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June/July 2015 Newsletter

SOBC Circle of Inclusion photo

Region 6 athletics and snowshoeing athletes and coaches cheering on Special Olympics Team Canada and the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games with the Circle of Inclusion! 

Congratulations to SOBC award winners!

2015 SOBC Athletic Achievement Award winner Mike Palitti

We are thrilled to announce the winners of four of Special Olympics BC’s annual awards!

Athletic Achievement Award winner Mike Palitti of SOBC – Abbotsford (pictured at right): “Palitti has trained and competed hard to win medals on the track, and after an outstanding performance at the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games in Vancouver, Palitti earned a spot on Special Olympics Team Canada to compete in track and field at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.” Read more

Howard Carter Award winner Tom Norton of SOBC – Abbotsford: “Working with SOBC athletes, Norton translates his experience and knowledge into individual plans and specialized instruction that genuinely empowers the athletes and sees them soar both in their sport achievements and their confidence.” Read more

President’s Award winner Margot Tubman of SOBC – Victoria: “In her five years with SOBC – Victoria, Tubman has had a significant impact through her dedication to her role and by her willingness to step up and assist wherever support is needed to help the Local run smoothly and well.” Read more

Spirit of Sport Award winner Ryan Stewart of SOBC – Richmond: “Stewart has been a Special Olympics athlete for more than 12 years, and has become known for his friendly, cheerful, supportive, and helpful nature and his dedication to Special Olympics.” Read more

Stay tuned for the announcement of the Grassroots Coach Award winner! Congratulations to these outstanding recipients, and to all of the deserving nominees.

Goldcorp Invitational helps change lives with Special Olympics

Held under boundless blue skies at Northview Golf & Country Club, the 2015 Goldcorp Invitational Golf Tournament was a great day of golf with Vancouver’s business elite dedicated to making a real difference with Special Olympics BC.

Pictured at right: SOBC Past Chair Pamela Keith, SOBC Surrey athlete Michaela Robinson, and Goldcorp President & CEO Chuck Jeannes

The Goldcorp Invitational’s 250 golfers met Special Olympics athletes and took part in two simultaneous tournaments on the beautiful Northview courses. In the evening, participants enjoyed the delectable banquet dinner, magical performers, well-stocked silent and live auctions, and an inspiring address from SOBC parent Natasha Mountain and her athlete son Ethan sharing their Special Olympics story.

Ian Telfer, Chairman of the Board and Director of Goldcorp, said the value of supporting Special Olympics is clear.

“It’s a great cause. You all know the stories; you all have friends or relatives in some of these programs. 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,” he told the tournament attendees.

>> Read more

Cheer on Team Canada at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games

Special Olympics Team Canada 2015

Special Olympics Team Canada is set to shine at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, kicking off in Los Angeles in two weeks’ time!

We can’t wait to cheer them on and watch Games coverage on TSN, a longtime Special Olympics Canada partner. TSN will air the World Games Opening Ceremony live on TSN2 at 9 p.m. EST on July 25, and will run nightly recap programs during the Games. In addition, TSN will re-air the show about the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games, featuring several members of Team Canada, on TSN and TSN2 July 23 to 25.

Comprised of 164 members, including 57 athletes and 18 volunteer coaches and mission staff from B.C., Team Canada is excited to showcase their skills on the world stage. The Games, taking place July 25 to August 2, will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015 and will host roughly 7,000 athletes from countries all over the world.

>> More Team Canada info

>> More World Games info

>> Learn more about the B.C. team members

Staples campaign an inspiring success across the country

Special Olympics athletes and volunteers advocating Spread the Word to End the Word in Abbotsford

The Staples Canada Give a Toonie. Share a Dream. campaign for Special Olympics delivered successful fundraising and inspiring stories in 2015, as B.C. stores found great community support and athletes made a big impression with staff members and customers alike.

Now in its 15th year, the Staples campaign raises vital awareness and funds for Special Olympics, helping make dreams happen for athletes across the country. During this year’s campaign, which ran from May 2 to 24, Staples staff across Canada invited customers to donate to Special Olympics at the till.

Special Olympics athletes and volunteers gave their time in stores, where they greeted customers, assisted staff, and supported fundraising events, helping the campaign raise an amazing total of $630,000 across Canada.

Our thanks to all the Staples staff and SOBC athletes and volunteers set to take part in this weekend’s fundraising softball tournament in support of Special Olympics!

>> Read more

SOBC athletes ready to race in 2015 Western Canada Summer Games

Special Olympics BC swimmers David Dunn and Kerri Denninger

Just under one month to go until the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games in Wood Buffalo, where Special Olympics BC athletics and aquatics athletes will show their skills and represent B.C. with pride!

Set to be held in Wood Buffalo, Alberta, on August 7 to 16, the 2015 Western Canada Games will bring together more than 2,500 athletes from Canada’s four western provinces and three northern territories to compete in 18 sports. The SOBC athletes will be members of Team BC alongside top generic-sport athletes, and will compete in swimming and track and field in Special Olympics divisions.

