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March 2017 Newsletter

SOBC - Ridge Meadows team indoor bocce tournament

Amazing achievements at 2017 World Games

Team Canada member Tracey Melesko

The action is underway at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games! We are so proud of the Special Olympics Team Canada members from B.C., and cheering for the 2,600+ athletes from 107 countries giving their all on this remarkable global stage.

We’re celebrating all the achievements by the 16 B.C. athletes by keeping track of results and useful links right here! Competition wraps up Friday, March 24, followed by the Closing Ceremony.

Find lots more coverage on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram through the hashtags #SOTeamCanada17 and #Austria2017, and tune in to TSN for great Games coverage – a schedule of official Games shows can be found here, and Team Canada highlights are running on nightly Sportscentre broadcasts.

>> Read more

Healthy Athletes, functional testing coming to Fort St. John & Kelowna this weekend

Cory gives Healthy Athletes screenings two thumbs up

Healthy Athletes and functional testing are coming to Fort St. John on March 26! Special Olympics BC will be hosting free, fun Healthy Athletes screenings and functional testing sessions at Fort St. John’s Bert Bowes Middle School.

Healthy Athletes screenings will be offered in three disciplines: FUNfitness, Health Promotion, and Strong Minds Strong Bodies. Free, fun, and open to all local individuals with intellectual disabilities, Healthy Athletes screenings identify issues in a supportive setting and ensure participants get the care they need.

To register for Healthy Athletes or get involved in this rewarding day as a volunteer, please contact SOBC’s Ashten Black by email or by phone at 604-737-3081 direct / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free. To register for functional testing, please contact SOBC’s James Marchand by email or by phone at 604-616-1342 direct / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

In addition, Kelowna-area athletes will have the opportunity to participate in functional testing on March 25 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Parkinson Rec Centre. Please click here to register

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. Functional testing is important as it provides feedback to coaches regarding the program’s effectiveness and shows the personal progress of each athlete.

New Car Dealers driving support for SOBC

New Car Dealers Association logo

The members of the New Car Dealers Association of BC have been strong supporters of Special Olympics athletes and programs throughout the province since 1984, and they will continue their outstanding support at the Vancouver International Auto Show Gala on March 28, giving SOBC the opportunity to raise awareness at this highly anticipated Auto Show kickoff event. The Vancouver International Auto Show, which this year will run March 28 to April 2, is Western Canada’s best-attended consumer automotive event.

At last year’s Auto Show Gala, Team BC 2016 athlete Ken McLean, who won National Games gold in Newfoundland with his floor hockey team, gave a speech to express his appreciation for Special Olympics and the support of B.C.’s New Car Dealers.

“Since joining Special Olympics, I have come out of my passive shell. I was able to get off the couch, get a job, and be physically active. This has assisted me to develop friendships with fellow athletes, coaches, and volunteers. This support network has allowed me to set goals and achieve them,” he said.

Also returning soon is the annual New Car Dealers Foundation / Special Olympics BC Auction, the online auction that has raised just under $4.6 million for SOBC to date. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of New Car Dealers of BC!

Darren Inouye honoured with Sport BC Presidents’ Award

Darren Inouye is the winner of the 2017 Sport BC Presidents’ Award for SOBC

Special Olympics BC Region 5 Coordinator and Special Olympics Team Canada 2017 mission staff member Darren Inouye is the deserving winner of the 2017 Sport BC Presidents’ Award for SOBC.

Presidents’ Awards are given to volunteers from Sport BC member and partner organizations who demonstrate the spirit of volunteerism, and whose dedication, energy, and commitment contribute to the growth of their sport or organization. Inouye received his award in a ceremony on March 8.

>> Read more

>> Please remember to nominate deserving SOBC athletes, coaches, and volunteers for the 2017 SOBC Awards by April 5 – please click here to find nomination forms! Locals may nominate one candidate for each award. We hope to see a nominee from every Local, as we know everyone has such amazing athletes and volunteers!

Fearless Plungers get bold and cold for SOBC

2017 Polar Plunge for SOBC presented by Westminster Savings

Brave participants in colourful costumes made a huge splash at the 2017 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC presented by Westminster Savings Credit Union on March 4.

