BC Special Olympics July, 2020 update Newsletter

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Special Olympics BC Summer Sweat Challenge artwork by Roy Stephens

Special Olympics BC – Kelowna athlete Roy Stephens has created art to support every month of our at-home training and wellness challenges, including the #SOBCSummerSweat on now. Roy has been working out at home and has been walking every day for the last 100 days! 

Beginning Special Olympics BC’s safe, staged Return to Sport

SOBC Return to Sport Plan basic principles

Based on careful consideration of all provincial health requirements and the needs of our community, Special Olympics BC is announcing our first steps for safely starting to return to in-person sport programs, meetings, and fundraising events. We invite everyone to click here to view our plan for a safe, staged return to sport.

In July, we are going to start with a Pilot Program Level for athletics, bocce, Club Fit, and golf in a small number of communities throughout the province. These pilot programs will have very small numbers of participating athletes. These communities have generously agreed to take on the role of testing the new program standards, and providing feedback to make sure we have the appropriate safety steps in place before opening these sports across the province.

Reopening is going to be a slow, phased process. SOBC’s Return to Sport Plan spells out the expected levels of operations, and the education and safety steps that will be required. We thank the first pilot program Locals, and we thank everyone else for your patience.

>> Find the plan, highlights for athletes, and FAQs

Virtual Torch Run for SOBC smashes fundraising and fitness goals

Special Olympics BC – Oceanside athlete Alex McLeod and proud mom/SOBC – Oceanside volunteer Barbara McLeod

Special Olympics supporters stepped up in a big way for the first-ever Virtual Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOBC. From June 1 to 7, participants from all over the province ran and walked in their communities to raise funds and awareness. They couldn’t lace up together in person this year, so participants found creative ways to come together in spirit to support Special Olympics BC.

“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the Virtual Law Enforcement Torch Run, from law enforcement to athletes to coaches to fans – you’re all awesome!” SOBC – Campbell River athlete Ashley Adie said in a Twitter video.

To recognize the 30th anniversary of the BC LETR, the event’s fundraising goal was $30,000, and runners/walkers looked to cover a combined distance of 3,000 kilometres. Special Olympics supporters greatly exceeded these targets, raising more than $66,000 and racking up more than 5,700 kilometres.

>> Read more

Fit Families & Friends goes virtual

Virtual Fit Families & Friends icon

The revamped Virtual Fit Families and Friends program is a virtual walking club, with the collective goal of walking around the province and visiting each Local along the way! This program provides great opportunities for Special Olympics BC athletes to get outside, exercise, and connect with others virtually to create engaging and supportive social networks.

Visit the Virtual Fit Families & Friends page to find weekly healthy recipes, leaderboards, and digital badges you can download to celebrate milestones! Let’s get moving and get that heart rate up!

Any athletes and coaches who would like to be part of the program can contact Special Olympics BC Sport Coordinator Marlow de Paul by email or by phone at 604-737-3081.

Newmont Invitational supporters continue to make a difference for SOBC

Newmont Invitational Golf Tournament

A highlight of every Newmont Invitational Golf Tournament is seeing so many individuals and organizations come together to support Special Olympics BC. Even though we couldn’t hold this year’s tournament, many sponsors and donors have still gone above and beyond to make a difference.

Presenting Sponsor Newmont and Greens Sponsor Wheaton Precious Metals led the charge by immediately converting their sponsorship into donations to SOBC even though we could not hold the event.

This inspired many other companies and individuals who had previously sponsored the tournament or purchased a team to also continue their support. This included Border Gold, Michael Campbell, Dueck Auto Group, Fiore Management and Advisory Corp, High Performance Communications Inc., Integrated Wealth Management Inc., Ozzie Jurock, Replay Destinations, Schachter Energy Research Services Inc., Stephen Roberts, StockScores, Greg Trammell, and the Windsor Plywood Foundation, held at the Vancouver Foundation.

Heartfelt thanks to these outstanding supporters for continuing to help us change lives throughout the province.

New tools available to develop basic sport skills

Bocce skill demonstration by Stuart Hawton

We have started to release Basic Sport Skills videos in order to empower athletes and provide them with the tools necessary to practice and enhance their essential skills for their sports. The first of these videos is a bocce feature on roll delivery. Additional videos of different skills and different sports will be rolled out over the coming months. These can be accessed via the Basic Sport Skills page here.

By focusing on these fundamental skills, any athlete in our program can achieve success as they will work at their own pace to gain skills and increase their motivation, confidence, and physical abilities. Excelling at these skills mean that athletes will feel comfortable participating in this sport wherever they go, and will provide them with the tools to pursue physical activities for life.

>> Read more

Celebrating champions in Special Olympics Global Week of Inclusion

Special Olympics BC athletes April and Daniel with coach Chris

The Special Olympics Global Week of Inclusion is coming on July 20 to 26! This will be an inspiring opportunity to celebrate how we #ChooseToInclude together, and invite everyone to join us in building a joyful, welcoming world for all.

