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April 2016 Newsletter

SOBC athletes show ‘sportsmanship and passion’ at Regional Qualifiers

As 2016’s exciting season of summer-sport Regional Qualifiers continues, Special Olympics BC athletes are setting personal bests, making new friends, and experiencing the thrill of competition.

A number of firsts are being celebrated this season, such as SOBC – Mount Waddington sending athletes to a Regional Qualifier for the first time. SOBC – Mount Waddington swimmers competed at the Swimming Regional Qualifier for Region 6 hosted by SOBC – Comox Valley on April 16 and 17, and they had a fantastic experience.

“The atmosphere was indescribable. Our hearts were so filled with love and happiness from the time we stepped onto the deck,” SOBC – Mount Waddington swimming coach Courtney Cox said.“Watching the sportsmanship and passion between all the athletes and teams was one of the most incredible feelings I have ever felt.”

Pictured above right: SOBC – Salmon Arm and Kamloops athletes competed as a combined team at the SOBC – North Shore March Madness Basketball Tournament.

>> Read more

Healthy Athletes Screening Days provide ‘wonderful’ experiences

The Special Olympics BC Healthy Athletes Screening Day in North Vancouver was a fun and rewarding experience for all involved, with 142 individuals with intellectual disabilities receiving free health screenings in a supportive environment.

The event on March 19 saw 106 dedicated volunteers lead screenings in five disciplines: FUNfitness, Special Smiles, Health Promotion, Opening Eyes, and Healthy Hearing.

>> Read more

Our next Healthy Athletes Screening Day hits Prince George on Sunday! All individuals with intellectual disabilities are invited to participate in the free, fun, and valuable health screenings in three disciplines and pick up healthy giveaways. Please pre-register by contacting Morgan Hunter by email.

Special Olympics Canada and Staples Canada kick off annual fundraising initiative

On May 7, Special Olympics Canada and Staples Canada will kick off the 16th Give a Toonie Share a Dream fundraising and awareness campaign in support of Special Olympics. From May 7 to 29, Staples Canada stores from coast to coast will be 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.

Staples customers can look forward to meeting Special Olympics athletes, coaches, and volunteers at their local stores, and having fun with special events such as barbecues and other fundraising activities. Staples staff members across the province say they find inspiration in Special Olympics athletes; Patty Holland, a Cranbrook Staples Services Manager, said in 2015 that she looked forward to having athletes in the store every day.

“It was the best part of the day for me,” Holland said. “The athletes’ interaction with customers made the biggest difference to donations. It’s a pleasure to have them.”

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

Law enforcement fundraisers in full swing

Law Enforcement Torch Run Cycle for a Cause

We’re thankful for recent Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraisers supporting SOBC! Metro Vancouver Transit Police, Burnaby RCMP, West Vancouver Police Department, and Concord Security Corporation rode hard and raised $3,500 in the Cycle for a Cause at Metropolis at Metrotown, and the Mission RCMP and SOBC – Mission athletes and volunteers raised $1,336 in their first Cycle for a Cause fundraiser.

The Coquitlam RONA, Silver Bullet Shredding, Coquitlam RCMP, and SOBC – Coquitlam volunteers and athletes raised $482 in a shred by donation fundraiser.

Upcoming BC LETR events

April 29 to May 1: Donate to SOBC and help Free the Fuzz as members of the Oak Bay, Saanich, and Victoria police departments and the Central Saanich Police Service camp out on scaffolding for three days to support Special Olympics BC. Come out and join the fun or click here to donate online.

May 19: Hit the links with your friends and family to raise funds for SOBC in the Metro Vancouver Transit Police Golf Tournament in Coquitlam! The $120 registration fee includes a round of golf, power cart, fantastic prizes, and a delicious banquet dinner. To register a team, contact Aimee Quijano at Aimee.Quijano@transitpolice.bc.ca

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. More info

>> LETR events page

SOBC awarded major three-year grant to focus on improved health for local athletes

As people across the globe recognized World Health Day on April 7, Special Olympics British Columbia was beginning expanded health programming for people with intellectual disabilities, a population that requires better access to adequate health care and faces significant health disparities. This new programming is made possible through a $25-million commitment to Special Olympics from the Golisano Foundation. Special Olympics BC’s efforts to improve the health of athletes and their families and increase access to community health resources are working toward the tipping point for inclusive health for people with intellectual disabilities.

Since 1997, the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, also supported by Golisano, has been providing free examinations and education for people with intellectual disabilities across the areas of audiology, dentistry, health promotion, optometry physical exams, physical therapy and podiatry. The award-winning Healthy Athletes program and the more than 135,000 health care professionals trained on the specific health care concerns of people with intellectual disabilities have provided more than 1.6 million free examinations to Special Olympics athletes worldwide in more than 130 countries.