The frigid and festive fundraiser brought in more than $85,000 for SOBC, almost three times as much as last year’s inaugural Vancouver Polar Plunge, with 189 individuals registering to get freezin’ for a reason at Kitsilano Beach.

Staged in partnership with the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run, the Polar Plunge saw members of the Vancouver, Abbotsford, and West Vancouver police departments, Coquitlam and North Vancouver RCMP detachments, Canada Border Services Agency, Justice Institute of British Columbia, and Metro Vancouver Transit Police show their support for SOBC alongside corporate teams, students, and other individuals.

>> Read more

SOBC introducing new Club Fit Summit

Club Fit

On April 8 to 9, Special Olympics BC will be hosting a Club Fit Summit for coaches of this valuable fitness program!

Club Fit is part of Special Olympic BC’s long-term athlete development model. It aims to improve athletes’ overall wellness by helping athletes optimize potential and provide lifelong activity opportunities. The summit will help get Club Fit coaches excited about the program, feel connected with our organization, and feel empowered to be a resource for sport coaches.

The summit will be held in Richmond at City Centre Community Centre. To learn more, please contact SOBC’s James Marchand by email or by phone at 604-616-1342 direct / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

>> Find Club Fit coach resources

Staples making dreams happen with annual fundraising initiative for Special Olympics

Staples Give a Toonie Share a Dream campaign

On May 6, Special Olympics Canada and Staples Canada will kick off the 17th Give a Toonie Share a Dream fundraising and awareness campaign in support of Special Olympics. From May 6 to 28, Staples Canada stores from coast to coast will be raising funds and awareness to help support the 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.

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 the province who give great time and energy to help make this important campaign a success!

>> Read about the 2016 Staples campaign

Regional Conferences return this spring

Special Olympics BC Regional Conferences create opportunities for volunteers to come together to share empowering connections and best practices as well as learning about available tools. This spring’s conferences are:

  • Region 6: April 7 to 9 at Camp Qwanoes in Crofton
  • Region 1 & 2: May 12 to 14 at Green Bay Bible Camp in West Kelowna

Interested participants are asked to contact their Local Coordinators and the SOBC field staff in their area. Stay tuned for details on the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley and northern conferences!

Goldcorp Invitational makes a difference with Special Olympics

SOBC athletes at the Goldcorp Invitational

The Goldcorp Invitational Golf Tournament, which has raised more than $2.1 million to benefit Special Olympics BC, supports our empowering year-round programs and opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout the province. This year’s tournament returns to Northview Golf & Country Club on June 28!

We are very grateful to Goldcorp and all the sponsors, volunteers, teams, and supporters who participate in this event to help change lives with SOBC.

“It’s such an important cause, and it makes such an impact on the lives of the people we try to help,” Goldcorp Chairman Ian Telfer said at the 2016 tournament. “But it takes a large group of people to put this on, and we appreciate all our friends and supporters and employees and everyone that flies quite a ways, many of them, to come here and join us and to support the cause.”

The tournament’s teams and major sponsorships are nearly sold out, but supporters can still help make a difference for SOBC 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.

>> Read about the 2016 tournament

2017 Special Olympics BC Games updates

2017 SOBC Games logo

Online volunteer registration is now open for the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games! Rewarding experiences are available in sport-specific positions and a wide range of roles. With more than 1,600 athletes, coaches, and mission staff set to converge in Kamloops from July 6 to 8, the 2017 SOBC Games will need over 1,000 volunteers to create an empowering and inspiring experience for the participants from all around the province and the Yukon.

Please encourage anyone interested to visit www.sobcgameskamloops.ca to find the form and be part of this rewarding experience. Sign up early to secure spots – the 2015 SOBC Games filled all available roles!

There is a particular need for swimming volunteers, especially those with sport experience that are familiar with meet protocol, understand marshalling, and/or have stroke and turn training. Please spread the word to anyone you think might fit the bill! Help get excited with the swimming venue profile below.

The Chefs de Mission for the Regional teams will be meeting with the Games Organizing Committee in Kamloops in late April, and will be able to share more logistical info with their team members after that. Hope everyone is getting pumped; we sure are!

