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April 2017 Newsletter

Grateful for volunteers

In National Volunteer Week (April 23 to 29) and all year round, we are so grateful for the 3,900+ Special Olympics BC volunteers who power the SOBC programs, competitions, skill development, friendships, and moments that change lives! Photo courtesy of volunteer SOBC Region 6 Coordinator Jean Tetarenko

Special Olympics Team Canada shone in Austria

Team Canada members Elizabeth Roman and Darlene Jakubowski

After years of training and competition to reach the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, the members of Team Canada from British Columbia truly delivered in Austria March 14 to 24.

Special Olympics Team Canada’s 16 athletes, eight coaches, and one mission staff member from B.C. did their province proud as they were well prepared to compete with skill and determination on the world stage. Competing in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, figure skating, snowshoeing, and speed skating, all of the B.C. athletes medalled, collectively earning 11 gold, 10 silver, and five bronze.

“We are very proud of this province’s members of Special Olympics Team Canada 2017. They trained so hard to be able to perform at their best on the world stage, and they showed such inspiring dedication, sportsmanship, and skill,” said Lois McNary, Special Olympics BC Vice President, Sport.

>> Full results and links

New Car Dealers driving support for SOBC

New Car Dealers and Special Olympics BC

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. Today marks the kickoff of this year’s New Car Dealers Foundation / Special Olympics BC Auction, the online auction that has raised more than $4.5 million for SOBC to date. The auction will run April 28 to May 4 with Dealers and supporters around the province bidding online here.

We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the New Car Dealers of BC!

Pictured above right are athletes Vincent Li of Special Olympics BC – Richmond and Alison Rodrigues of SOBC – Vancouver with New Car Dealers Foundation Chairman John Wynia and his wife Carol at the 2017 Vancouver International Auto Show Gala.

Fun spring fundraising with the BC LETR

Victoria Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics BC

We are looking forward to some amazing opportunities to raise funds and awareness this spring with the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run!

Victoria Free the Fuzz and Torch Run

Special Olympics BC athletes and LETR members are set for an exciting weekend of fundraising in Victoria! Starting today (Friday) at 4:45 p.m. and running through Sunday (April 30), law enforcement champions will camp out on scaffolding to raise funds and awareness for SOBC at Free the Fuzz. This event will take place at Uptown shopping centre and include live music, a K9 demonstration, and fun activities for the whole family. Also on Sunday, SOBC supporters will hit the Galloping Goose Trail for the Victoria Torch Run. This fun run/walk will be followed by a delicious pancake breakfast by donation.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police Charity Golf Tournament

Get out your golf shoes for the Metro Vancouver Transit Police Charity Golf Tournament on May 18! This great day on the greens will feature a banquet dinner, silent auction, and raffle. For more information, or to enter a team, contact 604-516-7426 or specialolympics@transitpolice.bc.ca

Prince George Torch Run

Everyone is welcome to attend the Prince George Torch Run on June 6! Stay tuned for more details.

Lower Mainland Torch Run

Lace up for the Lower Mainland Torch Run from June 6 to 9! Participants will sweep through Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley, Surrey, and White Rock on June 6, Burnaby, North Vancouver, Vancouver, and West Vancouver on June 7, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pitt Meadows, and Port Moody on June 8, and Delta, Ladner, New Westminster, and Richmond on June 9.

>> Learn more about LETR events

Upcoming events helping athletes, coaches, & families change the game in health

Smiles with Special Olympics Health

Special Olympics BC health programs aim to change the game for athlete health, combatting the critical issues facing individuals with intellectual disabilities. There will be several great health events in May!

Family Health Forums

Calling all families of individuals with intellectual disabilities in and around Nanaimo and Burnaby! In May, SOBC is hosting two Family Health Forums to give families of people with IDs direct access to information and connections for health care, social services, and Special Olympics programming. The events will also give health care professionals, community leaders, and social service providers opportunities to learn from families about their experiences.

The Nanaimo Family Health Forum is coming May 7 and the Lower Mainland event will be May 27. Please register by May 1 by contacting SOBC’s Ashten Black by email or by phone at 604-737-3081 direct / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Functional testing

Open to all SOBC athletes and coaches, functional testing involves exercises that measure fitness and foundational movements, helping track and motivate training, progress, and health. The next functional testing sessions are coming up May 13 in Abbotsford and May 14 in Coquitlam!

