber party” for the dedicated teams.

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Support SOBC with new fantasy sports app

FireFan fantasy sports app

Be a part of every big play in your favourite sports league while helping raise funds for Special Olympics BC! The upcoming FireFan fantasy sports app lets fans earn points by making real-time predictions while they watch sports. You can compete for free or join the FireFan League and move up the standings with every accurate prediction you make. The more you play, the more rewards you can earn.

Help support SOBC with your fantasy play by pre-registering for the FireFan app using the code SOBC!

International guests greet SOBC

Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics International visitors

Guests from the Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics International honoured SOBC with a visit in September. We were excited to be joined by Golisano Foundation Director Ann Costello as well as SOI’s Meredith Ciaccia, Senior Manager, Global Development & Government Relations, and Onolee Stephan, Senior Manager, Global Community Health Programs.

The trio toured the SOBC Athletics Performance Camp and Healthy Athletes Screening Day on September 24-25, and Costello presented the Golisano Health Leadership Award to Carol Yakiwchuk. They commented on how impressed they were by the overall commitment of SOBC athletes, coaches, and families to healthy living and elevating their performance.

We are grateful to these international guests for taking the time to visit B.C. and talk with the inspiring people involved with SOBC programs! SOBC is a recipient of a three-year Golisano Foundation Special Olympics Healthy Communities grant to support our year-round inclusive health programming.

Coaches and athletes province-wide dedicated to elevating performance

SOBC Athletics Performance Camp Sept 2016

Special Olympics BC’s Performance Program is a long-term plan with the goal of enhancing the skills and performance of all coaches and through them, all SOBC athletes. At Performance Program camps, participating athletes and coaches learn new training techniques and skills they can share with their local programs, benefiting all athletes.

In addition, tools and resources such as training videos are created at the camps and posted on the SOBC website in the relevant pages in the Resources section, so that all coaches and athletes can access them to help elevate performance.

The 2016-17 sport season will see SOBC athletes and coaches take part in Performance Program camps in all 18 SOBC sports. At September’s Athletics Performance Camp (pictured at right), great development was shown and terrific tools were created by the coaches and athletes from around the province working with sport-specific experts. Upcoming Performance camps include swimming this weekend followed by snow sports and curling in December.

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SOBC golfer posts spectacular score at international competition

SOBC – Kelowna athlete Kyle Grummett at the 2016 Special Olympics North America Golf Championship

Special Olympics BC – Kelowna athlete Kyle Grummett says he is proud of his performance at the 2016 Special Olympics North America Golf Championship. The talented golfer earned a bronze medal at the event held in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and posted an impressive score on the second day of the competition.

“The opportunity was absolutely great!” Grummett said. “It was an awesome experience!”

More than 200 Special Olympics golfers from around the United States and Canada competed in the tournament, which ran from September 29 to October 2. Grummett said he was impressed by the beautiful courses at the PGA Golf Club where the tournament took place, and by the high level of competition at the event.

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Coaches develop skills at SOBC Coaching Summit

2016 SOBC Coaching Summit

More than 50 Special Olympics BC coaches representing almost 40 Locals came together for the SOBC Coaching Summit on October 22 and 23.

Highlights from the weekend included a SportMedBC module on concussion management, veteran SOBC coaches discussing how tools and information at the conference have benefited SOBC athletes, and SOBC Board of Directors member Michael Campbell speaking about SOBC’s mandate of providing top-quality coaching for athletes.

Our sincere thanks to all the participants and presenters who made the event a success!

Northern volunteers build connections at Regional Conference

Regional Conference for Regions 7 and 8

Dedicated Region 7 and 8 volunteers learned how to strengthen their Locals and better serve Special Olympics BC athletes at their SOBC Regional Conference.

Held at École Heather Park Elementary in Prince George from September 30 to October 2, the conference was a great opportunity for volunteers to get together and share ideas.

“The information you receive is amazing,” SOBC – Fort St. John Local Coordinator Kathy Turney said. “To be able to meet in person the people from other Locals and hear how they make their organizations operate is so valuable.”

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Running and fundraising success at GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

It was a beautiful day in Victoria for more than 8,000 runners and walkers who laced up for the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon on October 9. Special Olympics BC was proud to be part of the CHEK Charity Pledge Program for the second year in a row, with fundraising from the event supporting local SOBC programs.

The atmosphere at the event was fantastic, and we were excited to cheer on the SOBC athletes who took part!

Thank you to the runners, walkers, donors, and all the volunteers who helped out at the event!