Games venues and sponsors in the spotlight

Get to know the great Kamloops venues that will welcome the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games, and the sponsors who are helping make it all possible! The SOBC Games swimming events will take place under the beautiful Kamloops skies in the Brocklehurst Pool on Kamloops’ North Shore. This heated outdoor pool is a regulation 25-metre, eight-lane venue with starting blocks and touch-pad compatibility. The venue is adjacent to a park and playground for family fun between races. With 167 competitors from all over the province, this venue will be full of excitement.

Sincere thanks to the Games sponsors who have signed on to date:

  • Platinum Sponsors: City of Kamloops and School District #73
  • Gold Sponsors: Kamloops Sports Legacy Fund, RBC Dominion Securities and Royal Bank of Canada, Sun Life Financial, and TD Bank Group
  • Silver Sponsors: BCLC and New Gold – New Afton Mine
  • Bronze Sponsors: Binnie Consulting, Domtar – Kamloops, KGHM Ajax Mining Inc., and Teck
  • Healthy Athletes Sponsor: LifeLabs
  • Media Sponsors: Broadcast Centre, Kamloops This Week, and NL Broadcasting

New SOBC school sports programming creates competition, development, fun

SOBC try-it day in Campbell River last year

Special Olympics BC’s core programs are open to athletes eight years old and up, with many athletes participating well into their later years. But we are finding that many young people have been joining Special Olympics after graduating from high school, thereby coming to us with limited physical literacy. Armed with that understanding, SOBC is working to target students to help them connect with Special Olympics and physical skill development opportunities earlier in their lives.

SOBC now actively looks to work with school districts to help educate teachers, support staff, families, and the students themselves as to what we have to offer. In order to ensure that students with intellectual disabilities are aware of all the sporting opportunities available to them through Special Olympics in their local community, we host “try-it days.” In addition to helping the students, our programming helps educators provide physical fitness in an adaptive environment sensitive to those with special needs.

Last year, several communities on Vancouver Island held popular try-it days that bloomed into a new competition opportunity this year.

>> Read more

Champions of respect ending the R-word

University of the Fraser Valley Spread the Word to End the Word

On and around March 1, Special Olympics champions throughout the province and around the world spoke out in support of the ninth annual Spread the Word to End the Word® awareness day. Champions of inclusion and dignity for individuals with intellectual disabilities use this inspiring campaign and the international awareness day to help stop the hurtful use of the R-word and rally people to pledge respect at r-word.org.

In addition to the grassroots events happening year-round in schools and communities throughout the province, SOBC and our supporters share messages of respect and understanding through social media on and around the Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day, reaching thousands of followers. Many celebrities, SOBC sponsors, sport organizations, and individuals help spread the word through posts and shares – please click here to see a selection of supportive comments.

The work is making a difference. On March 1, Special Olympics International released studies showing that a lot of progress has been made over the last nine years in promoting inclusion for all and changing attitudes and perceptions about people with intellectual disabilities. Teens, specifically, are standing up for inclusion and respect for all at school and in their communities. However, it appears that adults are aware of the R-word but are not as active in promoting inclusive behaviors.

>> Read more

Free NCCP course offered for 150 days

National Coaching Certification Program

To celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial birthday, the National Coaching Certification Program Coach Initiation in Sport module is now available for free for 150 days! As of August 3, 2017, the module will cost $15. To access this fundamental resource, which will take approximately one hour to complete, please click here and log into the Locker, then go to the e-learning tabs on your transcript.

Coach Initiation in Sport is an online NCCP module developed to introduce new or experienced coaches to the foundational skills in coaching, such as long-term athlete development, ethics, coaching motivation, and athlete safety and wellness. The Coach Initiation in Sport module will also introduce coaches to the NCCP, a valuable tool for preparing a coach’s first in-person NCCP workshop.

Coach Initiation in Sport is a valuable resource for:

  • parents new to coaching
  • new coaches
  • experienced coaches new to the NCCP
  • experienced NCCP coaches who need professional development, or a refresh on the fundamental principles of the NCCP

Once you have competed all the modules, the additional benefit is that you can go back into the course and access the video and tools or notes you made while watching. There are many templates and resource materials noted throughout the modules!
This course is not mandatory for Special Olympics BC coaches, but what a great resource to have! It is worth taking an hour to complete so you have access to the site for further followup.