In the Special Olympics Global Week of Inclusion, we will welcome everyone to join our revolution for inclusion, which matters now more than ever. And we hope to inspire change by recognizing some of the many champions who always #ChooseToInclude and celebrate all abilities.

You can nominate the champions you know who are leading the charge for respecting and empowering people of all abilities in sports, in schools, in workplaces, in government, in health, in the community, everywhere! Please click here to learn more and share your stories.

Stay tuned to Special Olympics BC’s channels for more stories and actions to share with everyone who wants to help change the world!

Gearing back up for the New Car Dealers Auction

New Car Dealers Association of BC

The impactful New Car Dealers Foundation / Special Olympics BC Auction is set to return September 18 to 24!

We know these times have been challenging for so many people, and we made the difficult decision to pause the spring 2020 New Car Dealers Foundation / Special Olympics BC Auction in order to reduce the pressures on our supporters who we appreciate so much. But recent consultation with Dealers and supporters around the province has shown there is a desire to continue helping the Special Olympics athletes and programs who need them so much. With the province beginning to restart, they have said the time is right to relaunch the 2020 auction.

This year’s auction will feature many sought-after prizes ranging from a new car, electronics, and autographed memorabilia to travel items, home and sporting goods, and advertising. Through more than three decades, this important event has raised an incredible total of nearly $5.1 million in support of SOBC and the work of the New Car Dealers Foundation.

To donate to the auction, or for more information on how you can get involved, please contact Christina Hadley, SOBC Vice President, Fund Development & Communications, by email or by phone at 604-616-1343.

Staying healthy at home this summer

Special Olympics BC Summer Sweat icon

Throughout July and August, Special Olympics BC will continue sharing weekly calendars with daily at-home workouts and nutrition challenges. Everyone is invited to participate in the #SOBCSummerSweat to help you stay sport-ready while training at home! Each calendar also has an SOBC Wellness Bingo card, full of fun activities for staying positive and happy. Complete these challenges for chances to win prizes!

Please click here to find the calendars and lots more athlete health resources.

We also want to stay connected and hear how you’re doing. We will host Facebook Live conversations on July 8 and 22 at 2 p.m. (What’s On Your Mind Wednesday) and July 13 and 27 at noon (challenge calendar kickoffs). Please come chat with us and share your advice for staying active at home!

motionball announces exciting new online event

motionball Marathon of Sport

Five-time Olympic medalist Tessa Virtue is teaming up with motionball for the first-ever Virtual Marathon of Sport on September 26. This 50-minute event is open to everyone and there is no registration fee. Check out the fun announcement video.

“Though we can’t have our traditional events so to speak – getting everyone together out on the fields and enjoying each other’s time together – this is an opportunity for us to still showcase the athletes, create a bunch of awareness for Special Olympics and what it does for our athletes, fundraise some money as well, and continue that motionball joy we’ve always been spreading across the country with our events,” motionball Kelowna Event Director Derek Fuhr said on SOBC’s What’s On Your Mind Wednesday.

We are so grateful to everyone at motionball for all they do to support Special Olympics athletes across Canada!

Stay tuned to SOBC communications channels for more updates on the Virtual Marathon of Sport, including information on how to register.

New virtual ceremonies coming to celebrate SOBC award nominees and winners

Trophy icon

We are delighted to share that 44 accomplished and dedicated athletes, coaches, and volunteers have been nominated for this year’s Special Olympics BC awards! These individuals have truly changed the lives of those around them and inspired many. Our most sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to spotlight these community members for their outstanding achievements, spirit, and contributions to Special Olympics!

This year, SOBC will celebrate all the deserving nominees and announce the award winners with all-new virtual award ceremonies. We are excited for this opportunity to celebrate these inspiring individuals province-wide! Stay tuned to SOBC’s website and social media channels for details to come.

A celebration of the 2019-20 sport season

Special Olympics BC - Victoria athlete Liz Ashton

Since many Locals’ typical season-ending celebrations weren’t possible this year, we wanted to take a moment to send an enormous shoutout to the inspiring athletes, coaches, families, partners, and supporters in 55 communities throughout our province for all their successes in the regular part of the 2019-20 season!

Athletes racked up so many accomplishments throughout their participation in their fall and winter sports. Local volunteers worked so hard to coach and plan these life-changing programs in up to 18 sports as well as youth programs. A number of Locals achieved exciting expansions into new sports. Others experienced new innovations such as growth from participants moving from SOBC’s in-school programs to the Local’s programs, and partners offering inclusive competition opportunities. Locals also led successful fundraising events and created essential support and awareness throughout their communities.

Many thanks to all the SOBC Locals province-wide for all that you do, and big thanks and virtual hugs to the Locals who shared some season highlights!

>> Read more

Safe Sport Anti-Bullying Virtual Workshops support positivity and inclusion

Special Olympics BC safe sport icon

Special Olympics BC wants to make sure our programs are safe and happy places for all participants. While our in-person programs remain paused, we have developed a Safe Sport Anti-Bullying Virtual Workshop in order to continue to promote safe sport culture. These workshops bring together athletes and coaches to talk about bullying and share solutions to encourage inclusion.