Please click here to read the Prince George Citizen article about SOBC – Prince George swimmer David Dunn (pictured at right with Team BC 2014 teammate Kerri Denninger) who is ready to give his all in Wood Buffalo.

“I’m pretty excited about going. I want to set some personal bests, win a medal and have fun,” Dunn told the Citizen.

>> Learn more

B.C.’s New Car Dealers drive support for Special Olympics

New Car Dealers Association of B.C. logo

B.C.’s New Car Dealers have been making a difference with Special Olympics BC for more than 30 years. The 2015 New Car Dealers Foundation of BC / Special Olympics Auction showed the relationship is going strong, as Dealers and supporters donated the greatest number of items yet in order to raise funds for Special Olympics and the work of the New Car Dealers Foundation. The 2015 auction raised nearly $187,000, bringing the three-decade total to nearly $4.4 million.

This highly successful event is powered by a dedicated committee comprised of volunteer members working with Special Olympics BC and New Car Dealers Foundation staff. The volunteer members have given countless hours to the auction in order to support the charities.

The current volunteer auction committee members are Manse Binkley of Harmony Honda and Harmony Acura, Doug Bower of The Vancouver Sun and The Province, Marnie Carter of Carter Auto Family, John Chesman, Pamela Keith of Dueck Auto Group, Dave Meyerink of Harris Auto Group, Joe Mitchell of Carter Auto Family, and John Wynia of Harbourview Volkswagen.

>> Read more

Torch Run Month in B.C. crosses the finish line

Torch Run fever swept the province in June with law enforcement runners and Special Olympics athletes taking to the streets in their communities to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics BC.

The 2015 BC Law Enforcement Torch Run saw 700 LETR runners and 136 athletes carrying the Flame of Hope across the Lower Mainland and in Prince George, Victoria, Cranbrook, and Nanaimo for Torch Run Month, raising more than $31,400.

>> Read more

BC LETR members from the Burnaby RCMP, Metro Vancouver Transit Police, and Concord Security will be hopping on the bike on Saturday, July 11, to support SOBC through the second annual Cycle for a Cause! Join them at Metropolis at Metrotown shopping centre to raise funds and awareness for SOBC.

Local Sports Hall of Fame recognition for SOBC’s Stuart Coates, Mandy Manzardo

SOBC - Mission volunteer Stuart Coates inducted into Sports Hall of Fame

We’re delighted to congratulate Special Olympics BC – Mission volunteer Stuart Coates and SOBC – Coquitlam athlete Mandy Manzardo on their recent recognition by the Sports Halls of Fame in their home communities!

Coates (pictured at right with Mission Mayor Randy Hawes), a longtime SOBC – Mission coach and volunteer, was inducted into the Mission Sports Hall of Fame on June 1, in recognition of the significant impact he has had on soccer in the community at large and with Special Olympics.

Manzardo was celebrated by the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame on June 18 as one of the 2014 Wall of Fame recipients. She won the prize for athletes with disabilities, recognizing and celebrating her achievements last year. Like Coates, Manzardo is a member of Special Olympics Team Canada 2015 and was part of the 2007 Team Canada soccer team that won gold in Shanghai.

>> Read more

Mary Brown’s helping enrich lives through sport

Mary Brown's Special Olympics campaign poster

Mary Brown’s is committed to helping enrich lives through the joy of sport by supporting Special Olympics Canada this July. We’re excited that the first B.C. Mary Brown’s store opened in Kelowna in December 2014 and we’re grateful that they will be supporting Special Olympics this month!

Throughout July, Mary Brown’s is donating proceeds from the sale of their solid chocolate taters to Special Olympics Canada. And on Big Mary Day, July 29, $2 from the sale of every Big Mary sandwich nationwide will go to support the Mary Brown’s Fund in support of Special Olympics Canada. SOBC – Kelowna athletes and volunteers will visit their local Mary Brown’s on Big Mary Day to support the fundraising efforts and share their stories.

>> Read more

Catch SOBC softball teams at Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship

SOBC - Richmond softball player Nicky Chow

Special Olympics BC softball will be featured on Friday, July 10, at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship! There will be two games between SOBC teams at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. at Surrey’s Softball City.

Athletes love the opportunity to showcase their abilities at this world-class event and look forward to it every year. Prior to the first game, the tournament organizers will host a reception and meet-and-greet for the SOBC athletes.

>> Tournament info

Children with intellectual disabilities are stars of the show in SOBC youth programs

Special Olympics BC Youth Sports Day participants

For young Special Olympics BC athlete Katie, Special Olympics is the place where it’s her turn to take centre stage.

“Special Olympics gives her the opportunity to train and compete as an athlete, just as she has watched her brother in his own activities; with Special Olympics, she feels like the star of her own show,” her family wrote in an e-mail after the 2015 SOBC Youth Sports Day.

Special Olympics is a leader in helping kids with intellectual disabilities learn essential motor skills. Through the 79 Special Olympics BC Active Start, FUNdamentals, and Sport Start programs now offered in communities around the province, children with intellectual disabilities ages two to 18 have the opportunity to learn vital motor, sport, and social skills and get active in a fun, friendly environment.

