Special Olympics BC December Newsletter 2019

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December 2019 Newsletter

Special Olympics BC - Abbotsford floor hockey

From all of us at Special Olympics BC, warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season! The SOBC provincial office will be closed from December 21 to January 1, returning January 2.

2019 year-end newsletter available now!

2019 was a big year of competition for Special Olympics BC as athletes from around the province gave their all in the 2019 SOBC Winter Games in Greater Vernon, and proudly represented Canada on the world stage at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.

Special Olympics Canada honoured four SOBC volunteers with national awards for their outstanding efforts to enrich the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics BC’s year-round programs continued to grow and strengthen, changing more lives through the power and joy of sport, and reshaping the way the world sees people with intellectual disabilities.

Our fundraising initiatives played a vital part in making SOBC’s life-changing programs and events possible, benefitting people who are still too often left behind and forgotten by the rest of the world.

Read all about it in the 2019 SOBC year-end newsletter, featuring some of the great stories and inspiring moments that happened around the province this year!

Amazing action around the province in Special Olympics BC’s 10 summer sports

Special Olympics BC golf

We are excited that Special Olympics BC athletes of a wide range of ability levels from all over the province will have opportunities to compete in Regional Qualifiers this season! A significant number of Locals around the province will host these exciting competitions in 2020, and we sincerely thank all the volunteers, coaches, and supporters who put in so much time to make these important opportunities possible. Best of luck to all competitors!

In the 2020 Regional Qualifiers, athletes will give their all seeking to earn spots in the 2021 Special Olympics BC Summer Games in Surrey. Those Provincial Games will be the qualifier for the 2022 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Medicine Hat, Alberta, which are the national qualifier for the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin, Germany.

While not all athletes will advance to Provincial Games and beyond, a wide range of athletes will have access to the empowering opportunity of competing at Regional Qualifiers in January to June 2020.

Regional Qualifier dates and details can be found on the SOBC website here.

2020 Polar Plunge for SOBC registration now open

Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC

You can set yourself up for thrills and chills in 2020 by registering for the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC!

The Vancouver Island Polar Plunge for SOBC will hit the icy waves of Willows Beach on February 16 and the Vancouver Polar Plunge for SOBC presented by Westminster Savings Credit Union will make a splash at Kitsilano Beach on March 7.

At these events, you can enjoy all the pre-Plunge festivities – including law enforcement vehicle displays, on-stage entertainment, and tasty treats and beverages. When it is time to get freezin’ for a reason, join other fun-loving Plungers to laugh, splash, and charge into the chilly water.

To volunteer at one of these Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOBC events, please send your contact information to mishida@specialolympics.bc.ca.

>> Register now

Take the #SOBCHealthyHoliday Challenge!

Special Olympics BC Healthy Holiday Challenge

Special Olympics BC has a super-fun Healthy Holiday Challenge on the go, which everyone can use to stay healthy and fit this holiday season! The calendar features one fun healthy activity to complete each day this month. Share your challenge photos with us on social media at #SOBCHealthyHoliday!

Health was also top of mind kicking off the holiday season with the wonderful Special Olympics BC Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Coquitlam on December 1. Huge thanks to all the enthusiastic event volunteers, the dedicated volunteer Clinical Directors, the amazing athletes and supporters who took the time to attend, and the generous sponsors who help make these important events possible! Please click here to find photos.

>> Learn more about SOBC’s health initiatives

BC LETR fundraisers score for SOBC

Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraising

Looking to get out to an exciting hockey game this holiday season? The Delta Police Department has you covered!

Be there cheering in the stands as the Vancouver Giants take on the Kelowna Rockets at the Langley Events Centre on December 28. Purchase tickets through the Delta Police Department for $20 and a portion of the proceeds will go to support Special Olympics BC. Delta Police Department members and SOBC athletes will also be selling 50-50 tickets at this Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOBC event. To buy tickets to the game, please contact Constable Jeremy Pearce at jpearce@deltapolice.ca.

Big thanks to Central Saanich Police Service, Saanich Police Department, Oak Bay Police Department, and Victoria Police Department members for hosting a chuck-a-puck fundraiser at the Victoria Royals game on December 6! The event was a lot of fun and raised more than $1,300 for SOBC.

Recognizing Special Olympics champions during 50th anniversary

Vera Anderson

Through 2018 and 2019, Special Olympics BC celebrated the 50th anniversary of the global Special Olympics movement, participating in inspiring events and sharing stories of our game-changing organization.

As part of the festivities, SOBC awarded Special Olympics 50th anniversary medallions to champions who have changed lives and changed the way the world sees individuals with intellectual disabilities. SOBC received a small number of these commemorative medallions to award to individuals, in order to recognize their outstanding support of the Special Olympics movement in British Columbia.

