Special Olympics BC September 2019 Newsletter

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September 2019 Newsletter

Special Olympics Team BC Training Squad bowler Danielle Cavenaile

Danielle Cavenaile and the Special Olympics Team BC 2020 Training Squad bowlers worked hard in their September Sport Summit! www.soteambc2020.ca

B.C. volunteers capture Special Olympics Canada awards

Award-winning Special Olympics coach Angela Behn

We’re delighted to congratulate four B.C. volunteers who have just been announced as the deserving winners of 2019 Special Olympics Canada awards! Nanaimo’s Angela Behn (pictured at right with athletes) and Burnaby’s Peter De Marchi have won the Special Olympics Canada Female and Male Coach of the Year titles, and Mike McClenahan and Michael Blondé have earned the 2019 Frank Selke Fundraising Volunteer of the Year Award.

All of B.C.’s national award winners have displayed outstanding dedication to Special Olympics, and have helped countless athletes achieve their goals.

>> Read more

Sports Celebrities Festival celebrates two iconic sport organizations

SOBC athlete Michael Langridge and Canucks forward Brandon Sutter

Special Olympics athletes and Vancouver Canucks players have long histories of being inspiring role models. We can’t wait to see these sport stars share the spotlight at the 2019 Sports Celebrities Festival presented by Wheaton Precious Metals!

Taking place on October 7 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, this inspiring and interactive gala will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics movement and the Canucks’ 50th NHL season. Funds raised will support the life-changing work of Special Olympics BC and the Canucks for Kids Fund.

The event’s exciting silent auction bidding will take place online again this year, and will feature many unique and sought-after items. Stay tuned to SOBC’s website and social media channels for more details coming this week!

>> Learn more

Team BC 2020 Training Squad getting set to shine in Thunder Bay

Theo Jack Team BC 2020 Training Squad

This fall is action-packed for the Special Olympics Team BC 2020 Training Squad! The members from more than 32 communities around the province are coming together with their sport teams for Sport Summits. At the summits, they are building their sport skills, mental performance techniques, Games and nutrition knowledge, goals, and team spirit to help them deliver personal bests at the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay.

The 5-pin bowling, curling, figure skating, and snowshoeing teams have already aced their summits along with the B.C. Vipers floor hockey team! Up next are speed skating, the North Shore floor hockey team, alpine skiing, and cross country skiing.

Team members are showing impressive commitment to training in their home communities, putting in the work at least three times a week, with the vital support of their training coaches and supporters.

Please click here to meet some of the many team members who are epitomizing the 2020 National Games theme of “pure heart” through their dedication to their training, including Kitimat curler Theo Jack (pictured above right).

Fans can follow the journey on Special Olympics BC’s social media accounts and website www.soteambc2020.ca! Supporters who are planning to travel to the National Games can find key info on the Families & Fans page, including team supporter gear info coming soon.

Fun and physical activity at motionball events

Marathon of Sport Kelowna

We’re excited about the fun and inclusive motionball events taking place across the province this fall! At these events, young professionals and Special Olympics BC athletes have a terrific time being active, making new friends, and raising funds for Special Olympics programs across the country.

Marathon of Sport Kelowna presented by Kelowna Toyota

This high-energy event was a huge success once again, held at City Park on September 21. Teams of young professionals competed alongside SOBC athletes in a variety of sports for a day of full of fun, inclusion, and laughter. Participants raised significant funds for Special Olympics across Canada through their inspiring efforts. Read about Darryl Reuter, a longtime Marathon of Sport Kelowna participant who will get a fire-breathing unicorn tattoo after surpassing his fundraising goal of $10,000!

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. Stay tuned to SOBC channels for more details on these events and more motionballU announcements.


CF|24 will pump up support for Special Olympics on November 23! In gyms across Canada, CrossFitters will take part in marathon workouts alongside Special Olympics athletes. You can celebrate inclusion and make your workouts make a difference by encouraging your local gym to get involved. For more information, check out www.cf24.ca or contact Meg Ishida by email at mishida@specialolympics.bc.ca or by phone at 604-314-4535 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Special Olympics athletes ready to Rock the Rink

Special Olympics figure skater Alexandra Magee

It’s almost time to Rock the Rink! The nationwide figure skating tour headlined by Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, Patrick Chan, Elvis Stojko, Kaetlyn Osmond, Jeremy Abbott, and Carolina Kostner will feature a Special Olympics Canada athlete performing a solo at each Canadian stop.

Rock the Rink begins Saturday, October 5, in Abbotsford. SOBC – Surrey figure skater and SOBC Hall of Fame member Marc Theriault is ready to take the ice in the kickoff show, and says it’s a “dream come true.”

