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October 2015 Newsletter

Special Olympics BC - Surrey floor hockey players

Special Olympics BC inducts six new members into Hall of Fame

Special Olympics BC logo

The Special Olympics BC Hall of Fame recognizes significant, long-lasting contributions that individuals and groups have made to our movement. Induction into the Hall of Fame celebrates the most outstanding achievements and contributions, and is one of the highest honours bestowed within the Special Olympics BC organization.

This year, SOBC is celebrating six new members of the Hall of Fame. These deserving individuals and organizations were inducted in a ceremony at the SOBC Leadership Summit on October 3. Our heartfelt congratulations and thanks to:

>> Read more

Celebrating the power of sport with the Sports Celebrities Festival

Sports Celebrities Festival photo by Jeff Vinnick

The “ceiling-breaking” power of sport and Special Olympics was on full display at the 2015 Sports Celebrities Festival presented by Silver Wheaton.

Held on October 20 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the 17th annual gala benefitting the Canucks for Kids Fund and Special Olympics BC brought together more than 650 generous supporters along with SOBC athletes, the entire Vancouver Canucks roster, and other top B.C. sports celebrities for an inspiring evening that raised more than $350,000.

Vancouver Canucks forward Chris Higgins, whose sister is a longtime Special Olympics athlete in New York, made the audience laugh with his gentle teasing of his teammates and tugged heartstrings with his vivid description of the power of Special Olympics.

“Special Olympics is a ceiling-breaking organization, and I’ve seen it firsthand. To see the impossible made possible makes you look at challenges in a whole different way,” he said.

>> Read more

Tom Norton honoured as SOC Male Coach of the Year

Special Olympics BC – Abbotsford coach Tom Norton

Congratulations to Special Olympics BC – Abbotsford coach Tom Norton, deserving winner of Special Olympics Canada’s 2015 Male Coach of the Year Award! We are very grateful to Norton for all his hard work and dedication to Special Olympics athletes. He will receive the national award on November 19.

>> SOC National Awards announcement

>> Read more about Norton as the 2015 SOBC Howard Carter Award winner

Safeway and Special Olympics team up to Nourish Champions

SOBC - 100 Mile House athletes and volunteers at Safeway

The 2015 Special Olympics Canada and Safeway Nourish Champions campaign aims to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics programs in communities across western Canada. This year’s campaign, running until November 1, has an emphasis on nourishing champions and supporting Special Olympics athletes, coaches and parents in their pursuit of proper nutrition in order to perform their best.

Safeway customers are invited to make a donation of $2 at any Safeway store and in return receive 5 AIR MILES Reward Miles. Thanks to all SOBC athletes and volunteers who visited their local Safeway stores on October 24 to support the campaign awareness day!

“Safeway’s ongoing commitment to instilling healthy attitudes and eating habits for our athletes is incredible,” said Special Olympics Canada CEO Sharon Bollenbach. “In order to perform their best, all athletes need to be well nourished, and with the help of Safeway, our athletes are able to foster healthy eating habits that contribute to their success on the field of play.”

>> Read more

Congrats to 2015 Grassroots Coach Award winner Jeannie Cramer

Jeannie Cramer of SOBC – Smithers has been a dedicated Special Olympics coach for nearly 20 years. Currently her Local’s 5-pin bowling head coach, Cramer is known for seeing the ability in every athlete and nourishing that. She finds creative ways to have athletes participate in events both in the community and out. She is the deserving winner of SOBC’s 2015 Grassroots Coach Award.

Over the years Cramer has coached athletics, bocce, floor hockey, and soccer, in addition to bowling. As the head coach for bowling, she serves as the spokesperson for the program and communicates diligently with the athletes and their caregivers. She plans the competitions, makes sure everyone is registered to compete, and works hard to ensure that there are competition opportunities for everyone.

>> Read more

Relive Special Olympics Team Canada highlights on TSN 2

Special Olympics Team Canada softball player Ryan Courtemanche of Kelowna

Ready to relive Team Canada’s incredible performances and experiences at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles? Tune in to TSN 2 this Thursday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. PST to watch the Team Canada 2015 broadcast!

>> Team Canada 2015 website

>> Stories on SOBC team members

Team BC 2016 figure skaters pumped to perform in Corner Brook

Special Olympics Team BC figure skater Stephanie Divin

With the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games coming up next March, the 181 athletes, coaches, and mission staff on the Team BC 2016 Training Squad are hard at work getting ready to be at their best in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Team BC’s nine figure skating athletes and four coaches from all over the province took part in their training camp in August – please click here to read more.

September saw the Team BC floor hockey team with members from Comox Valley, Kelowna, Nanaimo, and Powell River come together in Courtenay for their training camp, and the curling team with members from Surrey and Victoria hit the ice at the Delta Thistle Curling Club. Meanwhile, the members of the floor hockey team from Vancouver and Richmond have also been working hard throughout the summer and fall.

Last weekend the Team BC curling team members from Powell River, Port Alberni, Comox Valley, and Campbell River came together for their training camp in Campbell River, and the speed skating athletes and coaches joined the Performance Program training camp in the Lower Mainland. More stories and photos to come from all of this action!

>> More Team BC 2016 info

Healthy Athletes & functional testing events a big hit

Athlete Bryan and volunteer Anita at Healthy Athletes

Thanks to great participation by athletes and outstanding support from volunteers and sponsors, Special Olympics BC’s October Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Nanaimo and functional testing events around the province were rewarding and successful. Stay tuned for stories to come, and sincere thanks to all involved!

