BC Special Olympics January Newsletter 2019

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January 2019 Newsletter

Special Olympics BC Performance Program snowshoeing January 2019

Getting set for 2019 SOBC Winter Games

2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games logo

The 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games are just under a month away! We can’t wait to cheer on the more than 600 athletes from all over the province and the Yukon who will compete and inspire in Greater Vernon from February 21 to 23.

“I’m excited about the Games and will give it my best!” says SOBC – Vernon cross country skier Dominique Borgeaud.

More information is being added regularly to the Games website as it becomes available, and there will be several exciting announcements to come during the countdown to the biggest SOBC Winter Games to date, so please stay tuned to the site and SOBC’s social media accounts!

Games volunteers are still being welcomed, so please spread the word among Okanagan friends. Currently the SOBC Games volunteer count is over halfway there, with more than 400 volunteers registered as of mid-January, so all those interested in being part of this empowering event are encouraged to sign up today. There is a wide range of rewarding roles available, ranging from sport and food services to transportation and security. Particularly being sought are floor hockey referees (Special Olympics floor hockey training can be provided) as well as volunteers with medical and health-care backgrounds – such as nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and care aides – who are needed for specific roles.

To register to volunteer, please click here to complete the form online, or visit the 2019 SOBC Winter Games office, located in Vernon at VantageOne Credit Union, 3108 33 Ave. (The entrance to the office can be accessed using the VantageOne Leasing entrance, located on 31st Street.) If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the SOBC Games office at games@specialolympics.bc.ca or call 236-426-0109.

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

>> Read more

Get bold and cold with the Polar Plunge for SOBC

Polar Plunge for SOBC

Get ready to take on an exciting challenge and have an absolute blast at the beach with the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC!

Brave Plungers will charge into chilly waves at the Vancouver Island Polar Plunge for SOBC at Willows Beach on February 17 and the Vancouver Polar Plunge for SOBC presented by Westminster Savings Credit Union on March 2. These frigid and fun Law Enforcement Torch Run events will feature colourful costume contests, awesome incentives and prizes, and law enforcement operations vehicles on display.

Plungers can sign up as a team or an individual. Encourage your friends, family, colleagues, and classmates to take part and join the festivities!

Too chicken to get chilly? Volunteer or donate to help make a difference through the power of sport!

We are grateful to Vancouver Island Polar Plunge Event Sponsors Serious Coffee Millstream Village, The Neal Estate Team, and Thrifty Foods. Sincere thanks to Vancouver Polar Plunge Presenting Sponsor Westminster Savings; VIP Warming Tent Sponsor Dueck Auto Group; Event Sponsors Safeway and Tim Hortons; and Media Sponsors City Television, JACK 96.9, OMNI Television, and Sportsnet 650.

>> Register now

Raising awareness at the World Outlook Financial Conference

World Outlook Financial Conference logo

The World Outlook Financial Conference, set to be held this year on February 1 and 2 in Vancouver, will be a great opportunity for attendees to gain first-rate financial insights and for Special Olympics BC to raise awareness about our movement.

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, 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.

Opening hearts and minds with Spread the Word: Inclusion

Over the past 11 years, the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign has generated more than 1 million pledges to show respect to everyone and end the derogatory use of the R-word. Now this grassroots-powered campaign is shifting its message to Spread the Word: Inclusion, in order to become a bigger, more impactful movement with truly global outreach.

The annual awareness day is coming up on March 6, so stay tuned for details about new graphics, tools, and events! Spread the Word remains committed to advocating against the use of the R-word and all forms of exclusion towards people with intellectual disabilities, and remains dedicated to empowering people all over the world to be agents of positive change and inclusion.

Special Olympics BC – Abbotsford coach Roshan Gosal, a long-standing champion of the Spread the Word movement, will be teaming up with SOBC – Abbotsford athlete Austin Johnston to participate in the Special Olympics Global Youth Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi during the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Supported by SOBC – Chilliwack coach Wayne Williams, they will focus on a Spread the Word: Inclusion project and will bring exciting information and opportunities back to B.C.

>> Learn more about the Spread the Word campaign in B.C.

Less than two months to go for Special Olympics Team Canada 2019

Special Olympics Team Canada coaches and mission staff from B.C.

From March 14 to 21, more than 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 177 countries will show the world their amazing abilities at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Special Olympics Team Canada 2019 is comprised of 109 athletes, 37 coaches, and 11 mission staff members from all 12 provincial and territorial SO Chapters. We are cheering for #SOTeamCanada19 and the 11 determined athletes, six dedicated coaches, and three outstanding mission staff from B.C.!

