Special Olympics B.C. August Newsletter,2019

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August 2019 Newsletter

Special Olympics BC bowlers

Special Olympics BC achieved official Healthy Community recognition

Special Olympics Healthy Community

In 2016, Special Olympics BC won a three-year Special Olympics Healthy Communities grant funded by the Golisano Foundation. Seeking to tackle the health crisis faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities, who are still far too often forgotten and left behind by our health system, the purpose of the funding was to undertake or expand SOBC’s year-round health initiatives in order to ensure improved access to health care and prevention programming.

This summer, SOBC received the official plaque and recognition that we achieved Special Olympics Healthy Community status! Special Olympics Programs receive Healthy Community recognition when they achieve a significant level of effort and success in creating year-round access to quality health care and health and wellness initiatives for people with intellectual disabilities. Through health programs, partnerships, and Special Olympics athlete leadership, we are paving the way for inclusive health.

This milestone for Special Olympics BC was made possible by the dedicated efforts of many volunteers throughout the province, including the many coaches and volunteers in all Locals who champion health and make health programs possible, and of the many volunteer health practitioners and students who give their time to Special Olympics BC and our Healthy Athletes screenings.

And this milestone is a testament to the dedication that many SOBC athletes have developed to healthy living and making positive health changes in their lives. You should all feel very proud that you are so committed to making your lives and your communities better through improved health and communication.

>> Read more

Celebrating the power of sport with the Sports Celebrities Festival

SOBC – Victoria athlete Michael Langridge and Vancouver Canucks forward Brandon Sutter at SCF photo shoot

“Being part of Special Olympics is like a family,” Special Olympics BC – Victoria athlete Michael Langridge says. We’re thrilled to have Langridge, the 2018 SOBC Athletic Achievement Award winner, joining Vancouver Canucks forward Brandon Sutter as the featured speakers for the 2019 Sports Celebrities Festival presented by Wheaton Precious Metals!

This inspiring and interactive gala will raise vital funds for Special Olympics BC and the Canucks for Kids Fund at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on October 7. Guests will enjoy a delicious dinner, experience world-class entertainment, and meet and mingle with SOBC athletes and the entire Vancouver Canucks roster. This year’s event will be particularly memorable, as it will honour the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics movement and 50th season of the Canucks franchise in the NHL.

To purchase a table, make a generous donation to the event auction, or view available sponsorship opportunities, please click here.

On a roll with program registration around the province

Special Olympics BC athlete Sam

We’re right in the middle of fall sports registration, and loving it! Thanks to all the athletes, coaches, and volunteers who are registering for the latest season of sports, fitness, friendship, and fun with Special Olympics BC!

Many have already completed their registration for the 2019-20 season, but if you haven’t, many registration events are still coming up in September around the province. And while you’re registering, why not bring a friend? If you have not yet given Special Olympics a try – or you have someone in your life who you think should give Special Olympics a try – now is a terrific time to start!

Please check out the Special Olympics BC website calendar for registration event listings. For any Locals that have not yet submitted event details, please click here to email the info to Megan Pollock, SOBC Communications Manager.

Many thanks to all the SOBC Locals who work so hard to host registration events and submit all documentation, and to the athletes and families who take the time to complete their registrations as required!

Based on a policy proposed by the SOBC Leadership Council and recently approved by the Board of Directors, SOBC Locals must use only the approved SOBC medical form to collect medical information during athlete registration. All athletes need to complete this medical form before participating in Special Olympics activities, so athletes will see this form as part of your 2019-20 registration with your Local.

Friendship and fundraising at upcoming motionball events

2018 Marathon of Sport Kelowna

What could be better than playing sports, making new friends, and supporting a terrific cause?

At upcoming motionball events, participants will have a blast as they play sports alongside Special Olympics BC athletes. At these events, you’ll find a remarkable spirit of inclusion, meaningful interactions between participants, significant funds and awareness raised for Special Olympics, and tons of fun!

The Ultimate Fundraising Tournament

There will be fun and flying discs at Vancouver Technical Secondary School on September 14. This Ultimate fundraiser is hosted by the Vancouver Young Professionals Rotaract Club, and participants can register as a team or an individual. Learn more and register.