>> Read more

Great fun and great info at June functional testing sessions

SOBC functional testing June 2015

Awesome athletes, coaches, and volunteers made this month’s functional testing sessions in Cranbrook, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, and Vancouver very valuable and lots of fun!

Functional testing involves exercises that measure fitness and foundational movements. These sessions are used to test an athlete’s fitness level, and to motivate and guide his or her training.

The next set of functional testing events will be held in October. To find out more, please contact Morgan Hunter, SOBC Manager, Sport & Health Science, by e-mail or by phone at 604-737-3081 direct / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

>> Learn more

Canadian Progress Club backs SOBC with summer fundraisers

Every year we look forward to the Canadian Progress Club of Greater Vancouver’s fun summer fundraisers in support of Special Olympics BC!

At the Canadian Progress Club Plywood Cup on June 6, teams built floatable vessels using little more than plywood and nails and raced them around Vancouver’s False Creek. Pictured at right are SOBC – Vancouver athletes Allan Hunter and Annabelle Davis, who volunteered their time to support the event and raise awareness about Special Olympics.

The Canadian Progress Club 20th Annual Slo-Pitch Tournament is set to be held on July 18 and 19 at McCartney Creek Park in North Vancouver. This fun-filled tournament involves teams competing in a way that emphasizes overall participation, sportsmanship, and fun. This year the organizers are aiming for the 14 teams to raise $28,000 for SOBC to support the Performance Program and Healthy Athletes initiatives. To find out more or to enter a team, please contact Ron Lloyd by e-mail or by phone at 604-626-6915. Learn more

Inclusion, fun, and successful fundraising at motionball Marathon of Sport events

motionball Marathon of Sport Vancouver

The hallmark of every motionball Marathon of Sport is the remarkable spirit of inclusion and camaraderie shared by the teams of young professionals and Special Olympics athletes who come together for the super-fun day of sport. This year’s Marathon of Sport events in B.C. were no exception and were significant fundraising successes.

Now in its ninth year, the motionball Marathon of Sport Vancouver brought together 24 teams of young professionals and 37 Special Olympics BC athletes for an incredible day of inclusive sport and fun at the amazing EA Sports complex on June 6. Participants played seven sports and cheered each other on throughout the day, creating a fun and vibrant atmosphere where the Special Olympics athletes felt included and welcomed by their teammates.

Two weeks later, the fourth annual motionball Marathon of Sport Kelowna presented by Interior Savings was another huge hit, with 19 teams of young professionals and 34 Special Olympics athletes from around the region enjoying the day of play at Spring Valley Middle School. The event saw enthusiastic involvement, inspiring inclusion, and great support from the community, including the participation and active tweeting by Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran who played on the top fundraising team, Reeks of Awesomeness!

>> Read more

SOBC Leadership Council update

Special Olympics BC logo

Special Olympics BC’s Leadership Council provides vital guidance for our organization and movement, and benefits significantly from the efforts of these valued volunteers. In June, the Council welcomed new Regional Coordinators Sheila Paynter of Region 2 and Nicole Zacharias of Region 7, while bidding a grateful farewell (of sorts!) to Sue Foisy, Tina Readman, and Barb Tull of Region 4.

>> Read more

Grateful to runners lacing up in support of Special Olympics BC

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon runner Fiona Burrows

Big congrats and thanks to all the runners who supported Special Olympics BC by taking part in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k on June 28! These fantastic and fleet-footed folks raised more than $7,500 for SOBC and Locals. More photos

Another opportunity to combine a beautiful run with fundraising for Special Olympics is coming up in October in Victoria. This year, for the first time, SOBC has joined the Charity Pledge Program in the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, coming October 11. We’re looking forward to seeing runners on the Island support Special Olympics! Please contact Charlotte Taylor by e-mail or by phone at 604-737-3059 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free to raise funds in this exciting opportunity.

Celebrating founders and builders of Regions 1 and 2

After Special Olympics BC formed in 1980, volunteers across the province started Locals to give people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to empower themselves through sport in their communities.

The Kootenays and the Okanagan are home to rich histories with SOBC and some of the longest-running Locals. As part of our series celebrating SOBC’s 35th anniversary, this month we celebrate the beginning and growth of Regions 1 and 2.

>> Read more

Inclusive swimming clubs offer extra opportunities for SOBC athletes

SOBC - Whistler Valley swimmers

Special Olympics BC is fortunate to have great support from Swim BC and generic swimming clubs around the province who open their doors to SOBC athletes, giving them supplemental opportunities to compete and show their abilities.

One great example is the strong relationship between the SOBC – Smithers swimming program and the local BV Otters Swim Club. Over the past two seasons, SOBC – Smithers athletes have participated in four BV Otters in-house competitions, known as mini-meets, as well as their regional qualifier each season. These supplemental opportunities are a great source of pride for the SOBC athletes, says Gale Jones, who is both the SOBC – Smithers Local Coordinator and a BV Otters coach.

“Our Special O swimmers absolutely love being included in our BV Otters swim meets. It helps them to feel like part of a bigger team and the swimming community,” Jones wrote in an e-mail.

>> Read more