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August 2015 Newsletter

Special Olympics Team Canada’s Margaret Burnell, Chad Conlon, and Lynden Hicks of SOBC – Penticton and Ben Willms of SOBC – Kelowna celebrate their bronze medal won in team play at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. They and teammate Kevin Ellis of SOBC – Penticton (right) were SO Canada’s first-ever bocce team.

Awesome B.C. athletes deliver outstanding achievements with Special Olympics Team Canada

Special Olympics Team Canada returned home from the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games on August 3 laden with hardware, having earned 144 medals and achieved many goals and personal-best performances.

“There is no better word to describe Team Canada’s performance at the World Games than awesome. We shattered expectations, set a new standard for National Team excellence and represented our country with great class,” said Johnny Byrne, Team Canada Chef de Mission. “I could not be more proud of our athletes and coaches and how they performed on and off the playing field. We return home knowing that we achieved our goals and honoured our great country.”

>> Read more

Celebrating the power of sport with the 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 in its 17th year, this popular gala has raised more than $3.6 million in support of Special Olympics BC and the Canucks for Kids Fund.

Set to be held on October 20 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, the 2015 SCF will offer opportunities to meet and mingle with Special Olympics BC athletes and local sports heroes including the entire Vancouver Canucks roster.

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.

This year the SCF is introducing a new logo (pictured at right) and is welcoming SOBC – Kamloops athlete Dallas Gilchrist and Vancouver Canucks forward Chris Higgins as the evening’s featured speakers!

Ways to get involved with this moving and inspirational evening:

  • Please click here to donate to the live and silent auctions;
  • Please click here to view all sponsorship opportunities;
  • To reserve a table, please contact Christina Hadley by email or by phone at 604-737-3073.

Strong performances by SOBC athletes at Western Canada Summer Games

SOBC athlete Jesse Shade as Team BC flagbearer at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games

Congratulations to the eight Special Olympics BC athletes who competed in the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games and did everyone proud! April Armstrong, Daniel Batson, Abigale Calvert, and Michael Savage shone in athletics, and David Dunn, Paige Norton, Jesse Shade, and Kayla Willms delivered strong races in the pool.

Shade and Savage had standout performances, striking gold in all of their events; Shade swam to five gold medals in his 50- and 100-metre races, and Savage earned three in his sprint races and long jump. Shade was named Team BC flagbearer (pictured at right) in recognition of his outstanding achievements and team leadership. Check out the full results by clicking the athletes’ names above.

Congrats to all eight awesome athletes, and thanks to the terrific SOBC coaches who helped them shine: athletics coaches Deborah Carter and Tom Norton and aquatics coaches Brianna Kowalski and Aaron Leontowich!

Photo by Kevin Bogetti-Smith courtesy of Team BC

Champions Start at Home with JYSK

From September 1 to 30, JYSK Canada will be showing their inspiring support for Special Olympics with their 11th annual fundraising campaign.

JYSK’s Champions Start at Home campaign, which runs in 54 stores and seven provinces, generates valuable funding for Special Olympics athletes and programs Canada-wide.

For the first time this year, Special Olympics athletes and volunteers across the country will be visiting local JYSK stores on the same two days, September 25 and 26, to greet customers, get to know staff, spend time with fans, and raise awareness. In B.C. customers will have the chance to participate in the campaign at nine JYSK stores across the province.

Next SOBC Healthy Athletes Screening Day coming to Nanaimo

Healthy Athletes Screening Day Vancouver 2015

Mark your calendars: Special Olympics BC’s next Healthy Athletes Screening Day will be held in Nanaimo on October 25, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Nanaimo District Secondary School! Please click here to find full details.

Open to all individuals with intellectual disabilities, this is a fun, free day with lots of giveaways, education, and free screenings in the area of Fit Feet (podiatry), Special Smiles (dentistry), Healthy Hearing (audiology), Opening Eyes (optometry), Health Promotion, and Fun Fitness (Physiotherapy). Come out to learn more about your health and get amazing resources and tools to help keep you healthy and active.

>> Learn more about Healthy Athletes

Team BC 2016 tuning up winter sport skills in summertime

It’s not easy to think about winter sports during the warm summer months, but the dedicated members of Special Olympics Team BC 2016 have their heads in the game this summer as they get set to compete at the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, next March.

In early July, the members of one of the three Team BC 2016 floor hockey teams came together in beautiful Grand Forks to kickstart their team bonding and training. This Team BC Kootenays team is comprised of members from Grand Forks, Creston, and Burnaby, and they gathered with great enthusiasm to begin their chase for national gold in Newfoundland.

>> Read more

On August 22 and 23, Team BC 2016 figure skaters brought their winning work ethic to an intensive training camp in Burnaby, honing their conditioning and performance techniques with experts.

Park’N Fly Vancouver enthusiastic about helping Special Olympics athletes soar

Park'N Fly logo

Park’N Fly Vancouver has a long history of providing cost-effective and well-supported parking for Vancouver International Airport passengers; for many years they have also given generously to help Special Olympics athletes thrive.