Please click here for stories about the SOBC members’ journey to Abu Dhabi, and follow our social media accounts for ongoing updates. And Special Olympics Canada is launching a team newsletter to share stories – please click here to sign up.

During January and February, team members are working hard in their home communities as well as in team training camps and meetings. The athletics, bocce, powerlifting, and soccer teams had their training camps this month; golf and swimming are to follow next weekend.

We are cheering them on every step of the way to Abu Dhabi!

>> Learn more

JYSK Canada raising funds for Special Olympics

JYSK Bed Bath Home

Longtime Special Olympics Canada partner JYSK Canada is helping raise important funds for Special Olympics programs through the sale of a toy goose! The homeware retailer is selling the stuffed toy in stores nationwide, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to provide empowering programs for Special Olympics athletes across Canada.

If you are visiting a JYSK location soon, make sure you take a gander at this awesome fundraising initiative!

>> Learn more about JYSK’s support of Special Olympics in Canada

SOBC skaters set to shine at 2019 Canada Games

Special Olympics BC - Port Alberni figure skater Kari Trott

When the 2019 Canada Winter Games hit Red Deer this winter, four Special Olympics BC figure skaters will take the ice to show the nation all that they can do! SOBC – Vancouver’s Jeff Leung and Eric Pahima, Kari Trott of SOBC – Port Alberni, and Jennifer Utendale of SOBC – Surrey will lace up to compete in the Canada Games in Alberta, supported by Head Coach Jessica Chapelski of SOBC – Vancouver.

The four SOBC skaters will be members of Team BC alongside our province’s top young athletes from generic sport. The SOBC athletes and Chapelski will go right from the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games in Greater Vernon to the Canada Games. Please join us in cheering them on all the way through their Canada Games journey!

From February 15 until March 3, the 2019 Canada Winter Games will involve up to 3,600 athletes, managers, and coaches in 19 sports, as well as more than 20,000 visitors. The Canada Games is the largest and most prestigious multi-sport competition for young Canadian athletes.

>> Read more

SOBC Athlete Leadership Conference coming up in April

Special Olympics BC - Quesnel Athlete Speaker Brock Terlesky

Through Special Olympics BC Athlete Leadership programs, athletes develop the skills and confidence to take on influential roles including public speaking, health advocacy, and providing input to organizational leaders. These programs are proven to have a lasting benefit to participants by increasing confidence and self-esteem as well as providing input and insight into athlete issues – a valuable resource to our movement.

The next SOBC Athlete Leadership Conference will be hosted on April 5 to 7 in Richmond. The weekend will include Athlete Speakers Bureau, Athlete Input Council, and Health Messenger courses as well as workshops on understanding bullying, health advocacy, reporting, and creating PowerPoint presentations.

Athletes and volunteers who would like to participate are asked to please contact their Local Coordinators. The registration deadline is March 3.

BC LETR and Boston Pizza deliver fundraising success

Cops, Pops, and Pizza

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics BC and Boston Pizza served up big smiles and a successful fundraising campaign in November.

The first-ever Cops, Pops, and Pizza campaign in British Columbia saw SOBC athletes and BC LETR members team up to raise funds and awareness while serving customers at 20 Boston Pizza restaurants across the province. The event was tons of fun and raised a terrific total of more than $12,000 for SOBC.

Our heartfelt thanks to Boston Pizza restaurants and customers for their support, and to all the SOBC athletes and BC LETR members who gave their time and energy to this campaign!

SOBC School Sport Competition programming expands into soccer

Special Olympics BC School Sport Competition soccer tournament

Special Olympics BC School Sport Competition programs give student-athletes with intellectual disabilities their time to shine on the playing field in front of their communities, as well as empowering training opportunities. In recent years, successful 3-on-3 basketball programs have been running in Vancouver Island schools, and athletics events have been hosted. This year soccer joined the lineup!

Congratulations to the student-athletes from Parksville’s École Ballenas Secondary, Comox’s Mark R. Isfeld Secondary, and Alberni District Secondary School who participated in last week’s inaugural SOBC School Sports Competition soccer tournament. We’re so grateful to all the supportive teachers, fellow students, and families making these exciting experiences possible!

Sincere thanks to the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, Tim Hortons, the Samuel Family Foundation, The Slaight Family Foundation, and the GoodLife Kids Foundation for supporting SOBC’s youth programs and opportunities throughout B.C.

