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November 2017 Newsletter

Canucks Brock Boeser and Special Olympics athlete Melissa Semke

Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser and SOBC – Surrey athlete Melissa Semke in the 2017 Sports Celebrities Festival parade of athletes.

Please note: The SOBC Provincial Office will be closed for the holidays from December 16 to January 1, returning January 2.

Sports Celebrities Festival helps make the impossible possible

Vancouver Canucks forward Brandon Sutter and SOBC - Vancouver athlete Alex Pang

The 2017 Sports Celebrities Festival presented by Wheaton Precious Metals starred Special Olympics BC athletes centre stage alongside the entire Vancouver Canucks roster and leading B.C. sports celebrities, while raising vital funds for the Canucks for Kids Fund and SOBC.

Special Olympics BC – Vancouver athlete Alex Pang captivated the sold-out crowd as he shared the journey of his impressive development. As a child, Pang said, he had no words and found it difficult to interact with others, and also had low muscle tone and struggled with balance and walking in a straight line. After 10 years as a Special Olympics athlete, the 19-year-old Pang is now a three-time Special Olympics World Games competitor in both figure skating and basketball who feels like he can accomplish anything and has learned that he loves public speaking. Through his hard work in Special Olympics and throughout his life, he has become a successful athlete and gained confidence for his future.

“Through Special Olympics, I have found a place where I feel I belong, and where I know my strength will shine through and be celebrated. Because of Special Olympics, I have had a chance to receive world-class training to make me the best athlete I can be. Because of Special Olympics, I know I have multiple pathways in life that I can choose from and will succeed in whatever I choose to do,” Pang said.

>> Read more

Give the gift of sport this Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

After the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, November 28 is Giving Tuesday, the movement dedicated to giving back. Donors are invited give the gift of sport to Special Olympics athletes across the province with a Giving Tuesday donation to SOBC!

Visit and share our site for Giving Tuesday and holiday giving to support empowering sport and competition experiences, important health screenings, and skill-building opportunities.

We are grateful to all who will consider giving the gift of sport with SOBC on Giving Tuesday and in this holiday season. Thank you for spreading the word!

Team BC 2018 Training Squad kicking off camps

Team BC 2018 Training Squad bowlers

Members of the Team BC 2018 Training Squad are ramping up their preparations for next year’s 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games and 2018 Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships!

Team training camps kicked off November 18-19 with the 5- and 10-pin bowlers coming together in Coquitlam to build their training techniques and sharpen their skills for the National Bowling Championships in P.E.I. Next up were the powerlifters, rhythmic gymnasts, and B.C. Warriors basketball team this past weekend taking their first step together toward the National Summer Games in Nova Scotia.

More training camps will follow in January for the athletics, Okanagan basketball, bocce, golf, soccer, softball, and swimming teams. Stay tuned for more coverage and cheer on Team BC!

>> Check out bowling camp photos

SOBC members shine at SOC award ceremony, gala

Donna Bilous, Sharon Bollenbach, and Paige Norton

On November 16 and 17, Special Olympics Canada hosted their annual awards night and fundraising gala, and several Special Olympics BC members did our province proud as they took centre stage!

We’re delighted to congratulate all the deserving recipients of SOC’s 2017 awards, including Female Athlete of the Year Paige Norton of Special Olympics BC – Abbotsford and Female Coach of the Year Donna Bilous, SOBC Region 3 Coordinator and SOBC – Abbotsford coach! They are pictured at right with SOC CEO Sharon Bollenbach after receiving their awards.

>> Read more

SOBC – Langley athlete and Special Olympics International Board of Directors member Matthew Williams was the featured athlete speaker at LIMITLESS: The Special Olympics Canada Gala, held the night after the national award ceremony. Williams wowed the crowd with his speech.

>> Watch Williams’ 2015 TEDxVancouver talk

RBC Foundation helping elevate performance

RBC Foundation cheque presentation

We are so grateful to RBC Foundation for their generous donation of $20,000 toward SOBC’s Performance Program! These funds will support Performance Program and Team BC Training Squad camps across the province, helping athletes and coaches to learn new skills and techniques to #elevateperformance and achieve their goals!

RBC Branch Manager Laurentia Robbins and Assistant Branch Manager Salvatore Mele recently visited the Team BC 2018 Training Squad 5- and 10-pin bowling camp in Coquitlam to present participants with a cheque for their donation. Big thanks to RBC Foundation for their support!

