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February 2016 Newsletter

Team BC 2016 alpine skier Jonathan Robins

Cheer on Team BC at the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games

Team BC 2016 speed skater Nicky Chow

The 178 members of Special Olympics Team BC 2016 are set to travel from sea to sea to compete in the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, which are being held in Newfoundland and Labrador for the first time in the 47-year history of Special Olympics Canada Games.

From March 1 to 5, Team BC will go for gold in seven sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating.

In Corner Brook, the team will be joined by a key supporter: Randy Smallwood, President and CEO of Silver Wheaton and a member of the Special Olympics BC Board of Directors, has been named Team BC 2016’s Honorary General Manager. Please click here to read more.

Special Olympics Canada reports that the National Games will be live streamed! Please click here for the host YouTube channel. For a schedule of competitions to be streamed, please check the Corner Brook 2016 and Special Olympics Canada websites and social media accounts.

Follow SOBC’s social media accounts and #SOTeamBC2016 for updates on our team’s exciting achievements!

>> More Team BC info and stories

>> Donate to support Team BC

Get freezin’ for a reason March 5 at the Vancouver Polar Plunge

Vancouver Police Department Chief Palmer with SOBC athletes Kerry and Mathew

It’s not too late to join the fun and fundraising at the first-ever Vancouver Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC on March 5! Everyone is welcome to laugh and splash for the cause in the cold waters at Kitsilano Beach after raising pledges to support SOBC.

Plunge Day festivities will include a costume contest, a Vancouver Police Department bagpiper leading Plungers to the water, and a fly-over by the RCMP’s Air One helicopter, plus plenty of food and giveaways. Sportsnet Central co-host Caroline Cameron will emcee the action, and City Television and OMNI Television are generously supporting the event as Media Sponsors.

The Polar Plunge, which is being staged in partnership with the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run, will see members of the Vancouver, Abbotsford, and West Vancouver police departments and Metro Vancouver Transit Police join the general public in getting bold and cold for the cause. Pictured at right is Vancouver Police Department Chief Constable Adam Palmer with SOBC – Vancouver athletes Kerry McKenzie and Mathew Schmiing.

Join the fun to get Plunge merchandise and the chance to win great prizes!

>> Register now

SOBC figure skaters and basketball players in action at 2016 BC Winter Games

BC Games-bound basketball player Ben Felling

We’re cheering on the Special Olympics athletes competing in the Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games! Running February 25 to 28, the 2016 BC Games include the debut of the Special Olympics figure skating event, and SOBC basketball players are also competing in their own division for just the second time at BC Games. Please click here to meet the Special Olympics basketball teams and here to find the participating figure skaters.

Read more about the figure skating competitors from Victoria and basketball players Adam Irwin-Gunn and Myles Kitson in local media coverage.

>> More info and results

Ending the R-word and showing respect for all

Abbotsford End the Word supporters

The eighth annual Spread the Word to End the Word international awareness day is coming up on March 2, 2016! The campaign asks everyone to end use of the R-word and pledge respect toward all individuals, making the world a more accepting and inclusive place for all, especially those with intellectual disabilities. Take the pledge at r-word.org

In Abbotsford, SOBC – Abbotsford coach and SOBC Youth Activation Council member Roshan Gosal is continuing to lead a highly successful R-word campaign in local schools, which last year inspired nearly 2,000 people to take the pledge to show respect to everyone.

This year Gosal’s campaign is expanding from four to 10 Abbotsford high schools and will be underway during the week of February 29 to March 4. The goal is to obtain 3,000 pledges from individuals to stop using the dehumanizing and hurtful R-word. Please click here to listen to Gosal’s interview with Country 107.1 Radio in Abbotsford.

In Nelson, the the leadership students at LV Rogers Secondary School will be hosting an End the Word campaign on March 2 and 3, advocating respect and raising awareness in their school with TV announcements, pledge booths during lunch hours, and presentations to classes.

>> Read more

Watch Vancouver Giants hockey and support SOBC with the LETR

March 11 will be your chance to enjoy Vancouver Giants hockey and support Special Olympics BC with the Delta Police Department! Enjoy the on-ice action and family fun as the Giants take on the Portland Winterhawks, with $5 from every ticket sold going to SOBC. The Delta Police Department will be teaming up with SOBC athletes to sell 50-50 tickets at this annual Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraiser. Come join the fun!

To buy tickets, please contact Debra McLeod at dmcleod@deltapolice.ca

We’re also looking forward to the other great LETR events coming up this spring, including April’s Cycle for a Cause in Burnaby and Free the Fuzz in Victoria!

>> Find out more

Lower Mainland Healthy Athletes Screening Day coming soon

Healthy Athletes

The sixth annual Healthy Athletes Screening Day in the Lower Mainland is coming soon! Event details are being finalized for March 19 or 20, so please stay tuned to SOBC’s website and social media channels for the announcement of the date and location.

Open to Special Olympics athletes and all individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Lower Mainland, the fun, free event will involve health screenings in a welcoming environment. Participants will come away with lots of great health information and resources as well as plenty of free giveaway items!

Individuals with intellectual disabilities often have unique issues around health care and communicating their needs. The professionals who lead Healthy Athletes screenings have received specific training to help them ask the right questions, and their interactions with Special Olympics athletes lead to referrals back into the health care system that ensure the individuals will get the treatment they need.

>> More Healthy Athletes info

>> Athlete health resources

Basketball players mark big first at Regional Qualifier

Basketball Regional Qualifier Region 6

Athletes competing at the Basketball Regional Qualifier hosted by Special Olympics BC – Campbell River were part of a major milestone for SOBC.