The next NCCP Special Olympics Competition Sport Workshop courses are coming up in Kelowna March 25 to 26, Cranbrook April 8 to 9, Campbell River May 5 to 6, and Langley May 13 to 14. To find event details, please visit the SOBC website calendar.

Indoor bocce tournament rolls into action

Special Olympics BC indoor bocce competition

On March 11, Special Olympics BC broke new ground by hosting the first indoor bocce tournament in the province. The tournament saw teams from Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, and Ridge Meadows attend the one-day competition, which also included a nutrition session for athletes and coach development session as part of the event.

Despite the fact that the balls ran a bit fast on the super-smooth surface and the venue temperature dipped, a fun time was had by all athletes and coaches. When the smoke cleared, host team Coquitlam 1 took home the first-place ribbons.

SOBC is hoping to run the event next year and will expand the team numbers in order to provide more bocce teams with an earlier start to the season.

The other hope is that indoor bocce can also help programs around the province have full seasons despite any snow lingering late in springtime. Please contact SOBC’s Shawn Fevens by email or by phone at 604-737-3055 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free to borrow indoor bocce ball kits.

Great competition and skill development at SOBC Snow Sports Festival

SOBC - Trail athletes at Snow Sports Festival

From February 17 to 19, Special Olympics BC athletes and coaches from around the province came together to compete in cross country skiing and snowshoeing at the beautiful Telemark Nordic Club in West Kelowna.

The weekend saw some great competitive performances accompanied by development for coaches in the form of video analysis conducted by Jacques Thibault, Performance Consultant, and Sunday sport-specific sessions. Fourteen Locals took part in the event including three Locals – Cranbrook, Comox Valley, and Salmon Arm – who were new to the sports of snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

The event was such a success that plans are already in place to host the competition again next year!

Photo at right of the SOBC – Trail competitors courtesy of Rhonda Chandler.

Experience fun and friendship at SOBC Youth Sports Day

SOBC Youth Sports Day 2016

Special Olympics BC is excited to host our annual Youth Sports Day for children with intellectual disabilities on May 13 at St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby! Registered and new athletes ages two to 12 are welcome to join the fun at this free event.

Children and families new to Special Olympics get to experience the entertaining activities that are a regular part of SOBC’s youth programming, and current SOBC athletes have fun wrapping up their season with friends.

All participants will recieve a free T-shirt and participation awards, and snacks, water, and juice will be provided. To register, please fill out the event registration form and email, fax, or mail it to Sarah Wall in the SOBC office no later than May 5, 2017.

>> Read about the 2016 Youth Sports Day

Special Olympics BC vision, mission, values

Special Olympics BC logo

The vision, mission, and values of our organization play a key role in helping us make decisions, improve the experience of all involved, and reduce risk.

  • Vision: where we aspire to be in the future
  • Mission: helping define what our organization is, and isn’t
  • Values: our desired culture

In an effort to align Special Olympics programs in Canada, common vision, mission, and values statements have been developed. Many of you may have answered surveys last year that helped develop the values statements. The vision is from Special Olympics International’s documents, and the mission is a shortened version of what we have used for years.

SOBC’s current mission, vision, and values

It is essential for us all to be aligned if we are to continue offering exceptional opportunities for athletes, families, volunteers, and donors, and if we are to reduce our risk. All programs, from the community level to the national level, should now use the approved vision, values, and mission statements.

These statements and SOBC’s updated key messages, which incorporate all of the language employed by Special Olympics Canada, can also be found in the PR Coordinator Manual on this page of the SOBC website, along with further brand and communications resources.

These statements and values can be kept top of mind as you talk about this organization and our shared mission. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact any SOBC staff member.

Coaches Corner: Coaching Diary

Newbies or veterans alike, are you looking for a way to elevate your coaching skills? We have an easy, accessible way to receive professional development from the comfort of your own computer and favourite couch!

Our mental training expert Dr. Laura Farres, who has attended numerous National Games over the years supporting both our coaches and athletes, created a fabulous coaching diary for self-help and discovery that are reinforced with video modules. You can download the diary workbook, read at your leisure, and view the corresponding videos at your own pace. Or get a few of your fellow coaches together and work on it as a team.

It’s a terrific option for elevating your performance!

The Coach Diary can be found here