Marathon of Sport Kelowna presented by Kelowna Toyota

This high-energy event returns to City Park on September 21. Teams of young professionals will compete alongside SOBC athletes in a variety of sports for a day of full of fun, inclusion, and laughter. Learn more and register.

motionballU Marathon of Sport events

The motionballU program provides Canadian students with opportunities to have a great time and give back to their communities. We are excited for UBC Okanagan’s first-ever Marathon of Sport on October 20. Simon Fraser University will also be hosting an upcoming Marathon of Sport event. Stay tuned to SOBC channels for more details on these events and more motionballU announcements.

Photo courtesy of Pinstripe Productions

Four Special Olympics BC figure skaters set to co-star in Rock the Rink tour

Marc Theriault

Olympic gold medalists and longtime Special Olympics champions Scott Moir, Tessa Virtue, and Patrick Chan are choosing to include athletes with intellectual disabilities in their upcoming cross-country tour Rock the Rink.

The all-star cast led by Moir, Virtue, Chan, two-time Olympic silver medalist Elvis Stojko, Canadian figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond, American figure skater Jeremy Abbott, and Italian figure skater Carolina Kostner will be joined by a local Special Olympics Canada athlete who will perform a solo at each Canadian stop in the 31-city tour this fall.

We’re thrilled that Special Olympics BC’s Darlene Jakubowski, Alexandra Magee, Alexander Pang, and Marc Theriault (pictured) will have the opportunity to show their skills performing in the B.C. shows! Please click here to learn more.

“Special Olympics is an organization that is incredibly close to our hearts, and we are thrilled to showcase its work and depth of talent as we tour the country,” Virtue said.

“It’s going to be a truly memorable experience and we know our fans across the country will love it!” Moir added.

For Rock the Rink information and ticket purchasing, please click here.

Regional Conferences and learning sessions upcoming around the province

Special Olympics BC Region 1-2 Conference 2017

Special Olympics BC Regions often host Regional Conferences and educational events to provide opportunities for personal development and making valuable connections with coaches and peers from throughout the Region. Upcoming events this fall include:

  • Region 1 (Kootenays) is hosting a Regional Conference in Cranbrook on October 5 (check-in evening October 4). If you are interested in participating, please contact your Local Coordinator. The registration deadline is September 7.
  • Regions 7 and 8 (northern B.C.) will be hosting their Regional Conference on October 5-6. To express interest in participating, please contact your Local Coordinator by September 12.
  • Region 6 (Vancouver Island) is planning a series of learning sessions – please watch for announcements to come!

Stay tuned to the SOBC e-newsletter and website calendar for further opportunities!

No off-season for the Special Olympics Team BC 2020 Training Squad

Special Olympics Team BC 2020 Training Squad snowshoeing athlete Torben

Summertime slowdown? Not for the 198 members of the Special Olympics Team BC 2020 Training Squad! Backed by dedicated coaches, mission staff, and training coaches, the team’s committed athletes have been putting in plenty of off-season dryland training. They’re working to stay in ideal shape for the return of their sport programs and their pursuit of personal bests in the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Thunder Bay 2020 next February.

Pictured above right is Team BC Training Squad snowshoer Torben Schuffert of Smithers showing what the off-season looks like for hardworking athletes!

Team members will be coming together for their respective Sport Summits this fall, and remaining focused on their training in their home communities. Stay tuned to SOBC’s website and social media for lots of #SOTeamBC2020 stories and highlights!

Supporters of the Team BC 2020 Training Squad can find information and resources, including the team supporters newsletter, on the team website Families & Fans page at www.soteambc2020.ca. Our SOBC site includes links to the essential information that has been posted on the SOC Games site, including Games supporters registration and accommodations.

“When you #ChooseToInclude, everybody wins”

Special Olympics Global Day of Inclusion 2019 Penticton

The Special Olympics Global Week of Inclusion was a celebration of how we are better together, culminating in the second annual Global Day of Inclusion on July 20. And Canadians responded in a big way.

The July week celebrated the achievements and inspiration of Special Olympics athletes. It highlighted the positive outcomes we observe when people with and without intellectual disabilities are able to work, play, and lead together. And it sought to remind everyone that we all need to keep working together to promote and ensure true inclusion in our communities.

On the Global Day of Inclusion, Tim Hortons guests across the country raised a record $150,000 for Special Olympics athletes by purchasing a limited-edition donut, with 100 per cent of proceeds going to Special Olympics across Canada.

