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June 2016 Newsletter

Ribbon recipient Bill at the Athletics Regional Qualifier in Langley

Celebrating SOBC’s 2016 award winners

SOBC Spirit of Sport Award winner Simone Myers and friends

We are thrilled to congratulate this year’s recipients of Special Olympics BC’s five annual provincial awards! Please join us in celebrating these deserving winners:

Congrats also go out to Team BC 2016 snowshoer Katie Little, who has been recognized by the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame as one of their 2015 Wall of Fame inductees! Read more

Goldcorp Invitational creates meaningful support for SOBC

Goldcorp President David Garofalo and Special Olympics BC athlete Michaela

Goldcorp is firmly rooted in the communities in which they operate, and they are driven by the vision of “Together, Creating Sustainable Value.” The 2016 Goldcorp Invitational Golf Tournament on June 21 marked their 10th year as lead sponsor of this significant fundraising event to support Special Olympics BC, and Goldcorp President & CEO David Garofalo reminded the 250 tournament participants what a difference they make with their generous sponsorship and donations.

“What you’re doing today is very meaningful,” said Garofalo (pictured at right with SOBC – Surrey athlete Michaela Robinson). “It’ll perpetuate the good things that Special Olympics BC does here in the province and in the community. I’m honoured to be involved today.”

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We are truly grateful to the generous sponsors who support Special Olympics through the Goldcorp Invitational:

Hugs and high fives at Regional Qualifiers

Special Olympics BC - Kelowna rhythmic gymnast Holly Womacks

The first Rhythmic Gymnastics Regional Qualifier held in Kelowna was an emotional experience for Special Olympics BC – Kelowna coach Kailey Owens.

Owens, the Head Coach of SOBC – Kelowna’s rhythmic gymnastics team, said athletes from her Local did an amazing job at the qualifier on May 14, and exceeded all of her expectations. She said the athletes were so proud of themselves each time they finished a routine that it brought her, along with some fellow coaches and parents, to tears.

The 2016 season of summer-sport Regional Qualifiers is seeing many SOBC athletes impress with their skills, determination, and camaraderie, as they compete to qualify for the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games. During these exciting competitions, SOBC athletes have achieved personal bests, made new friends, and celebrated many meaningful milestones.

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Law Enforcement Torch Run sets the pace with SOBC athletes

Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics BC

The Lower Mainland’s law enforcement finest came together with Special Olympics BC athletes from May 31 to June 3 as the Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOBC swept through communities from Mission to the North Shore, raising vital funds and awareness.

Around 330 law enforcement members from a range of agencies and 45 Special Olympics athletes took part in the annual four-day run for SOBC.

“We had tremendous support in every community and a great turnout from law enforcement,” said Vancouver Police Department Inspector Joanne Wild, a Torch Run organizer. “Special Olympics athletes from the local programs ran with us or cheered us on. It was an amazing experience for all of us!

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The June Torch Run events in Victoria and Nanaimo were a huge success as well! Stay tuned for the recap to come next month and check out the CHEK News coverage of the Nanaimo run.

Big thanks to our LETR friends for other fantastic fundraisers for Special Olympics BC this month, including the Metro Vancouver Transit Police Golf Tournament and the Abbotsford Police Challenge Run, which brought together many fans, families, and friends to raise vital funds for SOBC.

Fun and friendship at SOBC’s Youth Sports Day

Special Olympics BC Youth Sports Day

Isaac Loponen had an enormous smile on his face as he enjoyed the beautiful weather at Special Olympics BC’s 2016 Youth Sports Day in Burnaby. Though Isaac is currently too young to take part in all of the activities on offer, he had a blast amid the event’s energetic atmosphere, spending time with his adoring parents and making new friends.

The May 14 event saw more than 40 children enjoy in an amazing day of sports and smiles at Burnaby North Secondary School. At this annual event, families like Isaac’s who are new to Special Olympics are able to experience the fun and engaging activities that are a regular part of SOBC’s youth programming. Youth Sports Day also gives current SOBC athletes a chance to participate in a great day of activities with friends.

Isaac attended Youth Sports Day with his parents Jason and Pamela Loponen. They came to learn more about Special Olympics as they plan to enrol Isaac in the Active Start program when he turns two years old.

“He really loves to go out and do stuff, so we think Special Olympics would be great for him. He loves to move and to see other kids. He is a very happy boy,” Pamela Loponen said.

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Welcoming Tim Hortons as an SOC Platinum National Partner

Tim Hortons logo

Special Olympics Canada is pleased to announce Tim Hortons as its newest Platinum National Partner, proudly joining 25 other partners of the Special Olympics Movement in Canada.