Participants can expect an environment of open and honest communication, where they will receive the tools to help identify and address harmful scenarios. Due to the increasing number of online conversations, participants will also discuss how to stay safe while participating in online activities.

These workshops have been very well received and reached full capacity since going virtual. The next workshop is on Wednesday, July 22, at 6 p.m. PT. Since these workshops have limited capacity, please contact SOBC Community Development Coordinator Melainie Hatt ASAP by email to reserve your spot!

SOBC Virtual Health Forums a hit

Special Olympics BC Virtual Health Forum for mental wellness

Thanks to the involvement of many amazing athletes, coaches, and supporters across the province, Special Olympics BC Virtual Health Forums have been a great opportunity to connect and talk about important health topics. Held through the spring, these Zoom sessions have covered mental wellness and healthy eating.

BC Dairy Association Nutrition Educator Joel Barohn has encouraged active and helpful discussions in the healthy eating forums. The mental wellness forums have been ably led by Kimberly Rutledge, a Kelowna-based scientist, mental wellness advocate, and Special Olympics BC coach.

There is another mental wellness forum coming up on Thursday, July 9 for parents, coaches, and supporters. Please click here for the details. Even if you’re not from one of the Regions listed for these forums, you’re welcome to participate. If you have already attended one of this spring’s virtual forums, stay tuned for information on future series to come!

If you have any questions, please contact SOBC Sport Coordinator Marlow de Paul by email or or by phone at 604-737-3081.

Virtual forums supporting SOBC men and women

Virtual Men’s Health Forum

Special Olympics BC will host the first-ever SOBC Virtual Men’s Health Forum on July 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This Zoom event will feature conversations about physical activity, nutrition, health, and mental wellness. Please stay tuned to SOBC communications channels for more details.

We also want to send a big shoutout to all the participants and facilitators in the inaugural Special Olympics BC Women in Sport virtual forum! This event was a great source of connection, inspiration, and insights.

Shelbi Snodgrass, a certified yoga instructor and mental performance consultant in training, led the mental wellness session, and left inspired. “It was an amazing day. It was a privilege to present alongside this inspiring group of women and connect with the women of the SOBC community. I look forward to opportunities in the future,” she said.

SOBC athlete leaders making waves with SONA Virtual Health Messenger training

Health Messenger Matthew Hender

Special Olympics North America is now offering Virtual Health Messenger Training to help athletes advocate healthy living in their communities and regions. Special Olympics BC is thrilled and grateful that Matthew Hender of SOBC – Quesnel and Tony Wilkinson of SOBC – Kelowna successfully completed the four-week virtual SONA pilot program this spring!

Hender and Wilkinson were two of only three Canadian athletes selected to participate in the pilot program. They completed two courses a week for four weeks through an online platform. They covered overall health, fitness, nutrition, hydration, communication, and advocacy, and they developed their ideas for a practicum project they will execute after the course to help their peers and communities.

We’re delighted to share that five more Special Olympics BC athletes have been selected to participate in the next rounds of SONA Virtual Health Messenger training this summer! Kudos and good luck to Matthew Basso and Victoria Trerice of SOBC – Campbell River, Katie Little of SOBC – Burnaby, Jake Miller of SOBC – Trail, and Ben Stein of SOBC – Kimberley/Cranbrook.

>> Read more

Coaches Corner

Coaches Corner icon

Special Olympics BC is a place where people come to participate in life-changing opportunities, learn new skills, and develop through sport. In order to facilitate that growth, SOBC has developed numerous resources posted on the website to help athletes, coaches, and volunteers get the most out of their programs. Coaches can access many sport-specific resources, including Basic Skill Acquisition packages and fundamental sport skills videos on the Basic Sport Skills page.

You can find extensive coach resources for all of SOBC’s summer and winter sports, Club Fit, and youth programs on the Sport Rules, Resources, and Videos page.

We have also moved a number of coach education opportunities online! SOBC coaches can now access sport-specific Coach Development Webinars and more virtual resources on the Online Coach Education page.

If you have any questions, please contact Christopher Delahunty, SOBC Sport Coordinator, by email or by phone at 250-317-1272.

Stay connected

Special Olympics BC logo

Do you want more people to be aware of Special Olympics BC and inspired by our incredible community? Please forward SOBC’s e-newsletters to anyone and everyone who might be interested!

Did you receive this e-newsletter as a forward from a friend? Please join our mailing list to receive future monthly bulletins full of news and inspiration! Please click here to sign up.

Are you interested in daily updates on Special Olympics BC’s people, programs, and events? Please join the community on our social media accounts!

Research opportunity: Study on impact of COVID-19 on the lives of individuals with autism and their families

Researchers from the University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, and York University are conducting a study entitled Families Facing COVID-19: Perspectives from Caregivers of Persons with ASD. Their aim is to understand the impact of the pandemic on neurodiverse children, youth, and adults and their caregivers.

They would like to hear about how individuals and families are coping in these uncertain times. Participation in the research study involves an online survey that takes 15-30 minutes to complete. Caregivers are invited to participate in the current survey.

>> Learn more

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