SOBC – Kelowna’s Alexandra Magee (pictured above right) is set to skate in Penticton on October 6; she says she is excited and hoping to inspire other Special Olympics skaters. Vancouver’s Alexander Pang is ready to show his skills at UBC’s Thunderbird Arena on October 7, and Fort St. John’s Darlene Jakubowski is set to shine in the shows in Dawson Creek on October 11 and Prince George on October 12.

Rock the Rink is a true champion of inclusion. We can’t wait to see these skaters show their skills throughout B.C.!

For Rock the Rink information and ticket purchasing, please click here. For the Vancouver show, use the promo code SOBCROCKS to unlock special-offer savings on last-minute tickets thanks to Rock the Rink and UBC’s Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.

Young leaders building a more inclusive future

Special Olympics Inclusive Youth Leadership Summit

Achieving meaningful inclusion was the mandate of the Special Olympics Inclusive Youth Leadership Summit held in Chicago this month. We’re proud of the three inspiring young leaders from B.C. who participated in this training, in order to take their leadership to the next level in support of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in school and the workplace.

Three cheers for SOBC – Chilliwack athlete Madeleline Kean and Youth Engagement Project participants Megan Owens of SOBC – Chilliwack and Rachel Simes of Hope!

Please click here to read more about the event.

Polar Plunge for SOBC coming to Revelstoke

Polar Plunge for SOBC

For the first time ever, brave Special Olympics BC supporters can go jump in a lake!

We are pumped for the inaugural Revelstoke Polar Plunge for SOBC on October 20. Courageous Plungers will laugh, splash, and support a great cause as they charge into the icy waters of Williamson Lake in Revelstoke. This will be the first Polar Plunge for SOBC in Region 2 and the first time Special Olympics BC supporters will plunge into freshwater.

You can register for this Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOBC event as an individual or a team. Plungers will be treated to hot beverages and doughnuts provided by Tim Hortons and a barbecue with items available by donation.

>> Register now

Seasonal end to Fit Families & Friends doesn’t mark the end for fitness

Special Olympics Healthy Community

This year marked the fourth year of Special Olympics BC running the Fit Families & Friends program, which was created to help athletes stay active in the summer in a fun environment.

This program provides great opportunities for Special Olympics BC athletes to get out with their families, friends, and social supports to meet as a group and exercise together, creating an engaging atmosphere to encourage each other and meet health goals together.

Groups meet for fitness-building hikes, sports or other healthy activities depending on the Local, with the common goal to get participants moving and get that heart rate up! Langley’s program leader Tanis Thiessen says, “Every session we had the participants laughing and smiling and happiness is a big supporter of health.”

>> Read more

Knights of Columbus continue strong support for Special Olympics

B.C./Yukon Knights of Columbus 108th annual State Council AGM and Convention

“It takes an international movement like Special Olympics along with partners like the Knights of Columbus to show the world how people with intellectual disabilities deserve to be treated and respected!” Special Olympics BC – Surrey athlete Ryan Canuel said at this year’s B.C./Yukon Knights of Columbus 108th annual State Council AGM and Convention.

Heartfelt thanks to Knights of Columbus councils across the province for raising more than $4,500 for SOBC in 2019! The Knights of Columbus and Special Olympics have a long-standing and important relationship, dating all the way back to the founding of Special Olympics in 1968. We greatly appreciate their support, and we look forward to making a difference together for many years to come.

Coaches Corner: Thanks and resources!

Special Olympics BC coach Dawn and athlete Barbie

In September’s National Coaches Week and all year round, we thank the dedicated coaches who make Special Olympics BC’s year-round programs and life-changing opportunities possible! Offering more than just sport instruction, you are teachers, role models, mentors, and friends. Your commitment to athletes is inspirational and your support allows athletes to always strive for their best. We can’t thank you enough!

Check out some new resources and upcoming opportunities:

✅ The SOBC Head Coach Manual has been updated and uploaded to the SOBC website resources section. Please click here to find the page with that manual and similar coaching tools for all sports.

✅ There’s still time to sign up for the NCCP Special Olympics Competition Sport Workshops in Victoria and Cranbrook on November 2-3, with limited spaces available! Find event details on the SOBC website calendar.

SOBC Board of Directors and Leadership Council updates

Special Olympics BC logo

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

Board of Directors

At the 2019 Special Olympics BC Annual General Meeting on September 17, the Board of Directors elected a new Executive Committee, welcomed three new members, and saluted two retiring members.

Long-standing Special Olympics champions Ted Hirst and Randy Smallwood were elected into the roles of Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. Hirst is Canaccord Genuity’s Managing Director, Investment Banking – Global Head of Resources. Smallwood is the President & CEO of Wheaton Precious Metals. Pamela Keith of Dueck Auto Group serves as SOBC’s Past Chair, Money Talks host Michael Campbell as Secretary, and Colin Yakashiro of Grant Thornton as Treasurer.