Please click here to meet these inspiring individuals and learn about their significant impact throughout the history of our movement!

Two months to go for Team BC 2020 Training Squad

Team BC 2020 Training Squad snowshoer Mary Adamson

Heading into the home stretch toward the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games! With just over two months to go, members of the Special Olympics Team BC 2020 Training Squad are continuing to give their all in their hometown training.

In more than 32 communities around the province, they are training three times a week and more in their year-round Special Olympics programs and additional cross-training.

Their dedication to their training and desire to achieve personal bests are truly inspiring. Snowshoer Mary Adamson (right) qualified for her spot on the team through her success at the 2019 SOBC Games in her hometown, and says she’s “excited, honoured, and proud” to be part of the Special Olympics Team BC Training Squad.

To Adamson, competing at National Games will be “like a dream come true. A chance to showcase my personal best in a sport that I love.”

>> Read more in their latest team newsletter

Team BC families and supporters can find more resources and information here. Families and supporters who wish to depart with their athlete(s) directly from the Games after the completion of the Games must complete and submit this form by January 15, 2020.

Fans can follow the journey on Special Olympics BC’s social media accounts and website www.soteambc2020.ca!

Draft an Athlete provides empowering opportunities

SOBC – Campbell River athlete Ashley Adie

Before becoming a Special Olympics BC athlete, Ashley Adie kept to herself, felt isolated, and didn’t have many friends. Through SOBC, Adie has found a place where she belongs and feels accepted. She has also developed confidence and social skills that have helped her in all aspects of her life.

“My social circle has expanded tremendously!” she says.

Adie is one of 143 Special Olympics Team BC 2020 Training Squad athletes working hard to prepare for the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay from February 25 to 29. Read Adie’s story and learn more about how supporters can help dedicated, inspiring individuals compete on the national stage by drafting a Special Olympics Team BC 2020 athlete.

>> Donate now
>> Follow Team BC

Athlete Leadership opportunities ahead in 2020

Athlete Speakers Bureau 2018

Through Special Olympics BC Athlete Leadership programs, athletes develop the skills and abilities to lead through a range of roles, including public speaking, participating on Local Committees and Athlete Input Councils, and assisting as fundraising and program volunteers.

These programs are proven to have a lasting benefit to participants by increasing confidence and self-esteem, and a lasting benefit to Special Olympics as these athlete leaders provide invaluable insights to shape the movement.

To expand Athlete Leadership program opportunities available throughout the province, in 2020 SOBC will be offering regional or local Athlete Leadership workshops instead of one central provincial event. Many of these events will focus on delivering the new Athlete Input Council training, to help athletes provide essential feedback to their Locals and Regions.

Athlete leaders will also be encouraged to take SOBC’s anti-bullying workshop, to help them lead the way to ensuring a safe and fun environment for everyone.

Plans for regional workshops are taking shape around the province, and more information will be coming out in 2020. To express your interest or learn more, please contact SOBC Community Development Coordinator Chelsea Rogers by email or by phone at 604-802-4226 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

CF|24 powers support for Special Olympics

CF|24 supporting Special Olympics

Not only do CF|24 presented by TYDAX Fitness participants lift – they raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics programs across Canada!

CrossFit Ladysmith members took the challenge on November 23, taking on 24 workouts in 24 hours. Co-owner Tylor Nelson told the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle that the gym jumped at the chance to participate.

“We like to support anything that’s in support of sport or activity, and Special Olympics is a great cause.”

In Vancouver, CrossFit BC and Raincity Athletics pumped up support for Special Olympics on December 7.

“There are so many smiles and everyone is here to have a good time, support a good cause, and raise some money,” CrossFit BC co-owner Sophie Straith said. “We’ll be here next year – this is going to be a thing now! We’ll be in it for sure.”

We are grateful to all the gyms and participants who support Special Olympics through this fun motionball fundraiser! You can make your workouts make a difference by encouraging your local gym to get involved. For more information, please check out www.cf24.ca or contact Meg Ishida by email or by phone at 604-314-4535 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Successful return of SOBC school sports soccer on the Island

The second-ever Special Olympics BC Vancouver Island School Sports Soccer Tournament featured a stellar day of play by four fantastic teams!

After training for weeks and feeling pumped to play, teams from Nanaimo’s Dover Bay Secondary, Port Alberni’s Alberni District Secondary, Courtenay’s Mark R. Isfeld Secondary, and Parksville’s Ballenas Secondary competed in the second tournament of its kind, held at Ballenas on December 13.

