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December 2017 Newsletter

Warmest season's greetings!

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

SOBC year-end newsletter available now

SOBC newsletter cover image

2017 will go into the history books as an inspiring and impactful year for Special Olympics BC. Nearly 1,200 athletes with intellectual disabilities inspired everyone watching as they competed in the largest Special Olympics BC Games to date. Our year-round programs and fundraising support continued to grow and strengthen, changing more lives through the power and joy of sport, and changing the way the world sees people with intellectual disabilities. We launched a new strategic plan that will help SOBC continue to grow and increase the impact of our game-changing movement with a strong vision for the next four years and many more to come.

Read all about it in the 2017 SOBC year-end newsletter, featuring some of the great stories and inspiring moments that happened around the province this year!

>> Find the 2017 newsletter and more

Giving the gift of sport this holiday season

Gift of sport

This year, supporters of Special Olympics BC can give a gift that gives back! Holiday donations to SOBC help provide year-round opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to develop confidence, cultivate friendships, and reveal their true potential through the power of sport.

Please share our holiday giving page and help support our life-changing sport and competition experiences, important health screenings, and skill-building opportunities across the province!
New for 2017, donations made in honour of loved ones at www.sobcholidaygiving2017.com can send a free SOBC holiday e-card to their recipient.

Our thanks to all who supported Special Olympics BC on Giving Tuesday! And also thanks to everyone donating this holiday season and spreading the word to help enrich lives with Special Olympics BC!

>> Donate now

Excitement building for 2018 at Team BC Training Squad camps

Team BC 2018 Training Squad rhythmic gymnast Katherine Burns

The Team BC 2018 Training Squad is already hard at work preparing for next year’s 2018 Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships in Prince Edward Island and 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Nova Scotia! November marked the start of the provincial team’s series of training camps, where athletes and coaches come together and learn new techniques and skills to help them be at their best on the national stage in 2018.

Training camps got underway in mid-November with the 5- and 10- pin bowling camp. Making their way to Coquitlam from all across the province, 68 athletes and coaches gathered to learn from sport experts from Bowl BC and practice their moves on the lanes.

For SOBC – Quesnel 5-pin bowler Eldon Carter, the camp was a great opportunity to learn from other coaches and experts, meet his team, and pump up the team spirit. “I like meeting other people who are part of the competition,” he said, adding: “Team BC is number 1!”

>> Read more

Freezin’ for a reason with Polar Plunge for SOBC events in 2018

2017 Polar Plunge for SOBC participants

2018 is set to be the chilliest year yet for Special Olympics BC!

For the first time, fearless participants will laugh, splash, and charge into icy water at two Polar Plunge for SOBC events. On March 3, brave Plungers in creative costumes will return to Kitsilano Beach for the third annual Vancouver Polar Plunge for SOBC presented by Westminster Savings Credit Union. We are also thrilled to introduce the first-ever Vancouver Island Polar Plunge for SOBC, which is coming to the Greater Victoria area on March 11.

Registration is now open for these fun-filled BC Law Enforcement Torch Run events, and you 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? Send your contact information to plunge@specialolympics.bc.ca to get involved as a volunteer. Supporters can also help by making a donation to the Polar Plunge.

>> Register now

Special Olympics Team Canada celebrated by the Government of Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and SOBC - Abbotsford athlete Paige Norton

On November 29, members of Special Olympics Team Canada 2017 were celebrated in Ottawa for their outstanding achievements at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. The amazing day of recognition included being honoured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister for Sport & Persons with Disabilities Kent Hehr, and the entire House of Commons in a stirring ceremony.

This marked the first time in Special Olympics Canada’s history that Special Olympics Team Canada was invited into the House of Commons to be recognized. The team was given a standing ovation as they entered the House of Commons, and a rousing rendition of O Canada as they left.

“Canadians across the country are justly proud of you, and so are we,” Speaker and Member of Parliament Geoff Regan said.

Following the honour in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Hehr, Special Olympics Canada CEO Sharon Bollenbach, and Team Canada snowshoeing athlete Sebastien Hamel-Bordeau addressed the team and Members of Parliament in a reception to cap off the momentous experience.

Please click here to watch the House of Commons tribute, click here to watch Minister Hehr’s video from the day, and click here and here to check out more photos!

Faceoffs and fundraising on December 27 with the BC LETR

Delta Police Department and SOBC - Delta members fundraising with the Vancouver Giants

Treat yourself to an exciting hockey game this holiday season and support Special Olympics BC with the Delta Police Department!

On December 27, you could be there cheering in the stands as the Vancouver Giants go head to head with the Everett Silvertips at the Langley Events Centre. Tickets are $18, with $5 from every ticket sold benefiting SOBC. Delta Police Department members will also be teaming up with SOBC athletes to sell 50-50 tickets at this BC Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraiser.