“This was the first Basketball Regional Qualifier to take place on Vancouver Island,” SOBC Region 6 Coordinator Jean Tetarenko said. “As stated to everyone present, they were part of making history for basketball within Region 6.”

The 2016 season of summer-sport Regional Qualifiers has already seen exciting competition in a variety of sports. In addition to the Basketball Regional Qualifier for Region 6, SOBC – Mission and North Shore hosted 5-Pin Bowling Regional Qualifiers for Regions 3 and 5, respectively; SOBC – North Shore and Prince George hosted 10-Pin Bowling Regional Qualifiers for Regions 5 and 8; and SOBC – Vancouver hosted the Swimming Regional Qualifier for Region 5.

>> Read more

>> Full list of Regional Qualifiers

New Car Dealers driving support for Special Olympics

New Car Dealers Association of BC logo

The New Car Dealers Association of BC represents more than 365 New Car Dealers throughout the province, who generate close to $11 billion in economic activity, pump $1.9 billion net GDP directly into B.C.’s economy, and employ more than 36,000 people in B.C.

New Car Dealers have been staunch supporters of Special Olympics athletes and programs throughout the province for 32 years, and they will continue their amazing support of Special Olympics BC at the Auto Show Gala on March 23, which serves as a launch for the NCDA’s Vancouver International Auto Show. Special Olympics athletes will once again have a presence at the highly anticipated Gala, where dealer and associate members, manufacturers, and government and media guests mingle over cocktails while catching a peek of the vehicles and displays. The evening will also feature an athlete speaker spreading the message of Special Olympics.

The 2016 Vancouver International Auto Show is Driving the Momentum. Check it out at the Vancouver Convention Centre March 23 to 27!

>> Learn more

Super snow sports athletes enjoy February competitions

In the first weekend of February, snow sports athletes around the province were in action at the awesome competitions hosted by Special Olympics BC – Trail and SOBC – Prince George! There were many great races in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, and both events involved a range of participants from around the province, including Team BC 2016 athletes tuning up for National Games.

Please click here to find the great Rossland News story and photos from the SOBC – Trail Snow Sports Festival. Photo above right courtesy of SOBC – Trail Local Coordinator Ben Postmus.

Click here to enjoy the CKPG News coverage of the northern races and participating Team BC 2016 athletes.

Walk or run to support Special Olympics at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon 2015 runner Peter De Marchi

Lace up for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k to help Special Olympics BC transform lives through the joy of sport!

SOBC is grateful to be one of the official charities in the successful Scotiabank Charity Challenge. The half-marathon will start at the University of British Columbia and the five-kilometre run will start at Stanley Park. Both races will finish at Stanley Park.

Use the Special Olympics charity code when you register to receive a discounted entry for the event. Run for free if you reach a minimum fundraising level of $150 for the five-kilometre run/walk and $175 for the half-marathon. Please click here to register.

To receive your discounted entry, use charity code 16VSOBC

Should you wish to raise funds for a specific SOBC Local, we can make sure the money you raise goes to the community you would like to support.

If you have any questions, please contact Charlotte Taylor by email or by phone at / toll-free.

2016 award nomination forms available now

2015 winners of the Athletic Achievement Award and Howard Carter Award

Thousands of Special Olympics BC athletes, volunteers and sponsors help to inspire greatness within our organization and within our community. SOBC is proud to recognize the exceptional contributions and achievements of SOBC athletes, volunteers, and sponsors through our five annual awards.

We are grateful for the amazing submissions we annually receive for each award, as they shine a light on the incredible achievements and contributions by athletes and volunteers throughout the province. Locals can nominate the remarkable people in their community for one of the following awards:

  • Athletic Achievement Award
  • Grassroots Coach Award
  • Howard Carter Award
  • President’s Award
  • Spirit of Sport Award

Please click here to find the nomination forms and more information about each award. Please note that those who wish to re-submit their nominees from last year can do so.

All nominations must be received by April 1.

Pictured at right: 2015 Athletic Achievement Award winner Mike Palitti receiving his award from his coach Tom Norton, 2015 Howard Carter Award winner and Special Olympics North America Coach of the Year.

Celebrate Power of Unity with Alex and Ani Special Olympics bangle

Looking for a great way to show off your Special Olympics pride? Check out the Alex and Ani Power of Unity Charm Bangle!

The bangle is available in Rafaelian Silver and Rafaelian Gold and features the Special Olympics symbol on one side, and the Athlete’s Oath on the other. Alex and Ani will donate 20 per cent of the purchase price from each Power of Unity Charm Bangle sold to Special Olympics.

You can purchase the bangles online, or at retail outlets across Canada that currently sell Alex and Ani bangles.

SOBC staff update

Special Olympics BC has an immediate job opening for Coordinator – Performance Program – please click here for details. We are sorry to be saying farewell to Emma Woo, who has taken the Performance Program to new heights but is departing in March for a great opportunity that will further her dream of attending medical school.

This month, SOBC welcomed new Communications Coordinator Michael Obendoerfer. Mike comes with communications experience from internships at the David Suzuki Foundation, the Winnipeg Jets, the Canadian Red Cross, and the Government of Manitoba, and he holds a post-graduate degree in communications from Winnipeg’s Red River College. He has a passion for sports, having played and coached rugby and volleyball and blogged about hockey.

Former Communications Coordinator Eliot James has taken on a partially new portfolio as she has moved to become Fundraising and Communications Coordinator. She is excited to continue designing promotional materials, so Locals are welcome to please continue sending design requests to Eliot and Manager, Communications Megan Grittani-Livingston. She will also be taking on the grants and foundations portfolio and expanding her support for the fundraising team.