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March 2016 Newsletter

Team BC 2016 gold-medal-winning curlers from Quesnel

The Team BC Quesnel Lightning curling team, gold medallists at the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games

Team BC delivered at 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games

Special Olympics Team BC cross-country skiing podium sweep

The 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games took Team BC from sea to sea for the first time, and the 126 athletes delivered outstanding performances on the Rock. Team BC 2016 earned 120 medals and achieved many personal bests competing in seven sports at the Special Olympics Canada Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, from March 1 to 5.

“We are so thrilled with the results – both the personal bests and medals,” Team BC 2016 Chef de Mission Leslie Thornley said. “We really are so pleased with what the athletes did and how they represented us.”

Highlights included the triple gold medal performances by speed skater Paige Norton of Abbotsford, cross-country skier Francis Stanley of Kelowna, figure skater Marc Theriault of Surrey, and alpine skier Michael Langridge of Victoria, as well as the two exciting all-B.C. gold-medal games in curling and floor hockey, and a B.C. podium sweep in the 2.5-kilometre classic cross-country skiing M3 division by Vernon’s Justin Sigal (gold) and Prince George’s Josh Pudney (silver) and Danny Lafreniere (bronze).

Pictured above right: the cross-country podium sweep – snowy photo by coach Ray Huson

>> Read more

>> Full results

>> Photos and video

>> Recap stories and media coverage

New Car Dealers champion Special Olympics with Auto Show, annual auction

New Car Dealers Association of BC logo

The members of the New Car Dealers Association of BC have been strong supporters of Special Olympics athletes and programs throughout the province for 32 years, and they continued their amazing support of SOBC at the Auto Show Gala on March 23, which kicked off the Vancouver International Auto Show. The Auto Show, which runs March 23 to 27, is Western Canada’s best-attended consumer automotive event. This year, more than 400 new and customized vehicles are filling the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Team BC 2016 athlete Ken McLean, who won National Games gold in Newfoundland with his floor hockey team, addressed the Auto Show Gala to share his appreciation for Special Olympics and the support of B.C.’s New Car Dealers.

“Since joining Special Olympics, I have come out of my passive shell. I was able to get off the couch, get a job and be physically active. This has assisted me to develop friendships with fellow athletes, coaches and volunteers. This support network has allowed me to set goals and achieve them,” he said.

Also coming soon is the annual New Car Dealers Foundation / Special Olympics BC Auction, the online auction that has raised nearly $4.4 million for SOBC to date. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of New Car Dealers of BC!

>> Learn more

First Vancouver Polar Plunge for SOBC makes a big splash

Superhero Polar Plungers Greg and Pam Keith with SOBC athlete Michaela Robinson

The sun shone but the sea was frigid as brave souls got bold and cold at the first-ever Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC in Vancouver.

The 2016 Polar Plunge drew 90 Plungers to get freezin’ for a reason at Kitsilano Beach on March 5. Participants raised more than $30,000 to support SOBC.

The Polar Plunge, staged in partnership with the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run, saw 40 members of the Vancouver, Abbotsford, and West Vancouver police departments, Metro Vancouver Transit Police, and Canada Border Services Agency take the Plunge alongside teams, businesses, and individuals looking for a fun and chilly time.

Pictured at right are superheroes Greg and Pamela Keith of Dueck Auto Group, the Plunge’s top fundraising team, with SOBC – Surrey athlete Michaela Robinson!

“Once the teeth stopped chattering, we realized how much fun this was and how much money we were able to raise for Special Olympics,” VPD Insp. and BC LETR Executive member Howard Chow said. “The costumes, the hard work from the planning committee, and the support from the public and law enforcement community all contributed to the event’s incredible success.”

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Champions stand up for respect and against the R-word

On the eighth annual Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day, people from around the world took a stand to promote respect and to put an end to the hurtful and dehumanizing use of the R-word. Special Olympics BC members and supporters rallied in their communities and online to help make the world a more inclusive place.

Held on March 2 this year, the Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day is part of a year-round campaign that asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word and to use respectful, people-first language.

Pictured above right: L.V. Rogers Secondary School leadership students Maddie Sternloff, Sydney Zimmer, Noelle Wang, Kyra Burkart, Darian Voisard, Allie Zondervan, and Camille Gebhart with Spread the Word to End the Word pledges.

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Figure skaters and basketball players impress at BC Winter Games

Special Olympics BC athletes got to experience the thrill of competition, show off their skills, and meet new friends at the Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games. Fifty-eight Special Olympics basketball players and 10 figure skaters competed in the exciting events in Penticton February 25 to 28.

SOBC – Quesnel’s Brock Terlesky got a lot out of playing for the Cariboo-North East Zone 8 team, and he felt great pride in how his team improved throughout the tournament and earned the silver medal.

“It’s actually my first year in basketball, so this was a really great event for me,” Terlesky said.

At BC Games, SOBC athletes joined teammates from their respective regions to represent their home zones. Since many players on Terlesky’s team were not from his Local, he says the event was a great opportunity to mingle with other SOBC athletes.