To register, please contact SOBC’s James Marchand by email or by phone at 604-616-1342 direct / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.


The SOBC Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Fort St. John and the inaugural Club Fit Summit were great successes thanks to all of the incredible people involved! The summit included inspiring discussions with dedicated Club Fit coaches from around the province, bringing together fitness, health, and sport! Stay tuned for more details from the awesome Healthy Athletes event in Fort St. John.

Another big National Volunteer Week shoutout to all the incredible volunteers who help make our life-changing health programs and events possible! Fort St. John Healthy Athletes event volunteers are pictured above right.

2017 SOBC award nominations for outstanding athletes, coaches, and volunteers

2017 SOBC award nominees

We are excited to congratulate this year’s nominees for Special Olympics BC’s five annual awards! These accomplished and inspiring athletes, coaches, and volunteers have been nominated by their peers in recognition of their outstanding achievements, spirit, and contributions to Special Olympics.

Please join us in congratulating these 38 deserving nominees!

The winners of the 2017 SOBC awards will be announced over the coming weeks on the SOBC website and social media accounts.

>> Read more

Counting down to #ShareaDream with Staples Canada and Special Olympics

2016 Staples Give a Toonie Share a Dream campaign in Richmond

Just over a week until Special Olympics Canada and Staples Canada kick off the 17th year of the Give a Toonie Share a Dream fundraising campaign!

From May 6 to 28, Staples Canada stores across the country will be raising funds and awareness to help support 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.

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

>> Learn more

Kia becomes a Special Olympics Canada National Partner

Kia Canada announcement Vancouver International Auto Show

At the Vancouver International Auto Show, Special Olympics BC athletes Alexander Pang and Vincent Li and President Dan Howe joined Kia Canada to announce their multi-year pledge of support as the official national automotive partner of Special Olympics Canada. In addition to providing financial and vehicle support, Kia will give employees time to volunteer at various activities across the country to help the more than 20,000 Special Olympics volunteers enrich the lives of Canadians with intellectual disabilities.

“Kia is proud to pledge our support to the organization that does so much to ensure that Canadians with intellectual disabilities are able to feel part of a community, improve their health and fitness, build their self-esteem and to develop other life skills,” said Ted Lancaster, VP & COO, Kia Canada Inc. “Led by myself, Kia will take a hands-on role in helping to raise much-needed funds and awareness for Special Olympics – as well as helping to spread their message of acceptance and inclusion.”

>> Read more

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

2017 Special Olympics BC Games latest news

Canada's Tournament Capital welcomes you

To build excitement and share key information ahead of Special Olympics BC’s largest Provincial Games to date, the 2017 SOBC Games Organizing Committee and Regional team leaders came together in Kamloops on April 22.

The Games Organizing Committee members shared their extensive plans, provided details on the venues and logistics, and took questions from the Chefs de Mission to help ensure comprehensive preparations to host the Special Olympics athletes and coaches from around the province and the Yukon.

Canada’s Tournament Capital has a wealth of experience with hosting outstanding sport events, and the GOC members bring great knowledge and commitment to their roles. Many of them also gave their time to the 2015 SOBC Winter Games, and they are all dedicated to the same goal, says Chair Karl deBruijn: “to ensure each athlete has an incredible and enjoyable experience.”

>> Read more

Volunteers wanted

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!

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 scenic Hillside Stadium at the Tournament Capital Centre is the home of the Kamloops Track and Field Club and the Thompson Rivers University varsity men’s and women’s track teams. It will be a hotbed for athletics excitement in the 2017 SOBC Games, with 131 competitors ready to run, jump, and throw. The facility boasts an eight-lane 400-metre rubberized track, dedicated jump and throw areas, on-site concessions, and multi-tiered bleacher seating for 1,800.

Spectators should please note that there will be little shade in their areas, so they should be prepared with sunscreen, hats, and/or an umbrella.

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

>> Games site

Draft an Athlete for the 2017 SOBC Games

2017 SOBC Summer Games logo

Donors can help give Special Olympics athletes from across B.C. the exciting, empowering, and frequently life-changing experience of competing in the 2017 SOBC Summer Games by Drafting an Athlete!

Draft an Athlete donations will help fund travel, accommodation, meals, and competition costs. But the true impact will be felt by the athlete whose life will be changed by the skills, friendships, and self-confidence they develop at the Games.