Now, Special Olympics Programs are working toward a focus on year-round inclusive health programming – called Healthy Communities – that takes the tenets of the Healthy Athletes events and includes them into year-round programming opportunities for athletes.

>> Read more

Building skills and sharing perspectives in Athlete Leadership programs

Special Olympics athlete Shayne Blandin at Athlete Leadership

Leadership skills, public-speaking abilities, health advocacy, and dialogue were enhanced as 39 talented athletes from 15 communities participated in Special Olympics BC Athlete Leadership programs in Richmond in the first weekend of April.

Twenty-five athletes built their public-speaking skills in the Athlete Speakers Bureau 1 and 2 courses, supported by mentors from their home communities who will help them in their ongoing opportunities to give speeches and share their stories. These advocates help raise awareness and support for Special Olympics and for individuals with intellectual disabilities, showcasing their great abilities and achievements.

“Because of Special Olympics, I am more fit and healthy than before. I feel included in my community because without Special Olympics, I would have few friends, few opportunities, and few chances to travel and meet new people,” SOBC – Vernon athlete Justin Sigal said in his Athlete Speakers Bureau 1 speech. “I worry that without Special Olympics, three million people [with intellectual disabilities] would be living in their homes gathering dust. Life can be so much more. I love how I am included in the province of British Columbia, and my life is so much richer for it.”

>> Read more

Making a difference at the Goldcorp Invitational Golf Tournament

The 2016 Goldcorp Invitational Golf Tournament in support of Special Olympics BC is returning to Northview Golf & Country Club on June 21! We are very grateful to all the sponsors, volunteers, teams, 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 604-737-3073 / 1-888-854-2276 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:

2016 SOBC award nominations for amazing athletes, coaches, and volunteers

SOBC award nominees

We are thrilled to congratulate the 2016 nominees for Special Olympics BC’s five annual awards! These inspiring athletes, coaches, and volunteers have been nominated by their peers in recognition of their outstanding achievements, spirit, and contributions to Special Olympics.

Please join us in congratulating these 55 deserving nominees!

The winners of the 2016 SOBC awards will be announced over the coming weeks on the SOBC website and social media accounts.

>> List of nominees

Exciting recognition for Special Olympics champions

Frank Hayden and Mandy Manzardo Special Olympics

Congratulations to the deserving members of the Special Olympics family recently celebrated with national and local recognition!

  • SOBC volunteers Jeannie Cramer, Tom Norton, and Margot Tubman are being recognized for their remarkable efforts and impact as they will receive the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers! Read more
  • Dr. Frank Hayden (pictured at right with SOBC – Coquitlam athlete Mandy Manzardo) has been named one of seven Class of 2016 inductees to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as a Builder. His groundbreaking research and transformative work helped build the Special Olympics movement and change lives. Read more
  • The SOBC – Mission soccer team who earned a fourth-place finish at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games was honoured by their community as the winner of the District of Mission’s 2016 Against the Odds Achievement Award! Read more
  • Longtime SOBC – Kelowna softball coaches Lorena Mead and Dennis Richardson won prestigious community recognition at this week’s City of Kelowna Civic and Community Awards! Read more
  • SOBC – Surrey volunteer and parent Karen Theriault was featured by viaSport British Columbia’s April Women in Sport Spotlight. Read more

One month until the Lower Mainland Torch Run

Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics BC

From May 31 to June 3 the Lower Mainland Law Enforcement Torch Run team will take to the streets, carrying the Flame of Hope in a time-honoured tradition to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics BC. Come out to cheer for this tenacious team and the local law enforcement members and SOBC athletes who will join up to run together in their communities.

The full Torch Run schedule will be posted on our website here.

“We had great turnouts by law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes in each of the communities we visited over the four days,” A/Insp. Joanne Wild of the Vancouver Police Department and Torch Run organizer said of the 2015 run. “Each year since I’ve been involved, the LETR has grown and my only wish is that it continues to do so. With the support of all of the agency members, the great people at Special Olympics BC, and the community involvement, I see my wish coming true.”

Law enforcement members, SOBC athletes, and supporters will lace up for the Victoria Torch Run on June 18 and the Nanaimo Torch Run on June 25. Everybody is welcome to join in the runs.

>> More info

Athletes and coaches develop confidence and skills at Learn to Skate sessions

Athletes who attended Special Olympics BC’s Learn to Skate sessions took a big first step towards potentially joining a SOBC speed skating or figure skating program – and they didn’t even set foot on an ice surface.

Trying speed skating or figure skating for the first time can be an intimidating experience. To try to help more athletes overcome hurdles and join these sports, SOBC has introduced a Learn to Skate program, supported by Special Olympics Canada, that looks to help athletes and coaches build confidence with skating through in-line skating workshops. From there, the program provides participants with opportunities to continue developing their skills, and ultimately join an SOBC-sanctioned speed skating or figure skating program.