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Because it’s 2016: Minister of Sport & Persons with Disabilities at Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

Canada's Minister of Sport Carla Qualtrough

Canada’s Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough, will speak to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on April 6 about her new federal mandate and how the business community can play a supporting role in the lead-up to Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Don’t miss this chance to hear from Minister Qualtrough about how the federal government plans to strengthen Canada’s sport and disability communities over the next four years.

To receive 50 per cent off non-member individual tickets and 50 per cent off non-member table purchases, please use the discount code SPCLOLYMPSBC

>> Read more

Exciting Regional Qualifier action is ongoing

Kudos to all of the athletes who are delivering amazing performances in Regional Qualifiers around the province, and to all the volunteers making these important events possible!

These competitions give athletes the opportunity to build their skills and confidence through competition, and seek to qualify for the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games. The 2017 Provincial Games are B.C.’s qualifier for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games, which are the national qualifier for the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games. For SOBC athletes, it all starts right here with Regional Qualifiers.

Last weekend saw an incredible 29 teams compete at the SOBC – North Shore March Madness Basketball Tournament, the Regional Qualifier for Regions 2, 3, 4, and 5. Elsewhere over the last month, the Powerlifting Regional Qualifier brought 42 great competitors together in Richmond, Region 2, 3, and 5 athletes hit the lanes for their 10-Pin Bowling Regional Qualifiers, Region 6 and 7 athletes toppled pins in their 5-Pin Bowling Regional Qualifiers, and Region 3 athletes churned up the water in their Swimming Regional Qualifier. Good luck to all the Region 4 athletes set to compete in their Swimming Regional Qualifier this weekend!

A significant number of Locals around the province are hosting these exciting competitions. Big thanks to all the volunteers and supporters who make these important opportunities possible, and best of luck to all competitors!

>> Regional Qualifier list

Fantastic start to law enforcement fundraising season

Law Enforcement Torch Run Vancouver Giants game fundraiser for SOBC

Thanks to the Delta Police Department and Special Olympics BC – Delta volunteers for raising more than $2,800 for SOBC in the Vancouver Giants hockey game 50/50 draw on March 11! SOBC – Delta athletes Brad Smith and Scott Fattedad performed a ceremonial puck drop for a cheering crowd before the Giants hit the ice.

Upcoming BC Law Enforcement Torch Run events

April 9: Support Lower Mainland law enforcement officers as they Cycle for a Cause on stationary bikes to raise funds and awareness for SOBC at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby.

April 23: Cheer on Mission RCMP members as they take turns sweating it out in full gear on a stationary bike and collecting donations from the public at Save-On-Foods in Mission.

April 29 to May 1: Donate to SOBC and help Free the Fuzz as members of the Oak Bay, Saanich, and Victoria police departments and the Central Saanich Police Service camp out on scaffolding for three days un support of Special Olympics.

May 19: Come out swinging for a great cause at the Metro Vancouver Transit Police Golf Tournament in Coquitlam! The $120 registration fee includes a round of golf, power cart, delicious banquet dinner, and a chance to win fantastic prizes.

>> More info

Celebrating award winners Jesse Shade and Ron Hammell

Aboriginal Award winner Jesse Shade and Premier Christy Clark

Congratulations to Special Olympics BC – Campbell River athlete Jesse Shade, winner of one of the inaugural Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport!

Shade, pictured at right receiving his award from Premier Christy Clark, is one of 12 recipients who have excelled in performance sport, displayed strong leadership qualities, are committed to higher education, and served as community role models both on and off the field of play. Please click here to read more

Warm congrats and thanks also go to SOBC – Burnaby Local Coordinator Ron Hammell, a 24-year volunteer who last week received the 2016 Sport BC Presidents’ Award for SOBC!

Presidents’ Awards are presented annually to volunteers from Sport BC member organizations who represent the spirit of volunteerism, and whose dedication, energy, and commitment contribute to development of their sport or organization. Hammell was one of the dedicated B.C. sport volunteers who were honoured in the Presidents’ Award ceremony that preceded Sport BC’s 50th annual Athlete of the Year Awards on March 10. Please click here to read more

And congrats to the SOBC – Kelowna Grizzlies softball team and coaches Lorena Mead and Dennis Richardson, all named deserving finalists in Kelowna’s 41st annual Civic and Community Awards!

The deadline for nominations for this year’s SOBC awards is April 1. 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.

Getting in the game with Regional Conferences

SOBC logo

Even though it was Super Bowl Sunday, even though it was the B.C. Family Day long weekend, 60 terrific Region 3 and 4 volunteers came together on February 7 to learn and rejuvenate at their Special Olympics BC Regional Conference.

Led by Region 3 Coordinator Donna Bilous around the theme of “Get in the Game,” the conference was the first in several years for Regions 3 and 4. The event provided inspiring and interactive presentations that offered a wide range of valuable material and encouragement to think outside the box.

