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March 2015 Newsletter

Alpine skiing medallists at the 2015 Special Olympics BC Winter Games

New Car Dealers Association of BC supporting SOBC in Auto Show, annual auction

Vancouver International Auto Show 2014

The 95th annual Vancouver International Auto Show kicks off today! Held this week at the Vancouver Convention Centre, this is the largest consumer show in Western Canada with more than 85,000 guests expected. The New Car Dealers Association of BC is a long-standing supporter of Special Olympics BC, and Dealers always look for opportunities to raise awareness about Special Olympics at events such as the Auto Show. SOBC athletes will be featured at the highly anticipated Auto Show Gala, the industry launch event tonight!

Also coming soon is the annual New Car Dealers Foundation / Special Olympics BC Auction, the online auction that has raised more than $4.2 million for SOBC to date. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of New Car Dealers of BC.

>> Read more about the New Car Dealers Association staff, big supporters of Special Olympics

Special Olympics Team Canada update: new members, training camps, and star appearances

Congratulations to Adam Advocaat of Special Olympics BC – Coquitlam, who has joined the Special Olympics Team Canada 2015 soccer squad! Advocaat was recently added to the team and he is thrilled about the opportunity to compete in his first World Games.

“It was a huge surprise when I found out that they had selected me to join Team Canada’s soccer team. I’m really excited just thinking about it. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to bring myself up to speed with the rest of the team, but I know I’ll pull through and give it my all for my first time on the world stage. I wouldn’t give up this opportunity for everything,” Advocaat wrote in an e-mail.

We are also thrilled to congratulate powerlifting coach Ken Saunders of SOBC – Kelowna, who was added to Team Canada in December, and Regional Coordinator Jean Tetarenko of Region 6, who has joined the team as an ambassador to be with the national team throughout their journey at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles. Kudos to these incredibly deserving volunteers!

Throughout the winter, the Special Olympics Team Canada members in B.C. have been working hard to be ready to compete in their summer sports. Team members will be participating in sport-specific training camps in the upcoming weeks and months, and the golfing crew led the way with their camp in California in February.

>> Read more

Law Enforcement Torch Run raising funds and awareness with spring events

BC Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics

BC Law Enforcement Torch Run members are planning several exciting events to support Special Olympics BC this spring! First up is tonight’s Battle of the Badges, where the Saanich Watchdogs and Victoria Capitals will face off in a friendly challenge to benefit SOBC. The fun starts at 6 p.m. at Victoria’s Archie Browning Sports Centre.

May will be a busy month, with the Victoria Police Department hosting their Free the Fuzz fundraiser on May 1 to 3, the CN Police Service staging a ball hockey tournament in support of SOBC in Squamish on May 9, and the Metro Vancouver Transit Police inviting golfers to tee off for Special Olympics in their May 14 tournament in Coquitlam.

Join the fun and support SOBC with the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run!

>> Read more

Lower Mainland Healthy Athletes Screening Day coming April 11

Healthy Hearing screening at SOBC's 2014 Healthy Athletes Screening Day in the Lower Mainland

Special Olympics BC is looking forward to hosting our latest Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Vancouver on April 11! Open to Special Olympics athletes and all individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Lower Mainland, the fun, free event will involve health screenings in five disciplines in a welcoming environment. Participants will come away with lots of great health information and resources as well as plenty of free giveaway items!

Date: Saturday, April 11
Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Notre Dame Regional Secondary School, Vancouver

It will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete all the screenings, so participants are encouraged to arrive no later than 2:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed and will have a fun experience making this valuable event possible!

>> Full details

At the 2015 Special Olympics BC Winter Games, 281 individuals with intellectual disabilities received free Special Olympics Healthy Athletes screenings in five disciplines thanks to fantastic volunteer and sponsor support!

>> Read more about Healthy Athletes

SOBC athletics, aquatics athletes warming up for Western Canada Summer Games

SOBC - Prince George swimmer David Dunn

Congratulations to the eight athletes and four coaches selected to represent Special Olympics BC at the Western Canada Summer Games 2015 Wood Buffalo!

The SOBC athletics team bound for Wood Buffalo, Alberta, will be SOBC – Burnaby athletes April Armstrong and Daniel Batson and SOBC – Langley athletes Abigale Calvert and Michael Savage. They’ll be backed by experienced athletics coaches Deborah Carter of SOBC – Surrey and Tom Norton of SOBC – Abbotsford.

Swimmers Cassey Davies of SOBC – Abbotsford, David Dunn of SOBC – Prince George (pictured at right), Taylor Hyde of SOBC – Vancouver, and Jesse Shade of SOBC – Campbell River will hit the pool in the Western Canada Games, supported by dedicated aquatics coaches Brianna Kowalski of SOBC – Abbotsford and Aaron Leontowich of SOBC – Kamloops.