If you know of a school that is looking to offer empowering experiences to their students with intellectual disabilities, please connect them with Jean Tetarenko, SOBC Competition & Youth Coordinator, or your local SOBC Community Development staff member. Please click here for the SOBC staff contact list.

Student-athletes who participate in their schools and want to join the fun year-round are encouraged to get involved with the Special Olympics program in their community!

>> Read more about SOBC School Sport Competition programs

2019 anniversary celebrations for SOBC Locals

Special Olympics icon

Happy New Year to the inspiring athletes, coaches, volunteers, families, and supporters of Special Olympics BC all over the province and the planet! At the beginning of this bright new year, we are so pleased to wish a happy birthday to the SOBC Locals marking anniversary celebrations in 2019.

SOBC is so fortunate to have incredible athletes and volunteers in 55 communities around the province, and we are continually amazed by the long-standing dedication and participation that makes these empowering programs possible. Each year, SOBC recognizes the Locals who are marking anniversary seasons, testament to their inspiring ongoing dedication to making a difference through the power of sport and being part of this life-changing movement.

Please click below to read which Locals are entering anniversary years in 2019!

>> Read more

Champions for Inclusive Health Summit sparks working group to create change

Special Olympics BC - Victoria athlete and Global Health Messenger Jennifer Ferrier

Following up on the second Champions for Inclusive Health Summit held last October, Special Olympics BC and key stakeholders are meeting on January 30 to form a working group with the goal of improving the health of individuals with intellectual disabilities across the province and addressing systemic issues.

The summit attracted significant interest and involvement from a broad spectrum of organizations who play roles in health and impact the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Participants included government representatives, non-governmental organizations, community groups, self-advocates, researchers, school boards, and more.

The goals of the summit were to work on creating better health for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the short term, and advocate for policy shifts that will deliver better health care in the future. This week’s working group will help plan the way forward to achieve those goals and change the critical health challenges faced by people with IDs.

If you know someone whose work impacts health or individuals with intellectual disabilities and who would like to make a difference by getting involved with the ongoing efforts to create change, please contact Sarah Russell, SOBC Health & Engagement Coordinator, by email or by phone at 604-737-3081.

>> Learn more about SOBC health initiatives

Elevating performance province-wide with January training camps

SOBC Performance Program Region 1 snow sports training camp

Special Olympics BC’s Performance Program is a long-term plan for enhancing the skills and performance of coaches and through them, all SOBC athletes.

The program is not just for elite athletes – it’s for coaches who are open to new training techniques, and athletes who are committed to training. Participating coaches and athletes take the skills they learn back to their local programs to benefit all athletes, not just a few. The goal is to elevate everyone’s level of sport and performance.

By being part of the Performance Program, coaches are asked to take what they learn back to their community and share their new knowledge with other coaches and athletes.

2019 has gotten off to a great start with three training camps hosted this month: the SOBC Region 1 Snow Sports Performance Camp held in Golden, the SOBC Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing Performance Camp hosted in Kelowna and Vernon, and the SOBC Speed Skating Performance Camp in Coquitlam. Rhythmic gymnastics is being held next weekend.

We’re thankful to all the coaches, athletes, and supportive sport experts putting in the work to elevate performance province-wide!

Understanding bullying

#ERASEbullying in sport

Special Olympics BC has joined viaSport British Columbia and the provincial sport sector in supporting the #ERASEbullying campaign to promote positive, respectful, engaging, accessible, and inclusive environments for all participants, and to ensure a safe sport culture for all British Columbians.

SOBC is now offering presentations around the province for local athletes and coaches to talk about bullying and share solutions to make sure that our sport programs stay safe, encouraging, and fun for all. Workshops are coming up in Trail on January 30 and in Kelowna. For more information on these events, or to book a presentation in your area, please contact Melainie Hatt, SOBC Community Development Coordinator (Kootenays), by email or by phone at 250-919-0757.

>> More resources

Celebrating #50moments of Special Olympics

Hockey legend Howie Meeker and SOBC - Campbell River athlete Joshua Brearley

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the global Special Olympics movement, we are taking a look back at the #50moments that have defined Special Olympics here in B.C. and throughout the world.

Check out the latest #50moments:

Make sure to check our social media channels and website every Tuesday for the latest instalment and share the joy and inspiration that helped define the last 50 years of Special Olympics.

Click here for more stories


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