Park’N Fly Vancouver has supported Special Olympics BC by donating auction items for key fundraising events, and providing parking for staff and key volunteers when travelling for SOBC. They also stepped up to help with transportation for VIPs at the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games in Vancouver, and they make a point of hiring Special Olympics athletes and people with disabilities.

>> Read more and check out details on a special discount offer for members of the Special Olympics BC community

SOBC YAC member inspired by global social impact summit

Special Olympics GenUin Social Impact Summit Action

When 120 youth leaders from all over the globe came together in Los Angeles for the Special Olympics GenUin Social Impact Summit at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, one of the inspiring young participants was Fort St. John’s Ashley Roblin.

Roblin, a member of the Special Olympics BC Youth Activation Council and SOBC – Fort St. John volunteer, submitted a proposal for this global conference being held alongside the World Games in L.A., and was selected to participate in this empowering event held July 23 to 28.

>> Read more

Bocce and golf camps among great new Performance Program opportunities

Dedicated athletes and coaches have been busy in 2015 at Special Olympics BC Performance Program camps where they have had the chance to elevate training and competition techniques.

New opportunities have included SOBC’s first-ever bocce and golf camps, new dryland practices for cross-country skiing, a team sports camp, and a mixed winter and summer sports camp.

>> Read more

Canadian Progress Club hits a home run for SOBC

The Canadian Progress Club 20th Annual Slo-Pitch Tournament was a big hit on July 18 and 19, raising $10,000 for Special Olympics BC! A big thank you to the Canadian Progress Club of Greater Vancouver and to all the ballplayers, volunteers, and supporters. There was plenty of ball action, tasty barbecue, good sportsmanship, and fun in the sun.

Pictured at right: Player Glen Hadley received an award for his longtime support, as he has participated in the tournament every year since it began.

B.C. law enforcement runners find inspiration in World Games Final Leg

This summer BC Law Enforcement Torch Run Provincial Director Rick Lucy and Staff Sergeant Joanne Wild of the Vancouver Police Department (Wild pictured at right) had the honour of joining an international team of law enforcement runners and Special Olympics athletes on the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg that kicked off the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Lucy and Wild helped bear the Flame of Hope through communities in California from July 13 to 25, spreading the Special Olympics message of inclusion. The Final Leg culminated in the time-honoured tradition of lighting the cauldron at the World Games Opening Ceremony.

>> Read more

Coaches Week goes national

SOBC - Kelowna softball coach Lorena Mead in action with Team Canada

We can’t wait to celebrate Special Olympics BC coaches in National Coaches Week September 19 to 25! This is the Year of Sport in Canada, and for the first time, Coaches Week will be a national celebration.

Check out the ViaSport Coaches Week website to get a sense of the fun and opportunities in store to recognize and support amazing coaches. Coaches Week will feature numerous free courses being offered across the province, recognition events, contests, and a celebration of the work done by coaches across all regions of British Columbia.

SOBC athletes, we’re asking for your help to celebrate Coaches Week and recognize the dedicated coaches who make your programs possible! Once again this year, we will be holding a contest where athletes are invited to share a story during Coaches Week about what makes your coach so special to you. Up for grabs is the opportunity to win an SOBC prize pack – one for you and one for your coach! Check out last year’s inspiring entries and watch the SOBC website and Facebook and Twitter accounts for the link for this year’s contest entries. The contest will open on September 19 so get your favourite coach stories ready!

Donate your vehicle to SOBC

Supporters of Special Olympics BC now have a brand-new way of getting behind our cause: donating a vehicle!

Donating your car to support SOBC is a convenient and generous way to pass along or dispose of a vehicle. Working on our behalf, Donate a Car takes care of the entire donation process from pick up to the final sale.

Your donation will help support the life-changing sport programs SOBC offers year-round to people with intellectual disabilities in 57 communities throughout the province.

>> Donate now

Staff update

Special Olympics BC is excited to welcome two new faces and role changes in the Sport team. In September, we will be joined by two new Managers, Community Development: Reanne Holden for Region 2, based out of Kelowna, and Sarah Wall for Regions 3, 4, and 5, based out of the SOBC provincial office in Burnaby.

Reanne, who is set to start September 21, comes with Special Olympics experience as she coached and founded a program in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, while she was a varsity basketball athlete at the University of Waterloo. Reanne was an award-winning student athlete noted for her academic strength. Sarah, who starts September 1, also has a strong background in sport. She completed a Bachelor of Arts Health Science and Kinesiology degree at SFU and won five medals in flatwater canoeing at the Canada Games in 2005. She also has her NCCP Olympics Lifting Club coach certification and has worked with individuals with a physical disability introducing exercise and stretching into their routine.

Among current staff, Leslie Thornley is moving into the role of Manager, Sport, focusing on coach and youth development, while Manager, Sport, Shawn Fevens is now responsible for competition and sport development.

We recently bid a fond farewell to Cari Henri, who has moved on to a great role with the WBSC XV Women’s World Softball Championship after a decade of dedication with SOBC, and to Rachel Borer, who is moving back east to new opportunities closer to her family after four years of passionate work with SOBC.