As Special Olympics Ontario parent Melanie Côté commented on Instagram, the Global Day of Inclusion is about a special donut and so much more.

“It’s a celebration of what it means to include everyone – in sport, in school, in work, and in life. Kids like Alma spend way too much time sitting on the sidelines. Together we can work to make sure everybody feels like they belong. I hope you picked up a special donut in support of Special Olympics Canada! But even more than that, I hope you remember this day the next time you see someone like my A being bullied, ignored, or left out. When you #ChooseToInclude, everybody wins.”

>> Read more

Alomar Sports Golf Classic West hits home run for SOBC

SOBC – Abbotsford athlete Katie Marchbank with baseball icon Roberto Alomar

We are grateful to baseball legend Roberto Alomar and the Vancouver Canadians for bringing an exciting new golf fundraiser to B.C.!

Special Olympics BC was fortunate to be a beneficiary of the inaugural Alomar Sports Golf Classic West, held on August 26. At this amazing Alomar Sports event, participants enjoyed playing a memorable round of golf at the Mayfair Lakes Golf & Country Club in Richmond and mingling with celebrities while watching a Vancouver Canadians game from a private viewing area. Celebrity guests included Roberto Alomar, Jesse Barfield, Jason Grilli, Casey Janssen, Lloyd Moseby, Ricky Romero, and Duane Ward.

Big thanks to Roberto Alomar, Alomar Sports, the Vancouver Canadians, and everyone involved for making a difference for Special Olympics BC athletes!

Spread the Word for inclusion in your schools and communities this season

Spread the Word logo

Around the world, exclusion, isolation, and discrimination continue to divide people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. Special Olympics is committed to changing that, using the power of sport to open hearts and minds to the abilities of individuals with intellectual disabilities. And grassroots activists all over the world are committed to changing that and creating a better world using Spread the Word.

Spread the Word is a global engagement campaign to increase inclusion among people with and without intellectual disabilities through grassroots action. In schools, workplaces, and communities around the world, local youth and leaders are pledging to create socially inclusive places to learn, work, and live.

Please click here to learn how you can get involved, and be inspired by the efforts of Chilliwack’s Megan Owens and Langley’s Christian Burton with the support of their school districts.

Owens and fellow inspiring Youth Engagement Project participant Rachel Simes, a teacher in Hope, have also been selected to participate in Special Olympics International’s upcoming Inclusive Youth Summit in Chicago, alongside SOBC – Chilliwack athlete Madeleline Kean. Stay tuned for coverage!

Cops, Pops, and Pizza delivers fundraising success

2019 Cops, Pops, and Pizza campaign

Smiles and support for Special Olympics BC were on the menu during the 2019 Cops, Pops, and Pizza campaign, which took place on June 27.

Law enforcement members and SOBC athletes teamed up to serve customers, collect donations, and raise awareness at more than 20 Boston Pizza restaurants across the province. This year, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOBC event raised more than $18,000, topping the total from last year’s inaugural campaign.

“We are proud to help these athletes pursue their dreams, gain self-confidence, and lead healthy lives,” says James Kawalecki, Boston Pizza Senior Director of Regional Marketing. “Boston Pizza would like to thank Special Olympics BC and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for allowing us to participate in what is always a fun, uplifting community event.”

We are grateful 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!

Youth Engagement Project participants ready to increase inclusion in their communities

Special Olympics BC is so fortunate to have a diverse and passionate group of young people involved with our new Youth Engagement Project, which is funded by the Government of Canada under the Canada Service Corps.

These young leaders from across the province have exciting ideas and inspiring passion. Running projects in their respective communities, they will increase inclusion and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and create empowering opportunities for Special Olympics athletes.

The Youth Engagement Project participants came together for a kickoff summit August 14 to 16, learning project-management skills and creating action plans to change the world. They impressed with their energy, ideas, and supportiveness of each other!

We’re grateful to these inspiring young people for their determination to create a more inclusive future! Please click here to read about their projects, and stay tuned for coverage of their work to come.

Fun with Fit Families & Friends

Special Olympics BC - Chilliwack Fit Families & Friends

Special Olympics BC created the Fit Families & Friends program to help athletes stay active in the summer in a fun environment alongside peers and supporters. Locals around the province have done a great job of offering this program, and participants have been having tons of fun staying active and meeting health goals together. This summer, a dozen communities around the province offered successful and fun programs, including Chilliwack.