SOBC – Campbell River athlete Bryan Jorgensen and volunteer Anita Braeuer are pictured at right in a photo courtesy of volunteer and parent Ann Jorgensen, who said, “The Campbell River athletes and coaches would like to thank all the volunteers who provided such an amazing day in Nanaimo at Healthy Athletes and functional testing.”

>> Learn more about Healthy Athletes

>> Learn more about functional testing

SOBC Leadership Summit participants strengthen movement

On October 3 and 4, more than 100 Special Olympics BC volunteers from 50 Locals all over the province generously gave up another weekend to attend the SOBC Leadership Summit. We are truly grateful to everyone who took part and brought their inspiring ideas, energy, and dedication to making a difference. Stay tuned for stories to come, but in the meantime, our sincere thanks to all the participants and speakers!

BC LETR members invited to Lower Mainland workshop

BC Law Enforcement Torch Run logo

The BC Law Enforcement Torch Run is inviting all Lower Mainland members to attend a regional workshop to kick off the new fundraising year and celebrate their successes from this past year. Set to be held on the afternoon of November 26, the workshop will be an opportunity to meet fellow LETR members from around the region and be part of the discussion of what’s in store for the movement to support Special Olympics BC.

The workshop will be held at Dueck on Marine and will be followed by a fun bowling social with SOBC athletes.

To get involved, please contact LETR Liaison Carolyn McCarthy by email or by phone at .

New video showcases Special Olympics spirit

Special Olympics BC video shoot

“I am confident.”
“I am proud.”
“I am a champion.”

We are excited to introduce a new Special Olympics BC awareness video by director/writer Naim Sutherland, producer Diana Donaldson, and a talented team of athletes and creators! Any SOBC Locals who would like to receive a copy of this video (or any other SOBC promotional videos) for use at their own events are very welcome to contact Megan Grittani-Livingston, SOBC Manager, Communications, by email or by phone at / toll-free.

>> Watch now

YELLOWCARD campaign powers pledges to end the R-Word

Vancouver Police Department and Special Olympics supporting YELLOWCARD Day

Join motionball’s YELLOWCARD Campaign for Special Olympics by taking the pledge to end the casual and negative use of the R-word!

In soccer, a yellow card is shown to offending players as a warning that they have crossed a line; in the same way, the YELLOWCARD campaign aims to inform Canadians that the R-word is offensive and hurtful even if used in a way that seems harmless.

On October 8, the 2nd annual YELLOWCARD Day saw supporters stage grassroots events across Canada, including the support of our law enforcement partners such as the Abbotsford, Delta, and Vancouver Police Departments and Transit Police. Pictured at right are VPD Chief Constable Adam Palmer and SOBC – Vancouver athlete Annabelle Davis.

Vancouver Canucks forward Chris Higgins showed his support too!

>> Learn more

Fit fundraising with CF24

CF24 in support of Special Olympics at Raincity Athletics

CF24 brings together CrossFit athletes across the country in support of Special Olympics athletes. On Saturday, October 24, teams in CrossFit gyms across Canada worked out for 24 hours straight to raise funds for Special Olympics, performing a 10-minute high-intensity workout every hour on the hour for 24 consecutive hours.

This year, B.C. participants at CrossFit North Okanagan, Kelowna CrossFit, and Raincity Athletics (pictured at right) took part in the tough but rewarding day, and were joined by local Special Olympics BC athletes cheering them on.

To date, this year’s participants across Canada have raised just over $130,000 for Special Olympics. What a difference a day makes!

Special Olympics BC’s history of star-powered support

Howie Meeker and Special Olympics BC athlete Joshua Brearley

Ever since Special Olympics BC started more than three decades ago, celebrities have been lending their support after getting hooked on the infectious spirit and sportsmanship of Special Olympics athletes.

In the latest installment of our series celebrating SOBC’s 35th anniversary, we honour the sports heroes, high-profile teams, and media icons who have given their time and support to Special Olympics. None is more dedicated than Howie Meeker, winner of four Stanley Cups and a Calder Trophy with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and an inductee into the Order of Canada.

>> Read more

Thankful for chances to roar with the Lions

Sincere thanks to Jeff Rae and Jim Pattison Hyundai as well as Travis Lulay and the BC Lions for providing amazing Lions game experiences for our athletes and coaches again this season!

Rae and Jim Pattison Hyundai have generously donated six tickets to every Lions home game for SOBC athletes and volunteers, and the SOBC groups are given special access to meet Lulay and the Lions on the field before the game. Big thanks to these generous supporters of Special Olympics!

B.C. youth leaders bring back big ideas from national conference

Special Olympics BC Youth Activation Council member and Mark Tewksbury

In September, five youth leaders from B.C. joined 25 colleagues from across the country in Calgary for the first-ever national Youth Activation Conference, hosted by Special Olympics Canada.

Youth Activation Council members are young people without intellectual disabilities who engage with their schools and communities to raise awareness about Special Olympics and advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics BC’s YAC is part of a growing movement of Special Olympics youth leaders, bringing renewed energy and increased capacity to programs.

The national conference was organized by SOC’s new Youth Activation Council, with six young volunteers from across the country including Danielle Kiselbach from Coquitlam.

>> Read more