Special Olympics coaches honoured at CAC Sport Leadership Conference

SOBC coaches Randy Scott (centre) and Mark Schnurr (right)

At this month’s Coaching Association of Canada Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Conference, several of the amazing Special Olympics Team Canada 2017 coaches were honoured with Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Awards, including six from B.C. Congratulations to David Wilkinson of SOBC – Kelowna, Donna Bilous of SOBC – Abbotsford, Elizabeth Roman of SOBC – Surrey, Mark Schnurr of SOBC – Coquitlam (pictured above, right), Maureen Hunter of SOBC – Campbell River, and Randy Scott of SOBC – North Shore (pictured above, centre)!

>> Read more

Also at the CAC conference for coaches and sport leaders from across the country, Special Olympics BC coach Tom Norton and athlete Matthew Williams put Special Olympics in the spotlight as the inspiring hosts of a breakout session on Global Cultural Disruption: How Special Olympics is Driving Social Change! Please click here to check out their session’s slides.

Building champions every day

Everyday Champions video screenshot

“On the playing field, I am proud to be a Special Olympics athlete. Every day, I am proud to be me.”

The empowering spirit of Special Olympics is celebrated in a new Special Olympics BC PSA video created by Hyphen Communications, entitled Everyday Champions.

The video is intended to spotlight the abilities of Special Olympics athletes both on and off the field, show the power of Special Olympics to change the way the world sees people with intellectual disabilities, and inspire more people to get involved with our movement.

>> Read more

Functional testing fun coming up in Victoria December 3

SOBC functional testing with Vancouver Canucks staff

Special Olympics BC athletes can join us for functional testing in Victoria on December 3 at Victoria High School, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.!

Functional testing is a set of 18 tests used to assess and track an athlete’s fitness level, exercise form, flexibility, and functional movement patterns. It is used by major sport organizations to improve athletic performance and measure athlete progress. Attending the testing is a key part of an athlete’s sport training and is a useful tool that can help you improve no matter what sports you participate in. Plus, the testing day is guaranteed to be a lot of fun!

The event is open to all athletes – please click here to register! Volunteers are also welcome – to get involved, please contact SOBC’s Helen Cheung by email or by phone at 604-737-3055 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Sincere thanks to the Vancouver Canucks staff who gave their time to run functional testing for SOBC athletes in Richmond on November 7 (pictured) as part of their annual Live 2 Give day! “The Special Olympics BC athletes are truly an inspiration and so dedicated to becoming the best they can be!” one Canucks staff member commented.

More functional testing events hosted by SOBC will be coming up in the new year, so stay tuned for details! In addition, Locals are awesomely hosting their own functional testing events, so Local Committees and coaches will spread the word about those.

National sponsor JYSK opening two new B.C. locations

JYSK logo

Our friends at JYSK, a Special Olympics Canada Silver Partner, have launched two new B.C. locations, and Special Olympics BC athletes were featured at the festivities! The new store in Duncan opened its doors on October 28, and the new Coquitlam store began welcoming customers on November 23.

The Cowichan Valley Citizen shared this coverage of the Duncan Mall store opening: “Special Olympics BC – Cowichan Valley athlete Julie Black brought a special welcome to the grand opening of JYSK in Duncan. Julie delivered a powerful speech, thanking JYSK for their support of Special Olympics since 2004. An athlete herself, Julie has competed in seven different sports over the last six years. ‘We are very excited to welcome your store to our community and we look forward to building a partnership in Duncan,’ Julie said. ‘Thank you JYSK for your continued support over the years.'”

The new Coquitlam store on United Boulevard is a second Coquitlam location for JYSK and a flagship outlet. “The opening of this new store is very symbolic for JYSK since the very first Canadian JYSK store was opened in Coquitlam 21 years ago,” says Lynne Williams, Director of Marketing. SOBC – Coquitlam athlete Ariel Taylor gave an inspiring speech and joined Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, City Councillor Teri Towner, and JYSK Director of Marketing Lynne Williams for photos at the opening festivities (pictured above).

Special Olympics Healthy Athletes screenings make a ‘huge impact’

Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Opening Eyes screenings

Healthy Athletes is wonderful,” Special Olympics BC – Nanaimo athlete Emily Beauchamp says passionately. “It’s helped me in more ways than I can count.”

Beauchamp participated in her first Healthy Athletes screenings a number of years ago as a Special Olympics athlete in Ontario, and they helped her achieve life-changing revelations. The Healthy Hearing screenings showed that she had severe hearing loss, and the Fit Feet screenings helped her realize that she had hip dysplasia that was affecting her gait.