“We’re thrilled that Tim Hortons has signed as a Platinum National Partner with Special Olympics Canada,” says Sharon Bollenbach, CEO, Special Olympics Canada. “It is an honour to have such an iconic Canadian brand supporting the movement. Tim Hortons’ support will help provide greater resources for Special Olympics in communities across the country so more athletes and families can benefit from the transformative power of sport. I am delighted to officially welcome Tim Hortons to the Special Olympics family.”

Tim Hortons’ support will directly benefit Special Olympics Canada’s child and youth programs, Active Start and FUNdamentals; in addition, Tim Hortons will serve as an official sponsor of Special Olympics Team Canada as the team begins their journey to the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria in March. Tim Hortons will also provide support to the 12 Special Olympics Provincial and Territorial Chapters across the country and for the 2018 National Summer Games taking place in Nova Scotia.

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Cheer on SOBC athletes in Abbotsford 2016 BC Summer Games

Special Olympics athlete Michael Savage will compete in the BC Games

The 30th BC Summer Games are coming to Abbotsford July 21 to 24! Special Olympics BC athletics and swimming athletes will showcase their skills as they compete in Special Olympics divisions alongside more than 3,200 young athletes, coaches, and officials from around the province.

Please click here to meet the 39 SOBC athletes who are ready to race in the 2016 BC Summer Games!

The BC Summer Games provides a competitive multi-sport environment that supports the development of athletes, coaches, and officials as they move on to higher levels of competition. These BC Games are distinct from Special Olympics BC Games, which are our Provincial Games hosted by SOBC solely for SOBC athletes. SOBC athletes have been participating in the generic BC Games for 12 years.

“The BC Games are always an exciting opportunity for athletes and coaches to compete and learn. Our athletes get a lot out of competing and being part of the BC Games environment, and they put on a great demonstration of their skills as they participate alongside the mainstream athletes,” says Shawn Fevens, SOBC Manager, Sport.

Inspiring sportsmanship, successful fundraising with motionball Marathon of Sport

Marathon of Sport Kelowna teams

The 2016 motionball Marathon of Sport events in B.C. hit new heights in their support of Special Olympics, as these inclusive and inspiring days of sport and sportsmanship in Vancouver and Kelowna set new fundraising records and the teams of young professionals joined forces with SOBC athletes for a tidal wave of high fives and fun.

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SOBC in the spotlight at Luke Willson 12 North Sports Classic

SOBC athlete Chelsea Kaake and Seattle Seahawks Luke Willson

Special Olympics BC was very grateful to be a beneficiary of the inaugural Luke Willson 12 North Sports Classic, a multi-sport extravaganza held in Tsawwassen, Vancouver, Burnaby, and Haida Gwaii June 24 to 29! Please click here to learn more about this exciting new event and its youth football camp, celeb flag football game, golf classic, fantasy football draft, and fishing tournament.

SOBC athletes Chelsea Kaake (pictured at right with Willson), Alexander Pang, and Annabelle Davis impressed the many participants and celebrities involved in the events with their speaking skills and sport accomplishments!

Upcoming opportunities for SOBC coaches

National Coaches Week Sept 17-25 2016

While many minds are turning to summer, we’re looking forward to the great opportunities for Special Olympics BC coaches coming up this fall!

The second National Coaches Week is set for September 17 to 25, 2016. This week is a great time to thank our wonderful coaches and celebrate the tremendous positive impact they have on their athletes and communities. It will also be full of free courses for coach development. SOBC will share information about these events as soon as we receive it, and we encourage interested coaches to register as soon as possible and stay tuned to the Coaching Association of Canada and viaSport British Columbia for news as well, because spots will fill up fast.

More development opportunities will be provided in the SOBC Coaching Summit, which is set to return this October. We’re grateful to the Local Executive Committee members who have been selecting coaches to attend. Read about the last Provincial Coaching Summit in 2014

Leslie Thornley, SOBC Manager, Sport, Coach & Youth Development, is busily planning the next NCCP courses to be held this fall – watch for dates and details to be posted on SOBC’s website calendar, Facebook, and Twitter!

And there is always a wealth of coaching resources to be found on the SOBC website. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have feedback or ideas.

Athlete leaders helping enhance health education

SOBC athlete Marinka VanHage advocating Sun Safety

With the support of a Healthy Communities grant, the Golisano Foundation, and our ongoing Provincial Partners, Special Olympics BC is continuing to expand our health programming. One component of this is new Health Heroes training for athletes who wish to equip themselves to help educate their peers about best practices for healthy living. This will create a wider network of health advocates helping address the ongoing health issues faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities.

