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January 2017 Newsletter

Special Olympics BC Powerlifting Performance Camp

Counting down to the 2017 Special Olympics World Games

Team Canada SOBC coaches and mission staff

The 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games are fast approaching, and the Team Canada members from B.C. are raring to go!

From March 14 to 25, 15 SOBC athletes, eight coaches, and one mission staff member will be representing their province and country with pride at the World Games in the Austrian host communities Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos, and Ramsau. They will be part of the 148-member Canadian delegation alongside 2,700 athletes and 1,100 coaches from 107 countries, joined by an estimated 3,000 Games volunteers, 5,000 family members and friends, and 2,800 honoured guests, media members, and congress participants.

Through November, December, and January, the Special Olympics Team Canada members have been working hard in their home communities and coming together for training camps across the country. The athletes, coaches, and mission staff took on sport-specific training, mental performance techniques, dryland training, team bonding, and more with the help of experts and celebrity athlete supporters.

>> Read more

Make a splash with the 2017 Polar Plunge

Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC

We can’t wait for the 2017 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC presented by Westminster Savings on March 4!

This frigid and fun Law Enforcement Torch Run event will see participants show off their courage in a costume contest, earn awesome incentives, and plunge into the icy waters off Kitsilano Beach. Plungers can sign up as a team or an individual. Encourage your friends, family, colleagues, and classmates to take part and join the fun!

Too chicken to get chilly? You can still show your support by making a donation to the Polar Plunge. If you are interested in volunteering at the event, please send your contact details to plunge@specialolympics.bc.ca.

>> Register now

Awareness and insights at the World Outlook Financial Conference

World Outlook Financial Conference

This year’s World Outlook Financial Conference will be another great opportunity for attendees to gain first-rate financial insights and for Special Olympics BC to raise awareness.

Since 1990, the World Outlook Financial Conference has been bringing top-quality financial analysts together with sophisticated Canadian investors to share world-class information and analysis. Their goals are simple: “We want to protect attendees from profound financial instability encompassing the world. And we want to make them money.”

We are grateful that SOBC will once again have a presence at the WOFC on February 3 and 4 in Vancouver, accepting donations from attendees and sharing stories of our athletes and programs.
Our thanks to conference founder Michael Campbell for the event’s amazing support of Special Olympics.

Sobeys Better Food Fund launching soup fundraiser for Special Olympics

Sobeys Better Food Fund

The Sobeys Better Food Fund is launching a brand-new soup flavour in February, and 25 cents from the sale of each tub will be donated to Special Olympics Canada!

The delicious new Creamy Mexican-Style Black Bean Chipotle Soup is part of the Sobeys Sensations by Compliments soup line, produced by Campbell’s. The soup will be available in stores February through July 2017, including Sobeys, Safeway, and IGA stores throughout Western Canada, and will be launched with festivities in select stores across the country on February 4.

Thanks to the Sobeys Better Food Fund for helping us all to eat better, feel better, and do better!

Building provincial and national athlete leadership

Athlete Leadership participant Shayne Blandin

Special Olympics Athlete Leadership programs give athletes the chance to develop their public speaking skills, governance knowledge, and confidence, helping them grow as leaders off the fields of play. The next opportunity for Special Olympics BC athletes to participate is coming up March 31 to April 2 in the Lower Mainland, where SOBC will offer Athlete Speakers Bureau 1 and 2, Athlete Governance, and Health Heroes courses.

Athletes and volunteers who would like to participate are asked to contact their Local Coordinators. Registration forms are on their way out, and the deadline to register will be March 10. We look forward to working with all participants, returning and new!

SOBC – Comox Valley athlete Jake Hooper, who has completed ASB and Governance programs, recently travelled to Toronto to participate in a national Special Olympics working group to develop a new Canadian Athlete Leadership Council.

>> Read more

Children thrive with SOBC youth programs

Soskay Matsunaga had a blast in a SOBC – Whistler Valley youth program

Akiho Matsunaga said her six-year-old son Soskay had a wonderful experience in Special Olympics BC – Whistler Valley’s Active Start/FUNdamentals program. Matsunaga said the youth program was a lot of fun and she could see Soskay’s physical skills improve every week. At the end of each session Soskay would say, “More!” in American Sign Language.

The number of SOBC youth programs continues to grow across the province and current programs are going strong. There are now 107 Active Start, FUNdamentals, and Sport Start programs running in communities around B.C. for children with intellectual disabilities ages two to 18.

>> Read more

GoodLife Kids Foundation joins youth program supporters

We are grateful to the GoodLife Kids Foundation for granting $5,000 to support Special Olympics BC youth programs and help children with intellectual disabilities thrive! They join Goldcorp, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of Canada, and Tim Hortons in supporting SOBC’s opportunities for youth throughout the province.

Our Active Start, FUNdamentals, and Sport Start programs help children and youth with intellectual disabilities develop motor, sport, and social skills in a fun and welcoming environment.

>> Learn more

2017 SOBC Games venues and sponsors in the spotlight

Special Olympics BC Games softball venue

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! This month, take a look at the Tournament Capital Ranch (softball).

The spectacular setting of the Tournament Capital Ranch will wow the 12 teams (180 athletes) set to play at this new recreational facility. The expansive venue offers eight championship-quality fields, on-site concessions, parking for up to 350 vehicles, and green space for team tents, as well as miles of river views and walking opportunities.

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

Celebrate inspiring people with award nominations

Special Olympics BC’s provincial awards recognize excellence and celebrate the life-changing people who make this community so remarkable.

This year’s nomination forms for the five annual SOBC awards will be available online and sent out to Locals on February 1, so please start brainstorming with your Local Committees about submissions for deserving nominees! The deadline for nominations will be April 1.