“That was another big ‘aha’ moment,” Beauchamp said.

Beauchamp was one of 40 individuals with intellectual disabilities who participated in the November 2017 SOBC Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Nanaimo, including athletes from SOBC – Campbell River, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Oceanside, and Victoria.

>> Read more

Seeking more Club Fit coaches to support athlete fitness and health

Club Fit Fort St. John

Special Olympics BC Club Fit programs are growing around the province, providing weekly physical training to help athletes build their overall fitness and health to benefit them in their sport performance and throughout their lives! We are on the lookout for more coaches with kinesiology or personal training experience to help power these quality programs and create opportunities for SOBC athletes. We would be grateful for your help in spreading the word!

To get involved with this rewarding opportunity, interested volunteers can contact SOBC’s Helen Cheung by email or by phone at 604-737-3055 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Please click here to enjoy a Shaw TV Kootenays segment on SOBC – Invermere’s Club Fit program! Pictured at right: fun at SOBC – Fort St. John’s first Club Fit practice!

>> Read more about how Club Fit helps athletes

Column: Did you know better sport technique = better health?

Jacques Thibault (centre) with SOBC athletes Paige and Matthew

By Jacques Thibault, Special Olympics BC Sport Consultant

Jacques Thibault, an internationally recognized training and speed skating expert with a Master’s degree in science, works with Special Olympics BC athletes and coaches to help empower them to be their very best.

Now what does being able to swim with better technique, skate using crossovers, or good basketball dribbling have to do with health?

Being able to perform a sport with basic technique affects the amount of physical work during a session. A good swimmer can cover many more pool lengths than someone who has trouble swimming, and a good basketball dribbler will dribble the ball many times more and be part of the play much more than someone with limited skills.

It is not surprising to observe that in many instances, athletes with basic sport skills are often in best shape and have lower body fat. Moving more during practices and covering more distance is always a sign of energy consumption, of higher calories burning.

>> 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.

Comprised of the Regional Coordinators representing the eight SOBC Regions and respected leaders in the SOBC sport world, the council serves as the link between community and regional programs and the Board of Directors of Special Olympics BC. This group plays an important role in helping chart the course of SOBC sport program development, strategic plans, policies, and resources.

In 2017 the council welcomed three new Regional Coordinators: Marie-Helene Labonte for Region 1 (Kootenays), Karen Theriault for Region 4 (Burnaby-Delta-Richmond), and Tina Giesbrecht for Region 7 (northwest B.C.) and said farewell with sincere thanks to Sheila Hawton, Natalie D’Angelo, and Nicole Zacharias.

>> Read more

Coaches Corner: Special Olympics Saskatchewan Coaching Symposium

Special Olympics BC – Port Alberni coach Bill Scobbie, the winner of the 2017 SOBC Grassroots Coach Award, represented our province as a participant in the Special Olympics Saskatchewan Coaching Symposium. Thanks Bill for sharing this report and for all that you do!

Thanks to SOBC for giving me the opportunity to liaise and learn from Special Olympics Saskatchewan, and thanks to SOS for the warm prairie welcoming. The symposium was geared to coaches preparing athletes to succeed at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Nova Scotia and 2018 Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships in Prince Edward Island.

Highlight sessions included training schedules that were individualized, culminating in succeeding at Nationals; concussions, myths vs truths, and protocols that are designed to be fair yet protect our athletes; and leadership, recognizing your style and what will be effective for you and your athletes to positively succeed.

The weekend was full of great information presented in an interesting and engaging format. What a great group of coaches to learn with. I am sure that Saskatchewan will challenge B.C. to be the best it can be at Nationals and beyond.

SOBC staff update

Special Olympics icon

We are pleased to share that Joanie Hayes will be joining the Special Olympics BC team on November 29 as Competition and Youth Coordinator. Joanie has a diploma in sport science – kinesiology and a bachelor’s degree in physical education and coaching from Douglas College. Joanie currently volunteers with SOBC – Delta as a floor hockey coach and as the Athlete Liaison on the Local Committee. She also volunteers with the Canucks Autism Network and was involved with KidStart mentoring, a program of PLEA Community Services Society of B.C.

We are bidding a fond farewell to James Marchand, who is departing for a career change opportunity with KPMG. James’ last day with SOBC will be November 30 but we look forward to his continued involvement as a volunteer. 🙂

SOBC is now hiring a Communications Coordinator for a 12-month contract beginning in January, to provide support during the upcoming maternity leave of Communications Manager Megan Pollock. Please click here for details.