The April 2016 Athlete Leadership courses saw 27 participants in the Athlete Speakers Bureau 2 and Governance courses complete training to become certified Sun Safety Health Heroes. SOBC – Prince George athlete Marinka VanHage then took her tools and knowledge to the Soccer Regional Qualifier for Region 8 hosted by SOBC – Quesnel, where she shared sun safety advice as well as tools from SOBC such as bracelets that change colour in the sun, reminding about exposure, and chapstick to help prevent sunburned lips.

Also as part of SOBC’s Healthy Community initiatives, we are piloting a Fit Families & Friends program in Prince George this summer. Two thumbs up to all the participants in the program kicking off tonight (June 29)!

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B.C.’s Mandy Manzardo and Sheri Lucas joining 2017 World Games LETR Final Leg team

Special Olympics athlete Mandy Manzardo in the 2015 BC Law Enforcement Torch Run

Special Olympics BC – Coquitlam athlete Mandy Manzardo and Constable Sheri Lucas of the Oak Bay Police Department will join an international team of runners in Austria who will carry the Flame of Hope through communities and into the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Manzardo is one of 10 Special Olympics athletes and Constable Lucas is one of 123 law enforcement members chosen from around the world to serve as Guardians of the Flame in the 2017 Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg.

“When I got off the phone after they told me, I couldn’t stop screaming ‘Austria!’” Manzardo said.

The 2017 LETR Final Leg will take place from March 9 to 18, 2017, beginning in Bregenz, Austria, and embarking on two different routes, running the Flame of Hope through 45 cities, towns, and communities.

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Volunteers share stories and create connections at Region 1 and 2 Conference

More than 40 dedicated Region 1 and 2 volunteers came together to share ideas and learn from knowledgeable and passionate speakers at their Special Olympics BC Regional Conference.

Held at the beautiful Pines Bible Camp in Grand Forks from April 30 to May 1, the fun and informative conference presented coaches and executive volunteers from the two regions with a rare opportunity to get together to discuss their experiences, ask each other questions, and share successful strategies.

“It was amazing to see so many people connect,” Region 2 Coordinator Sheila Paynter said. “Personally, that was what I got out of the conference. I had met many of the people attending before, and this time I got to know them a bit better and understand some of the challenges they are facing.”

The next Regional Conference will be the Region 7 and 8 Conference from September 30 to October 2 at Ness Lake Bible Camp in Prince George. For more information, please contact your Regional Coordinator or Charlene Flood, Manager, Community Development, North and Central Interior.

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Special Olympics International invitations

Special Olympics International is inviting community members to help celebrate our movement in two upcoming opportunities!

Special Olympics and the upcoming Olympics
With the Rio Olympics just around the corner, we want to hear from athletes. We know Special Olympics athletes are training and practicing in their sports all summer long. So it would be amazing to know: Which Olympic athlete inspires you in your training? And why?

We are looking for one or two quick sentences, and are especially interested in the following five sports: athletics, basketball, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, and swimming. Most importantly, we’d love athletes to also send a photo, especially a photo that shows them participating in competition.

These will be posted on the SOI website and social media ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. Please send your photos and 1-2 line descriptions to megan@specialolympics.bc.ca by July 11.

Your Program may receive inquiries from media or the public, wishing to know how Special Olympics connects to the Olympics and/or Paralympics (we are most often confused with the latter). To that end…a reminder that we have a SO, Olympics and Paralympics comparison chart and a SO, Olympics, Paralympics comparison fact sheet available for your reference and to share with others.

50th anniversary
Special Olympics will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018 and SOI is collecting items for an inspiring exhibit showing what Special Olympics has meant to athletes, families, volunteers and fans over the decades. To do this, Special Olympics needs meaningful items to display: unique mementos that can tell or be accompanied by a compelling story.

To be a part of this Special Olympics history exhibit, please submit a brief description (1-2 sentences about your memento AND its significance) to megan@specialolympics.bc.ca by July 11. If your item is chosen to be part of the 50th anniversary exhibit, Special Olympics International will contact you for more information.

Examples of desired memorabilia include a photo from an event that is especially meaningful to you with an explanation why, a unique ticket stub/program/poster from a World or Regional Games, a letter or journal entry that describes a meaningful moment for you in SO history, a classic pin or medal (with an explanation why this is a cherished item), a vintage item of Special Olympics clothing and why it was special to you, an especially meaningful autographed item (with an explanation why), or a representation of a major first, such as a medal that represents an athlete’s very first success or first trip, a wedding invitation for athletes or volunteers who first met through Special Olympics, or a program from an athlete’s first-ever public speech, etc.

NOTE: Special Olympics does not need the item(s) sent or mailed at this time.

SOBC staff update

Special Olympics BC has an immediate opening for an innovative and enthusiastic Fundraising and Communications Coordinator. Reporting to the Vice President, Fund Development and Communications, the successful candidate will have strong administrative and writing skills.

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