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!

Another upcoming opportunity to recognize the enormous contributions made by volunteers can be found with the Canada’s Volunteer Awards program – please click here to find details. This year’s deadline to nominate outstanding volunteers is February 3. The award recipients will be recognized at a ceremony where they will receive a pin and a certificate signed by the Prime Minister. In addition, regional award recipients will be eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $5,000 grant. The national award recipient will be eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $10,000 grant.

Standing together to end bullying


A sport environment in which participants are exposed to negative experiences such as bullying can be harmful and cause individuals to quit. viaSport British Columbia found that 55 per cent of B.C. sport organizations surveyed know of athletes who have dropped out of sport because of bullying.

That’s why viaSport and the Government of B.C. have launched a new #ERASEbullying initiative for every provincial and local sport organization and all B.C. citizens. On February 22, provincial sport organizations will celebrate the Province’s first Declaration of Commitment to erase bullying in sport across B.C.

We’ve taken the pledge and you can too – find out more at www.viaSport.ca/erasebullying

Please click here to watch a new #ERASEbullying video featuring Special Olympics athlete Paige Norton, Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Heil, Paralympic gold medalist Richard Peter, Vancouver Whitecaps Carl Valentine, Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden, and more.

Another important anti-bullying day for your calendars is the ninth annual Spread the Word to End the Word international awareness day coming up on March 1. This movement aims to end the derogatory use of the R-word and pledge respect toward all individuals, making the world a more accepting and inclusive place for all, especially those with intellectual disabilities.

>> Pledge respect at r-word.org

>> Read more about last year’s Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day

2017 anniversary celebrations for SOBC Locals

Happy birthday to the SOBC Locals marking anniversary celebrations in 2017

Happy New Year to the amazing athletes, coaches, volunteers, and supporters of Special Olympics BC all over the province and the planet! We are excited to start the year by wishing happy birthday to the SOBC Locals marking anniversary celebrations in 2017.

SOBC is so fortunate to have incredible athletes and volunteers in 57 communities around the province, and we are continually amazed by the long-standing volunteer dedication that makes programs possible all over B.C. Each year, SOBC recognizes the Locals who are marking anniversary seasons, testament to their inspiring ongoing dedication to helping athletes and being part of this incredible movement. We are bringing some of these anniversary celebrations online so everyone can join in recognizing the achievements of these Locals!

>> Read more

New followup cards to help health

Special Olympics BC health screening followup cards

Special Olympics BC’s Healthy Athletes events offer free health screenings in a fun and welcoming environment, helping ensure individuals with intellectual disabilities can get the care they need. Our Healthy Athletes screening events will now include new followup cards being sent to participants. As part of the SOBC Healthy Communities initiative, we are implementing new steps to help make sure that athletes are receiving the followup care they need and deserve after they attend Healthy Athletes screenings.

As many of you already know, during Healthy Athletes screenings we hand out referrals that indicate if the athlete requires a subsequent followup appointment in any of the health disciplines. The new followup postcards that SOBC is sending out will help remind athletes who required appointments, and help us connect them with more support if needed.

The cards will show in which discipline or disciplines the athlete needs to seek followup care. To help serve the athletes, the cards will also ask if the athlete has: 1) gone to a followup appointment already, 2) not yet gone to a followup appointment, 3) do not have a doctor so could not go to a followup appointment, 4) if they need help finding a doctor, and/or 5) if they do not have the referral information and would like us to send a copy.

There is room for comments on the card and the postage will be pre-paid. All the athlete needs to do is fill it out and drop it back into the mail. This information is very important to help ensure athletes get the health care they need.

Thanks to all for filling out the cards and creating inclusive health for all!

>> Read more about Healthy Athletes and SOBC health programs

Donate your vehicle to SOBC

Donate a Car

Did you know that you can donate your vehicle to support Special Olympics BC? There is no cost to you, and it’s incredibly easy! Working on our behalf, Donate a Car takes care of the entire donation process from the pickup to the final sale, and works to maximize the dollar amount passed on to SOBC.

Donating your car to support SOBC is a convenient and generous way to pass along or dispose of a vehicle. Donate a Car accepts cars, trucks, RVs, boats, motorcycles, and other vehicles, old or new, running or not. Your vehicle will either be recycled or sold at auction, depending on your vehicle and location. Donate a Car will then forward the net proceeds to SOBC, and we will send you a tax receipt.

Your donation will help support SOBC’s life-changing sport programs and opportunities for more than 4,600 people with intellectual disabilities around the province.

5-pin bowling on the move in Games cycle

Special Olympics 5-pin bowling

Exciting changes are ahead for Special Olympics 5-pin bowlers across the country! The sport will be moving out of the summer Games cycle and into the winter Games cycle.

What this means is that 5-pin bowling will be in the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games and the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games, and then will move into its new cycle and will be in the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games followed by a National Championship/Games in 2020.

We’re looking forward to offering 5-pin bowling in the next two Provincial Games!

>> Read more

Coaches’ Corner: concussion management

With the current heightened awareness surrounding concussions in sport, Special Olympics BC sought the expertise of SportMedBC to deliver an up-to-date presentation about concussions to our coaches at the Coaching Summit held in Richmond in October 2016. Philippe Saucier, Program Manager of Safety and Event Services for SportMedBC, delivered a very informative session with anecdotes and insight from his time as a trainer at Trinity Western.

He has shared his presentation with us so that all SOBC coaches can help increase concussion awareness.

Another great resource is found at cattonline.com, which includes a helpful downloadable pocket concussion assessment tool.

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