After a great day of close-fought games, the Dover Bay Dolphins came out on top! The hometown Ballenas Whalers kicked into second, while the Isfeld Ice claimed third place and the ADSS Armada netted fourth.

Kudos to all the amazing student-athletes who competed with determination and pride! Huge thanks to the many Ballenas student leader volunteers who helped with refereeing and scorekeeping, to Ballenas staff member and coach Jessica Kerr who organized the gym use, and to all the school staff who took the time to coach and get these awesome student-athletes involved.

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

>> Read more

Westminster Savings goes above and beyond

Westminster Savings staff at the 2019 Vancouver Polar Plunge for SOBC

A valued Special Olympics BC provincial partner since 2017, Westminster Savings Credit Union is a true partner that is always looking for additional ways to plunge in to help Special Olympics athletes and programs. As part of their recent member vote that approved their upcoming merger with Prospera Credit Union, they decided to make donations to their community partners for the first 10,000 ballots, and we are so grateful for their $5,000 donation to Special Olympics BC!

Please click here to read more about the many ways they make a difference.

Skills of Special Olympics athletes on display in mainstream competitions

Special Olympics curlers in Peace Curling Tour

In year-round Special Olympics BC programs, athletes with intellectual disabilities develop vital skills, confidence, and friendships that help them succeed in sports and throughout their lives. It’s exciting to watch when Special Olympics BC athletes get opportunities to use these abilities to succeed in mainstream sport settings.

An amazing new example is the Pomeroy Inn & Suites Peace Curling Tour opening its arms to welcome Special Olympics BC athletes this winter. The Peace Curling Tour is giving SOBC athletes the opportunity to compete in a new Special Olympics division and show their skills alongside a wide range of mainstream curlers, opening eyes to their abilities.

The SOBC – Dawson Creek Tornadoes and the SOBC – Fort St. John Lightning have played with pride in the tour stops in Dawson Creek on November 24 and Fort St. John on December 8. They will next hit the ice in the Tour Championship January 10-12, 2020, in Sexsmith, Alberta, where they will also face off against two Special Olympics Alberta teams from Grande Prairie.

“I thought it was really good. I was happy we were included, and they welcomed us with open arms. It was a good experience for us and for people to see who are,” SOBC – Dawson Creek curler David Johnston said.

>> Read more

Athlete and caregiver feedback wanted

The Champions for Inclusive Health Stakeholder Coalition has launched surveys to seek insights from athletes and caregivers about their health experiences. Feedback will help tackle the systemic changes needed to improve health care and overall health for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Thank you for your time and valuable insights!

Coaches Corner: Tools for building basic sport skills

Special Olympics BC bocce

✅ Through his work with Special Olympics BC and the Coach Development Workshops (formerly Performance Program), sport performance expert Jacques Thibault has created a skill package for every SOBC sport. These packages outline the basic skills that each athlete should be able to do as a foundation for their sport. The packages are valuable for coaches because they contain tips for coaching skill progression, assessment checklists, and lesson planning tools.

The Basic Skill Acquisition packages for all 18 SOBC sports can be found on each sport page in the Sport Rules, Resources, and Videos hub.

These packages identify the fundamental skills that an athlete should have to participate with confidence and ability in their chosen sport. Having these skills will allow athletes not only to succeed in Special Olympics programs and competitions, but also feel confident that they can go into generic sport settings and be active and successful there too.

Thanks to Jacques for creating and sharing these valuable resources, and thanks to all coaches for making use of these tools to help elevate performance province-wide!

✅ There are limited spaces remaining in the NCCP Special Olympics Competition Sport Workshop coming up in Vernon February 1-2 – please click to find registration details!

✅ Make sure to take advantage of all resources Special Olympics BC has to offer by checking out the resources page here.

Staff update

December 20 will be Leslie Thornley’s last day as a Special Olympics BC staff member, as she is retiring and taking on new adventures. Through her 13 years on staff – first as the Community Development staff member based in the Okanagan, then as a Sport Manager – she has been a positive, passionate force to be reckoned with. Leslie has always demonstrated wholehearted dedication to ensuring the best-quality experiences for athletes and volunteers in our organization.

Through her years of thorough and thoughtful work with Locals, provincial and national teams, and all levels of Games, competitions, and coaching events, Leslie has shown inspiring commitment to delivering the very best for deserving athletes, coaches, and volunteers. She will be much missed but has promised to stay in touch!

The Programs department roles are being restructured and a new staff member will be joining the team in the new year. Please feel free to check the contact page on the SOBC website to reach all staff members.

3701 Hastings St., Unit 210
Burnaby, B.C. V5C 2H6
Toll-free: 1-888-854-2276
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