>> Learn more and Draft an Athlete

Teeing up the Goldcorp Invitational to support Special Olympics

SOBC athlete Malcolm and golfers at the 2016 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

SOBC athletes set to compete at 2017 Canada Summer Games

Melissa Semke of SOBC - Surrey

More than 4,000 athletes and coaches will converge on Winnipeg for the 2017 Canada Summer Games July 28 to August 13, and eight Special Olympics BC athletes and two coaches will be part of the athletics and swimming action!

The Canada Games are this country’s largest multi-sport event for young athletes, and in 2017 will celebrate their 50th anniversary and Canada’s 150th birthday.

The SOBC competitors from around the province have been selected to compete based on their qualifications including performance over the 2015-16 sport season and Regional Qualifiers. Please join us in congratulating them and wishing them luck!

>> Read more

motionball’s fun and inclusive Marathon of Sport events return to B.C.

motionball Marathon of Sport 2016

The inspiring motionball Marathon of Sport events are coming to Vancouver in June and Kelowna in September!

In the Marathon of Sport, young professionals compete alongside local Special Olympics athletes in a variety of exciting sports, such as basketball, soccer, and beach volleyball. Teams have a lot of fun, create meaningful friendships, and raise funds to support the Special Olympics Canada Foundation and Special Olympics programs across the country.

“We do it for the [SOBC] athletes,” Kelowna Marathon of Sport Co-Director Donnie Ungaro says. “They are very heartfelt, genuine and amazing people. We want to get our generation, the 25 to 45 year olds, out to be Special Olympics coaches, to get involved, to interact with the athletes outside of this day.”

This year, the Marathon of Sport Vancouver presented by Vega will take place on June 10 at the EA Sports complex in Burnaby, and the Marathon of Sport Kelowna presented by Interior Savings Credit Union will be held on September 23 at City Park.

>> Check out this video about motionball and the Marathon of Sport

>> Learn more and support participants

Empowerment through Athlete Leadership

SOBC - Abbotsford athlete Katie Marchbank in Athlete Speakers Bureau 1

Skills, valuable perspectives, and inspiring stories were on display at the Special Olympics BC Athlete Leadership Conference April 1 and 2 in Richmond, with 68 amazing athletes and more than 40 volunteer speech coaches and facilitators from all over the province.

The participants from 30 Locals worked on public speaking and leadership skills in the event’s Athlete Speakers Bureau 1 and 2 courses, Governance workshop, and Health Heroes training.

“Special Olympics is somewhere I can feel accepted and not out of place. I love being part of a team, competing, and winning medals. It makes me feel proud of what I have accomplished.” SOBC – Langley athlete Julia Wood said in her ASB1 speech.

>> Read more

Spreading the word to end the R-word

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

Article courtesy of Roshan Gosal

University of the Fraser Valley student Roshan Gosal, with the help of more than 70 student volunteers and numerous Special Olympics athletes, has initiated the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign in Abbotsford for the third consecutive year. The campaign has the support of all 11 Abbotsford high schools, UFV, and the City of Abbotsford.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun and UFV President Dr. Mark Evered were the first to sign the forms pledging their support to eliminate the derogatory use of the R-word and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

The campaign will be showing up at different times all over Abbotsford in the next few months, including at UFV on April 4 and 6 sponsored by a club Gosal founded called Friends of Special Olympics. Dr. Evered, Gosal, and local volunteers are pictured above right (photo courtesy of UFV).

>> Read more

>> Watch a great Global BC interview with Gosal and athlete Paige Norton

Coaches Corner: corrective exercise booklet & NCCP course dates

Functional testing

It is that time of year again – functional testing time! Some athletes and coaches may have already taken part in functional testing sessions this season, and some may be set to attend our sessions in Abbotsford on May 13 and Coquitlam on May 14.

After completing functional testing sessions, athletes receive a corrective exercise booklet that contains exercises to improve an athlete’s fitness. You can find this booklet, along with related videos to help with the exercises, on our website.

If you have any questions about functional testing or the corrective exercise booklet, please feel free to contact James Marchand by email or by phone at 604-616-1342 direct / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

NCCP workshops

An additional NCCP Special Olympics Competition Sport Workshop is being planned for Smithers on June 3 and 4! Informative Special Olympics NCCP courses provide professional development opportunities for SOBC coaches, and help create quality training experiences for athletes. The next courses to come are in Campbell River May 6 and 7 and Langley May 13 and 14, followed by Smithers.

To find event details, please visit the SOBC website calendar.

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