February 2015 Newsletter

2015 SOBC Games speed skating medallist Mark of SOBC - Victoria

Athletes, community support inspire at 2015 SOBC Winter Games

The way Max Nelson sees it, Special Olympics athletes are superheroes.

“When people say special needs, I don’t think of that, I think we have special powers,” the Special Olympics BC – Quesnel snowshoeing athlete said after a day of giving his all racing in the 2015 Special Olympics BC Winter Games.

Nelson’s vision was echoed by the 2015 SOBC Games Organizing Committee, who wanted the 500-plus participating athletes to be recognized and celebrated as the superheroes they are. With superhero-themed Opening and Closing Ceremonies and an outstanding competitive experience throughout, the 2015 Provincial Games in Kamloops and Sun Peaks gave the Special Olympics athletes the empowering experience they deserve.

>> Read more

>> Games results

>> Photos

>> Media coverage

>> Day 1 recap

>> Opening Ceremony recording

Success for skaters at 2015 Canada Winter Games

SOBC athletes and coaches at Canada Games

Fresh off their medal-winning performances in the 2015 Special Olympics BC Winter Games, SOBC figure skaters Stephanie Divin, Matthew Lai, Eric Pahima, and Emily Walzak and dedicated coaches Jessica Chapelski and Martin Newham headed right up to Prince George to compete with Team BC in the 2015 Canada Winter Games! They did SOBC and Team BC proud with their terrific performances. Lai won gold and Pahima silver in the Special Olympics Level 2 Male event, while Divin skated to bronze and Walzak earned fifth place in the Special Olympics Level 2 Female category.

Read about their experience going to the Canada Games in the Prince George Citizen.

When the Canada Games opened on February 13, local SOBC – Prince George athletes Barbie Conway and Marinka VanHage bore the torch in the final leg of the Torch Relay leading to the Opening Ceremony! SOBC – Prince George athlete Brian Whitfield was the first torchbearer for Canada Games 100 Days to Go Torch Relay back in November.

Spreading the word to end the word with Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Gershon Koffie and SOBC - Mission player Tom Hanna

With the seventh annual Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day coming soon, Special Olympics BC is excited to team up with Vancouver Whitecaps FC to advocate respect, inclusion, and an end to the R-word in front of a crowd of thousands. SOBC is fortunate to be the community match partner at the ‘Caps exciting season opener on March 7 at BC Place, when Whitecaps FC take on Toronto FC in an all-Canadian clash to launch their 2015 campaign.

This exciting match offers an amazing opportunity to raise awareness around the Spread the Word to End the Word day on March 4.

>> Read more

Want to cheer on Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Special Olympics athletes in person? Members of the SOBC community can purchase tickets through a special link to receive ‘Caps tickets at a special price.

Link: Please click here
Promo code: SPECIALOLYMPICS

For groups of 6+ or to inquire about hospitality packages, please contact Emilio Ekuba of Whitecaps FC by e-mail or by phone at 604-484-7865.

Law enforcement runners carry torch for 2015 Provincial Games

On February 19, law enforcement members from across the Interior came together for the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg to help kick off the 2015 Special Olympics BC Winter Games in Kamloops. Participants carried the Flame of Hope into the Opening Ceremony of the Provincial Games, spreading an inspiring message of inclusion and respect. Constable Meagan Grainger of the Kamloops RCMP and SOBC – Kamloops athlete Brian Bourns lit the Games cauldron to signal the start of competition.

Next month the Victoria Police Department and Saanich Police Department will once again face off in their annual Battle of the Badges hockey fundraiser. Don’t miss this exciting showdown as the Saanich Watchdogs vie to reclaim victory over the Victoria Capitals! All funds raised go towards Special Olympics BC.

Date: Tuesday, March 24
Time: 6 p.m.
Place: Archie Browning Sports Centre, 1151 Esquimalt Rd., Esquimalt

Honouring Bill Farley and Sylvia Taylor

Special Olympics BC – Kelowna volunteer Bill Farley

Bill Farley was a remarkable Special Olympics BC – Kelowna coach, volunteer, leader, mentor, and friend. The Special Olympics family had the chance to pay tribute to Farley (pictured at right) and celebrate his incredible impact at the 2015 Sport BC Community Sport Hero Awards ceremony in Kelowna. His award win and February 4 ceremony came just a few weeks after he sadly and unexpectedly passed away due to brain cancer. The well-deserved award offered a chance to honour Farley’s legacy and recognize his remarkable work.

>> Read more

Sincere congratulations to Sylvia Taylor, SOBC – Nanaimo Local Coordinator and member of the SOBC Hall of Fame, for winning the Michael Rhode Memorial Award for her dedication to sport in the Nanaimo community! Read more about Taylor’s extensive contributions to Special Olympics in this article from the 2015 Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards.

New opportunities to give Special Olympics a try

Special Olympics BC youth program participants

New participants are always welcome to get involved in the wonderful world of Special Olympics, and several fun opportunities to give Special Olympics a try are coming soon!

SOBC is teaming up with School District #68 in Nanaimo to host try-it days for their students with intellectual disabilities starting in March.

And children with intellectual disabilities and families can check out SOBC’s fun and welcoming youth programs at the annual SOBC Youth Day at the EA Sports complex in Burnaby when it returns on May 23. Stay tuned to the SOBC calendar of events for more opportunities coming throughout 2015!

Gearing up for the Vancouver International Auto Show

The New Car Dealers Association of BC continues its amazing support of Special Olympics BC at the Auto Show Gala in March, which serves as a launch for the NCDA’s Vancouver International Auto Show extravaganza. 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 at the vehicles and displays. The evening will also feature an athlete speaker spreading the message of Special Olympics.

The 2015 Vancouver International Auto Show, which runs March 24 to 29 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, is the largest consumer show in Western Canada with over 85,000 guests expected. This year the Show is growing by more than 25 per cent to include ballrooms, stunning views, and one of the best entrances of any Show around the world. Bring your family and check out special displays on car culture, Hollywood North, and hot rods!

Hit the road for SOBC in the Scotiabank run

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k participants in 2014

Get ready to lace up for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k on Sunday, June 28, in support of Special Olympics BC! We have a limited number of free entry places for runners who pledge to raise a minimum of $100 for SOBC in the half-marathon or five-kilometre run/walk.

Please contact Charlotte Taylor by e-mail or by phone at 604-737-3059 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free for details on how to register for free. For more event information, please visit vancouverhalf.com.

SOBC Locals get big boost from Westminster Savings

A $10,000 grant from Westminster Savings‘ charitable foundation means critical support for Special Olympics BC Locals in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Langley, and Ridge Meadows. The funds will help Locals invest in new equipment, uniforms, coach training, and access to competition for athletes, allowing Locals to increase overall participation.

The grant is part of Westminster Savings’ community investment program, Project Better Balance, which provides access to arts and active living opportunities in the communities the credit union serves.

>> Read more

Pictured above: Westminster Savings representatives Shelley Lin, Neil Sorensen, and Jodi Garwood attended a basketball tournament in Coquitlam on February 15 to mix it up with SOBC athletes.

SOBC staff update

We are excited to welcome Charlene Flood to the SOBC team! Charlene is the new Manager, Community Development, for Regions 7 and 8. She has a diploma in Classroom and Community Support, and a degree in Community Rehabilitation and Disabilities from the University of Calgary. Charlene played field hockey for many years and recently reached her goal of running a marathon. She has lived in Prince George for the last two years. With her education, love of sport, and appreciation for all the wonderful volunteers that keep Special Olympics running, Charlene is an excellent match for this position.