The first SOBC Learn to Skate sessions were held in February and March in Vernon, Prince George, and Nelson. The inaugural events were a big success, with 21 athletes receiving world-class instruction from former Olympic speed skater Jacques Thibault and in-line skating expert Dallas Kurtz. SOBC plans on hosting another session this year in Fort St. John.

Pictured above right: Instructors and participants at the Learn to Skate session in Vernon. Photo courtesy of Dennis Richardson.

>> Read more

More functional testing fun coming soon

SOBC functional testing

In late May and June, Special Olympics BC athletes around the province will have the opportunity to attend functional testing sessions to help energize and track their training. Functional testing is used to assess an athlete’s fitness level, and to motivate and guide his or her training. These assessments are important as they provide feedback to coaches regarding a program’s effectiveness and show the personal progress of each athlete.

SOBC will be hosting events in a range of communities around the province, and some have already been booked – stay tuned for dates and details! But other opportunities are available, so athletes and coaches interested in having a functional testing event in their community are invited to contact SOBC’s Morgan Hunter by email or phone at 604-737-3081 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

>> Learn more about functional testing

Thirty years of Dan Howe and SOBC

Special Olympics BC's Ted Hirst, Michael Campbell, and Dan Howe

This year Special Olympics British Columbia is delighted to celebrate 30 years of Dan Howe. Dan, Special Olympics BC’s President & CEO, has been involved with this organization ever since the very first days in B.C., and he has played a huge part in building SOBC into a high-quality, successful, and progressive sport organization, all to benefit athletes.

>> Read more

Fun and inclusive competition at motionball Marathon of Sport

motionball’s fun and inspiring Marathon of Sport fundraising events are coming up this June in B.C.!

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

At Marathon of Sport events, young professionals compete alongside local Special Olympics athletes in a variety of exciting sports. The hallmark of every motionball Marathon of Sport is the remarkable spirit of inclusion and camaraderie shared by the participants. Teams have a lot of fun, create meaningful friendships, and raise funds to support the movement.

Check out this video about motionball and the Marathon of Sport.

>> Learn more and support participants

Volunteers ‘dare to lead’ at Regional Conference

Region 6 volunteers went to camp to develop their skills, create connections, and share inspiring stories at their Special Olympics BC Regional Conference.

The conference, held at Camp Qwanoes on Vancouver Island, saw more than 40 volunteers from eight Locals take part in informative training sessions, attend inspiring presentations, and engage in fun team-building activities, all while enjoying the beautiful oceanside scenery.

Region 6 Coordinator Jean Tetarenko and Manager, Community Development, Michelle Cruickshank planned the conference, which took place from April 1 to 3, around the theme “Dare to Lead.”

“Regional Conferences connect Locals and they connect people,” Tetarenko said. “We don’t always acknowledge that we are all leaders. Conferences like this one give us an opportunity to explore that, to step away from our programs and connect with people who share the same passion for Special Olympics that we do. You learn, you connect, and you have fun in the process.”

Big thanks to all the Region 6 conference participants, and to all the coaches and volunteers taking the time to be part of this weekend’s conference for Regions 1 and 2!

Pictured above right: Region 6 Conference participants at beautiful Camp Qwanoes.

>> Read more

Vancouver volunteers exceed fundraising goals at Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k

Special Olympics BC – Vancouver volunteers showed how teamwork can lead to success at last year’s Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k.

SOBC – Vancouver’s Team Run It, comprised of Richard Wong, Janelle Roger, Jessica Ho, Alice Wang, and Arthur Pangilinan, achieved both fitness and fundraising goals for the event. Along with team members successfully completing the half-marathon and five-kilometre run/walk, the volunteers worked together to raise an impressive $3,170 for SOBC – Vancouver.

SOBC is one of the official charities in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. Participants raising money for SOBC can receive a discounted entry for the event by using the charity code 16VSOBC. You can run for free if you reach a minimum fundraising level of $150 for the five-kilometre run/walk, and $175 for the half-marathon.

Click here to register for the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.

To raise funds for a specific SOBC Local, contact Charlotte Taylor by email or by phone at 604-737-3056 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

>> Read more

Leadership Council update

Special Olympics BC’s Leadership Council provides vital guidance for our organization and movement, and benefits significantly from the efforts of these valued volunteers. We are grateful to welcome Tracy Heartt back into the role of Regional Coordinator for Region 8, and thankful to Sandra Galletti for her years of dedicated service in the position.

>> Read more

SOBC staff update

Special Olympics BC is looking forward to welcoming James Marchand as the new Performance Program Coordinator. James, whose first day with SOBC will be May 16, is a graduate of SFU with a bachelor’s degree in behavioural neuroscience (combination of psychology and kinesiology). He has volunteered and worked for the Canucks Autism Network, where he assisted with swimming, skating, and hockey programs, and he has his personal training and first aid certification. James will be organizing the Performance Program camps and assisting with the functional testing sessions held around the province.