“Fit Families & Friends has been a big hit in Chilliwack,” program leader Megan Owens says. “The athletes and their families love exploring the walking trails our city has to offer. Along with the walks I encourage healthy habits, and we all have great conversations!”

Remember, the fun doesn’t have to stop when the official program ends – you and your families can have a great time staying active together all year round! Good luck and thanks to all participants and volunteers!

Blakes and Vancouver Canadians feature Special Olympics

Special Olympics athlete Jay Laitar Vancouver Canadians

Special Olympics was in the spotlight at the August 29 Vancouver Canadians game, thanks to Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP! Blakes initiated a partnership with Special Olympics BC to present the Canadians game, and donated tickets for athletes and volunteers to attend. SOBC had the opportunity to shine a spotlight on programs with an event booth and promotions, and the skills of SOBC – Surrey softball player Jay Laitar were on display as he threw the first pitch.

Sincere thanks to Blakes and to the Vancouver Canadians for this valuable awareness opportunity and fabulous game experience!

Leadership Council update

Special Olympics BC logo

Special Olympics BC’s Leadership Council provides vital guidance for our organization and movement, and SOBC benefits significantly from the efforts of these valued volunteers.

Comprised of the Regional Coordinators representing the eight SOBC Regions and respected leaders in the SOBC sport world, the council serves as the link between community and regional programs and the Board of Directors of Special Olympics BC. This group plays an important role in helping chart the course of SOBC sport program development, strategic plans, policies, and resources.

We are thrilled to welcome SOBC Hall of Fame volunteer Joanne Thom as the new Regional Coordinator for the Kootenays (Region 1). Thom has generously given more than 25 years of heartfelt dedication to Special Olympics as an SOBC – Kimberley/Cranbrook volunteer and parent. She has served in many roles, including Local Coordinator, and is always willing to step up and help to ensure opportunities and quality for athletes. Her guidance and experience will be highly valuable at the Leadership Council table.

The Leadership Council plays an essential role in creating Special Olympics BC policies. Policies can be created through issues brought forward by members from the local level speaking to their Regional Coordinators. Regional Coordinators bring the concepts to the Leadership Council for deliberations. Out of those discussions, the Leadership Council can recommend the creation of policies, which must be approved by Special Olympics BC’s Board of Directors.

If you are an SOBC athlete, coach, or volunteer who would like to raise an issue, please contact your Regional Coordinator.

Coaches Corner: NCCP and MED courses, floor hockey training, and more

Lots of upcoming opportunities for Special Olympics BC coaches!

✅ The Special Olympics Canada floor hockey sport-specific training module is being hosted in Courtenay on September 14. This course is only offered once a year, so don’t miss out! Learn more.

✅ NCCP Special Olympics Competition Sport Workshops in Abbotsford and Prince George on October 5-6 and also Victoria and Cranbrook November 2-3! Find these events on the SOBC website calendar.

✅ Many NCCP Make Ethical Decisions courses are being hosted this fall around the province. Special Olympics BC coaches are required to take NCCP Make Ethical Decisions (MED) training, which helps coaches handle challenging situations with confidence. Check viaSport British Columbia’s events calendar for course listings.

✅ Stay tuned for celebrations to come in National Coaches Week September 21 to 29! #ThanksCoach #weloveSOBCcoaches

Staff update

In August, Special Olympics BC bid a fond farewell to two departing staff members and welcomed two new ones!

Kate Atkinson has joined the team as a Fund Development Coordinator. A native of the UK, Kate has a degree in physical education and experience teaching in special needs schools. Kate comes with a range of events experience including from her time working for New Zealand Rugby and a recent role with a running company.

Joseph Knowles has joined SOBC as a Communications Coordinator. Joe brings years of experience in creating digital content, writing, promotional material, and photography as a freelancer for a range of businesses and as a Supervisor at the New Westminster Youth Centre. He holds a bachelor’s degree from UBC in kinesiology with a minor in media studies, and has a passion for the power of sport, as a coach of youth sports and a former varsity athlete.

Our very best wishes go with Office Administrator Lauren Openshaw, who departed for a new opportunity, and Health & Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Russell, who was accepted into nursing school! Both have promised to stay involved with SOBC 🙂

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