To purchase tickets, please contact Constable Jeremy Pearce at jpearce@deltapolice.ca

Canadian Athlete Leadership Council launched

Canadian Athlete Leadership Council members

After several years of planning and preparations, the new Canadian Athlete Leadership Council has been launched with terrific participation from athlete leaders from across the country, including Special Olympics BC – Comox Valley athlete Jake Hooper.

Hooper, who has completed SOBC Athlete Speakers Bureau and Governance programs, participated in a national working group to help develop the council and its terms, and he will serve a two-year term on the council. Special Olympics Alberta athlete Katie Saunders, the Athlete Representative on the Special Olympics Canada Board of Directors, will serve as Chair. Hooper and the council members gathered in Toronto on December 2 and 3 for their inaugural meeting.

“It felt great, being able for us to have a voice that big for Special Olympics Canada. I think it’s a great step, and Katie did a great job with it,” Hooper said. “Everyone brought up really good points and had really good debates. Overall, the council was great.”

>> Read more

SOBC Healthy Athletes screening events coming in 2018

SOBC Healthy Athletes volunteers

Mark your calendars for the Special Olympics BC Healthy Athletes Screening Days coming up in 2018! Screenings will be hosted in the Lower Mainland on February 24, Castlegar on April 14, and Prince Rupert May 12/13. Stay tuned for details!

Special Olympics Healthy Athletes screenings are free, fun, and full of valuable health education and giveaways. Open to all individuals with intellectual disabilities, the screenings are offered in a variety of medical disciplines and take place in a welcoming environment with volunteer health practitioners who are trained to work with people with intellectual disabilities and help draw out issues.

Please click here to learn more about Healthy Athletes and SOBC’s health initiatives.

In addition, SOBC athletes are being invited to participate in a Vancouver event hosted by medical students with the UBC Developmental Disability Health Initiative on February 15. The students are working to improve their communication skills and help SOBC athletes gain more confidence speaking to doctors in a medical setting, so athletes are invited to participate in a session where the students will gather their health histories in a welcoming environment! Please click here to learn more about this valuable shared learning opportunity.

Regional Qualifier action underway

Floor Hockey Regional Qualifier for Regions 4 and 5

The 2017-18 season of Special Olympics BC winter-sport Regional Qualifiers has begun! The action started with the Floor Hockey Regional Qualifier for Regions 4 and 5 hosted by SOBC – Vancouver on December 2, featuring plenty of fast-paced and hard-fought games. Please click here for more photos!

In these Regional Qualifiers, SOBC athletes throughout the province will experience the excitement of competing to qualify for the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games.

In the 2019 Provincial Games, athletes will compete for the opportunity to advance to the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay, Ontario, which will be the qualifier for the 2021 Special Olympics World Winter Games. For SOBC athletes, it all starts right here with the Regional Qualifiers.

This season it will be exciting to see 5-pin bowling make its debut in the winter-sport competition cycle. There will be great qualifiers to come in 5-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating!

Best of luck to all the participating athletes, and big thanks to all the coaches, volunteers, and supporters making these important competitive opportunities possible!

>> Learn more

Column: 2017, the perfect holiday season to stay in shape

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.

The holiday season is fast approaching, Special Olympics programs are also taking a holiday break, and staying in shape will depend 100 per cent on you and on what choices you make during the holidays. Did you know that an average North American male consumes almost 7,000 calories on Christmas Day? That’s gaining about two pounds in one day. So here are some tips to stay in shape during the holidays.

>> Read more

A look back at the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games

SOBC - Nanaimo's Alex Williams at the 2017

Need a break from winter weather? Bask in summertime memories by watching this new video recap from the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games! These were SOBC’s largest Provincial Games to date and a thrilling display of the true power and joy of sport.

UBC medical student study identifies challenges to care of individuals with intellectual disabilities

Special Olympics Healthy Athletes logo

Through our health work, Special Olympics is addressing the range of barriers that affect the health of individuals with intellectual disabilities, which include lack of access, education, and resources.

Communication challenges are a significant barrier. Many individuals with intellectual disabilities have trouble realizing or expressing their health concerns, and many health professionals have not had the opportunity to receive specific training, or are not familiar enough with this population, to know the best questions to ask to draw out the issues.

A recent study conducted by University of British Columbia medical student Kirsten Anderson shone a light on this exact issue occurring here in B.C. Anderson conducted a survey of students in the UBC Faculty of Medicine classes of 2017-2020 about medical students’ knowledge and experience of intellectual disability.

>> Read more

SOBC staff update

Special Olympics icon

We are pleased to share that Tim Fitzgerald will be joining the Special Olympics BC team as a Communications Coordinator to provide support during the upcoming maternity leave of Communications Manager Megan Pollock. Tim has an extensive writing background, both as a reporter for a variety of newspapers and as the Communications Manager at Silver Star Mountain Resort. Tim also brings considerable photography, video, and design skills to the position.

Tim is excited to begin with SOBC on January 8 and will work with Megan until her planned last day of February 2.

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