>> Read more

Champions spreading the word to end the R-word

Special Olympics BC Spread the Word to End the Word

March 4, the seventh annual Spread the Word to End the Word® Day, saw an inspiring outpouring of calls to end the hurtful use of the R-word. While people all over the world shared their passionate pledges and messages of support, many Special Olympics BC members and supporters championed the cause in their own channels, helping change hearts and minds to build a more respectful, inclusive world.

In addition to the heartwarming support circulated in social media, SOBC had the amazing opportunity to advocate respect and an end to the R-word at the sold-out Vancouver Whitecaps FC season opener at BC Place on March 7.

>> Read more

SOBC skaters shine at Canada Games

SOBC - Vancouver figure skater Eric Pahima

At the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, Special Olympics BC figure skaters turned heads with both their on-ice abilities and off-ice sportsmanship. Even though they headed to the Canada Games straight from their four busy days at the 2015 Special Olympics BC Winter Games in Kamloops, the SOBC athletes and coaches presented the Prince George competition with stellar examples of true sportsmanship and love of sport.

Stephanie Divin of SOBC – Surrey, Matthew Lai of SOBC – Richmond, Eric Pahima of SOBC – Vancouver, and Emily Walzak of SOBC – Victoria were outstanding representatives of Special Olympics at the Canada Games along with their dedicated coaches Jessica Chapelski of SOBC – Vancouver and Martin Newham of SOBC – Victoria.

>> Read more

Leadership Council update

Special Olympics BC’s Leadership Council provides vital guidance for our organization and movement. We are so grateful for the extensive contributions of these valued volunteers. Recently we have been delighted to welcome Jean Tetarenko as Region 6 Coordinator, while bidding a grateful farewell to Jo Osborne and Glen Wyse.

>> Read more

Down Syndrome Research Foundation seeking health survey responses

Parents and caregivers of individuals with Down syndrome can help shape the future of health care in B.C. for people with Down syndrome by participating in the new survey launched by the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. The DSRF, along with key partners in the medical community, is undertaking a critical survey that could play a role in shaping the future of health care for individuals with Down syndrome in B.C.

The survey, focusing on the current health status and needs of individuals with Down syndrome in BC, is open to parents and caregivers of a child, youth, or adult with Down syndrome residing in the province of B.C. DSRF’s aim is to have every family in the B.C. Down syndrome community complete this survey by the end of March.

>> Read more

SOBC award nominations

2014 SOBC Athletic Achievement Award winner Magnus Batara and parents.

Special Olympics BC is accepting nominations for our five competitive and prestigious annual awards. We are grateful for all the amazing submissions we annually receive for each award, as they provide a remarkable account of the inspiring achievements and contributions by athletes and volunteers across the province. Locals can nominate the incredible people in their community for one of the following awards:

  • Athletic Achievement Award
  • Grassroots Coach Award
  • Howard Carter Award
  • President’s Award
  • Spirit of Sport Award

Please click here to find the nomination forms and more information about each award. Please note that those who wish to re-submit their nominees from last year can do so.

Please submit all nominations by e-mail by April 13.

Pictured at right: 2014 Athletic Achievement Award winner Magnus Batara with his parents.

SOBC Youth Sports Day returning to EA

SOBC Youth Sports Day 2014

Special Olympics BC is looking forward to hosting the 2015 Youth Sports Day at the amazing EA Sports complex in Burnaby. Set for May 23, the event will be tons of fun for currently registered and new athletes ages two to 12. Registration forms and further details will be available in early April, so mark your calendars and stay tuned for details!

Parent Colin Featherstonhaugh has said his young son Sam’s “most favourite activity is Special Olympics,” and he’s not alone in finding the program to be so much fun.

“The children I see at the Active Start program are really happy. They like to be there. They’re eager participants, for the most part, in all the activities. Sometimes Sam is not that interested in the stretching part of it, but we’re working on that. He loves Special Olympics, and enjoys seeing his friends.”

>> Read more from last year’s Youth Sports Day

>> SOBC calendar

SOBC beginnings: volunteers and visionaries

Special Olympics Team BC 1981

Back in 1977, when a young teacher moved from Washington to Kamloops and wanted to get involved with Special Olympics, she found she couldn’t – it didn’t exist here in B.C. So she and a number of remarkable volunteers sought to change that to create a whole new world of opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

As part of our series celebrating Special Olympics BC’s 35th anniversary, this month we pay tribute to the pioneering volunteers who started SOBC, many of whom are still involved with us today.

These dedicated volunteers and visionaries came together three-and-a-half decades ago and together overcame many challenges to achieve one goal: helping people with intellectual disabilities experience success through physical activity.

>> Read more

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