Also at the 2019 AGM, SOBC welcomed new Directors Robert Croft, Devinder Gill, and Nicola Lambrechts to the Board, and honoured outgoing Directors Michael Coyle and Peter Kalbfleisch, who retired from their roles after many years of impactful service to the organization.

>> Read more

Leadership Council

Comprised of the Regional Coordinators representing the eight SOBC Regions and respected leaders in the SOBC sport world, the Leadership 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 – Coquitlam volunteer Mark Schnurr as the new Regional Coordinator for Region 3. Schnurr has committed more than 30 years of inspiring dedication to Special Olympics BC as a volunteer and coach. With local experience and perspectives from numerous levels of competition, including many Regional and provincial teams as well as serving as an alpine skiing coach for Team Canada 2017, Schnurr will bring extensive knowledge and guidance to the Leadership Council.

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.

Applications for 2020 BC Winter Games now available

Special Olympics figure skater Matthew Lai at the 2016 BC Games

Applications are now available for Special Olympics BC figure skaters and speed skaters interested in competing in the 2020 BC Winter Games, which will take place in Fort St. John next February.

A review of sports by the BC Games has resulted in changes to which Special Olympics events will be offered at the 2020 BC Winter Games. SOBC athletes will have the opportunity to compete in speed skating as well as figure skating, but basketball is not being offered this time.

These BC Games are distinct from Special Olympics BC Games, which are our Provincial Games hosted by SOBC solely for SOBC athletes. SOBC athletes have been showcasing their skills in the generic BC Games for 17 years, competing in Special Olympics divisions.

For more information, please contact SOBC Sport Coordinator Jean Tetarenko by email or by phone at 250-883-2452 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Special Olympics volunteers Sylvia Masich, Mark Tewksbury honoured with awards

Congratulations to Special Olympics BC – Prince George coach Sylvia Masich and Special Olympics Canada Past Chair Mark Tewksbury, who both recently received awards in recognition for their outstanding achievements.

A dedicated coach with SOBC – Prince George’s athletics and snowshoeing programs, Masich was presented with the Prince George City Council’s Youth of the Year Award on June 24. This award is given to high achievers between the ages of 13 and 18 attending school in the city who have demonstrated a high level of school involvement and significant contributions in the community through volunteering.

On September 13, Olympic champion swimmer and longtime Special Olympics Canada champion Mark Tewksbury received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality, recognizing his ongoing efforts to fight for equality. A three-time Olympic medallist for swimming, including gold in 1992, Tewksbury has given his time to Special Olympics as an advocate and leader for many years. He is known as a champion of justice, fair play, and equal rights who has addressed human rights at the United Nations as a leader in the global LGBTQ+ movement.

>> Read more

Special Olympics Canada online orientation course for new volunteers

Special Olympics Canada logo

Are you a new Special Olympics volunteer who has already registered with your local program? Please click here to access the Special Olympics Canada Volunteer Orientation Course!

This interactive online orientation course offers a thorough and interesting introduction to the world of Special Olympics, enhancing your ability to coach and support the SOBC athletes in your community, and help them enrich their lives through sport.

This course has been refreshed and is back up, so all new volunteers are encouraged to complete it. Visit the portal, create an account, click on the link in your confirmation email, then enter the site and find the volunteer training – then click on British Columbia and find the Special Olympics BC volunteer orientation. When you get to the first page of orientation, click on Part One Introduction and Overview, and then follow the modules.

If you have questions or feedback, please contact your Region’s SOBC Community Development staff member.

Read up on recent rule changes in three sports

Special Olympics BC softball

The following Special Olympics Canada sports have experienced recent rule changes nationwide:

5-pin bowling: Scoring is moving from pins over average to match play.

Powerlifting: To determine best lifters overall (total) or best single lifts regardless of body weight, the IPF Formula will be used instead of the Wilkes formula for selection.

Softball: The ball used shall be a 12” Worth Hot Dot yellow restricted flight ball with red stich following these specs: – COR: .52 – Compression: 275lbs

To find the latest rules for all Special Olympics BC sports, please visit the Sports Rules, Resources, & Videos section in the Resources area of the SOBC website.

SOBC resource spotlight: Marketing tools

Special Olympics BC logo

Locals have access to a range of Special Olympics BC PR and marketing resources online. Please check out this page to find tools, templates, and guides for a variety of branded promotional material to help raise awareness about Special Olympics and your opportunities.

If you have any questions or ideas, please contact SOBC Communications Manager Megan Pollock by email or by phone at 604-737-3077 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

SOBC staff update

In September, Special Olympics BC welcomed Marlow de Paul as Sport Coordinator working on health initiatives. Marlow has a degree in kinesiology and psychology from McMaster University, where she interned as an athletic therapist working with varsity athletes. We are very excited to have her continue moving health initiatives forward!

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