Other upcoming Regional Conference opportunities:

  • Region 6: April 1 to 3, Camp Qwanoes, Crofton – limited spaces remain, interested volunteers should please contact Region 6 Coordinator Jean Tetarenko or their Local Coordinators
  • Regions 1 and 2: April 30 to May 1, Pines Bible Camp, Grand Forks – interested volunteers should please contact Jill Harris by the registration deadline Friday, March 25
  • Regions 7 and 8: September 30 to October 2, Ness Lake Bible Camp, Prince George – please contact your Regional Coordinator or Charlene Flood

>> Read more

Valuable opportunities at SOBC Healthy Athletes Screening Days

The Special Olympics BC Healthy Athletes Screening Day on March 19 in North Vancouver was a hit with 142 individuals with intellectual disabilities receiving free health screenings in a fun and welcoming environment. Thanks to all the volunteers and supporters who helped make the event a success! Please click here to check out photos

SOBC – Langley athlete Melanie Sauze-Leduc has had issues with brushing her teeth; volunteers at the Special Smiles screening showed her correct brushing technique using a smiling stuffed toy.

“I think it was wonderful!” Sauze-Leduc said.

Our next Healthy Athletes Screening Day is set to be held in Prince George on May 1! Stay tuned for details.

>> Learn more about Healthy Athletes

Celebrating National Volunteer Week

April 10 to 16, 2016 is National Volunteer Week, a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers. We send our heartfelt thanks to the more than 3,400 Special Olympics BC volunteers who so generously give their time and skills to this organization all year round. You make such remarkable moments and achievements possible! You truly change lives. In National Volunteer Week and all year round, please know that we are so grateful for all that you do!

Pictured at right: volunteer Team BC 2016 cross-country skiing coach Calvin Dyck of Prince George and athlete Cory Melnychuk of Quesnel – photo by volunteer mission staff and Region 6 Coordinator Jean Tetarenko

One year away from the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games

2017 Special Olympics World Games

March 14 marked exactly one year until the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games kick off in Graz, Schladming, and Ramsau. From March 14 to 25, 2017, more than 3,000 athletes from more than 100 nations will compete in Austria, joined by an expected 1,100 coaches, 5,000 family members, 1,000 media representatives, 3,000 volunteers, and 2,000 honored guests and Congress participants. Nearly 15,000 people will participate in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria in March 2017. The 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games were our national qualifier for these World Games.

“In exactly twelve months the beautiful country of Austria will host a World Winter Games that will showcase and celebrate the skills and gifts of our over 3,000 athletes who have trained hard to represent their countries on an international stage,” said Mary Davis, Acting CEO, Special Olympics International.

“This is the second time Austria will be home to a World Games. In 1993 Austria hosted a hugely successful Special Olympics World Winter Games and demonstrated then how a world event can be a catalyst for not only the development of Special Olympics, but for advancing public policy, attitudinal change, and inclusion of people with inclusion. In March 2017, Austria will once again open the hearts and minds of people towards people with intellectual disability, creating opportunities for inclusion leading to equality, acceptance and change in society whilst at the same time making an invaluable contribution to the quality of life of the athletes and their families, both in Austria and globally.”

>> Read more

Lace up for SOBC in Vancouver and Victoria

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon 2015 runners

Runners and walkers participating in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k and the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon can help Special Olympics BC transform lives through the joy of sport!

SOBC is grateful to be one of the official charities in the successful Scotiabank Charity Challenge at the SVHM on June 26. Participants fundraising for SOBC can use the Special Olympics charity code when you register to receive a discounted entry for the event. Run for free if you reach a minimum fundraising level of $150 for the five-kilometre run/walk, and $175 for the half-marathon. Please click here to register. To receive your discounted entry, use charity code 16VSOBC

The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon on October 9 includes the successful CHEK Charity Pledge Program, and SOBC is fortunate to be one of the 19 charities involved in 2016. Now in its 12th year, the program has raised more than $1.5 million to date.

There are a limited number of free spaces in the Victoria event available for people committed to fundraising for SOBC. Interested participants can contact Charlotte Taylor by email or by phone at 604-737-3056 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

If you wish to raise funds for a specific SOBC Local, we can make sure the money you raise goes to the community you would like to support.

SOBC staff update

Special Olympics BC has an immediate job opening for Coordinator – Performance Program – please click here for details.

The fundraising department is saying a fond farewell to Carolyn McCarthy, who is leaving for a great opportunity to manage educational events. Charlotte Taylor, current Manager, Fund Development, is excited to step into the role of liaison to the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run as well as supporting Locals in their fundraising initiatives.

We are glad to have Meg Ishida move out of her internship with SOBC and into the full-time Fundraising Coordinator position. Meg has completed a degree in fundraising and internships in fundraising and events with professional sports teams, and she spent the last 10 weeks supporting SOBC as a fundraising intern focusing on the Polar Plunge. She will lead SOBC’s support of national fundraising campaigns and events.

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