These Sunshine Coast Special Olympics Curling Team members are ready for their first ever trip to the SOBC Winter Games in Vernon.
The Games will run from February 21-24.
Darlene Nelson, Head Coach Pat Stuart, Shelley McCuaig, Bruce Stuart and Wes Harrison decked out in their brand new uniforms, sharpened their skills this past weekend at a bonspiel in Langley, where they won two out of three games.
Special O Basketball Gibsons Team & Gibsons Firefighters
Thursday, December 6th at Gibsons Elementary saw the Gibsons Basketball team play a great game of hoops with members of the Gibsons Firefighters. There were great passes, baskets and plays made on both sides.
This was also the final game for coach Laurie Miller who is moving to Nanaimo. Laurie says she will always remember, “All the fun I’ve had and all the friends I have made.” She also agreed that her future plans will continue to include Special Olympics.
Sunday, December 9, 2018
Can you feel it? Nearing the end of 2018 and December is busy! November however was not without its charms. New executive member, Katie Borowski wanted to support Special Olympics. “The best way I knew how to do this was working as program coordinator.” Katie enjoys visiting to each sport and watching the athletes in action. Her goal? “To promote Special Olympics athletes of all ages, especially those in the programs for younger ages.”
Floor hockey fans will be happy to know their athletes are working hard. Drills and scrimmages, concentrate on 3 goals; have fun, get exercise and learn a thing or two. Head Coach Mike Gojevic has coached this team for four years and is thrilled with the athletes’ progress. He is looking forward to having the RCMP play his team in March.
Long time floor hockey player Bryan Ware enjoys having fun and just “being with the coach and fellow athletes”
Kyle VanderHeide, a floor hockey player for two years running, “loves it.” He enjoys the exercise and “running around and playing”
Athlete coaches Michael Brooks and Derick Pye both enjoy seeing “the development and progression of athletes over time.”
Rhythmic Gymnastics is a great way to spend a Tuesday evening. The head coach Ralf Borowski has many goals for his athletes this season but always starting with fundamental movements in the ribbon, ball and hoop routines and becoming more advanced over time.
After his daughter Hailey joined last year, coach Grace Gardner asked Ralf to help out. When fire-fighting duties took Grace off Coast, Ralf was invited to become the new head coach. Ralf took two rhythmic gymnastic coaching courses this summer to improve his skills and now says this is the highlight of his week.
First year athlete Talia Nielsen joined up because she thought it would be fun to be with her friend Hailey. Her favourite routine is the ribbon. Linsey Davidson an 8-year veteran and provincial games medal winner like Talia also prefers the ribbon.
Fitness is paramount to any athlete, and no one understands that better than a fitness coach. Unfortunately, regular Monday fitness coach, Tania Finnigan had to leave the program for a while, because, life. Fortunately, for us, regular Friday fitness instructor, Verna Chan, owner of The Garage Fitness, agreed to step in on Mondays as well. We thank her for sharing her time.
The swimming highlight of November was a fun swim meet between the Orca athletes and the Chinook swimmers with lots of friendly competition and cheering from both teams. After freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly a100-metre medley and even freestyle kick there was yummy pizza from Saffron Restaurant.
This month, come on out to cheer on the Gibsons Firefighters and the Gibsons Bball team on December 6th at the Gibsons Elementary Gym.
And finally, our amazing Christmas banquet will be at the Sechelt Legion on the 15th (with the big red dude making an appearance I heard).
Special Olympics continues to be a force to be reckoned with! See you all next year!
Special Olympics is in full swing! Swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, floor hockey, curling and basketball are going full steam ahead! Here are some October highlights.
SOBC Sports consultant, Jacques Thibault talked with coaches about his new book, “Changing Expectations in Special Olympics”. It discusses the importance of learning the basics first and challenging athletes to be their best.
World’s swimmer Genny Verge traveled to a training camp in Caledon, Ontario where she worked with coaches and trainers on fitness, nutrition and proficiency in the water! Genny’s favourite memory is “seeing everyone bond as a team.”
Executive members Pat Stuart and Katie Borowski attended a Conference in Richmond for the 50th Anniversary of SOBC. They will be sharing what they learned with the Local about athletes’ views on Special O; how to improve their health, performance and leadership skills; sports development and something close to my heart, anti-bullying.
Douglas College Women’s Basketball team held their 5th annual skills camp at the Roberts Creek Elementary gym. Sechelt and Gibsons players participated in warm ups, drills and scrimmages. Gibsons coach Samantha Mills said it was “fun & informative”. She also said this was the first year for many of the Douglas College players but they brought much enthusiasm and some new ideas for drills that the coaches can use with their teams. SOSC greatly appreciates the ongoing support from these fantastic athletes.
The Orcas’ return to the pool has been slow and steady with new and seasoned swimmers getting back to basics. The first Fun Meet of this non-qualifying year will happen on December 10th at the Sechelt Aquatic Centre.
One largely unnoticed group is our dedicated volunteer Executive: Pat Stuart Local Coordinator; Helene Johnston, Treasurer; Nancy Inglis, Secretary, Katie Borowski, Program Coordinator; Allyson Pearson, Registration Coordinator; Kim Fenton, Volunteer Coordinator; & Helen Halet, PR Coordinator. These talented, organized individuals make sure all the i’s are dotted, the t’s crossed and keep everything running behind the scenes. Our ‘senior’ officials are always on the lookout for fresh faces to help carry the torch. Volunteers of all sorts in all areas of the organization are welcome. Whether you enjoy a particular sport and wish to help out once or twice a week or have your sights set on an executive role, contact Pat Stuart at 604 886-2098 or firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you all!
Over the next few months I hope to visit all the sports venues to bring you the stories behind the story. You can also check out our website www.specialolympicssunshinecoast.ca to find out when an event or practice is happening. Thanks to dedicated coach/volunteer, Richard Hoath who regularly posts updates. Come out and support us!
With great satisfaction, Special Olympics Sunshine Coast announces that Orca swim team member Genny Verge is one of 11 athletes from BC and 1 of 109 athletes from all of Canada to be selected to attend the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi from March 14-21! Genny says, “It’s an absolute honour to be representing Canada at such a high level of competition.”
To read the whole story about “… the largest sport and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2019”, visit the Special Olympics website, www.specialolympics.ca/bc.
Olympic rower Marnie McBean chosen as an Honorary Coach, said, “It’s a particular honour since it’s the 50th year of the movement and I know how hard the athletes and coaches who have earned their positions on this team have been working.”
Meanwhile, rain or shine, the new season of Sunshine Coast Special Olympics is about to launch.
Athletes and their families showed up at the SCACL offices on September 20th and signed up for their favourite sports from a wide selection including floor hockey, golf, soccer and track.
Randy Younghusband, continuing head softball coach, while maintaining the same level of energy and fun will also bring that same sense to the world of Sechelt basketball!
Swim coach Gary Rogers said this is a ‘non-qualifying’ year so there will be less pressure imposed on all his athletes (except Genny). He plans to take his swimmers to as many meets as possible.
The Special Olympics universe is vast, encompassing many aspects of life, from health, community inclusion, athleticism, and many kinds of support.
Soccer and floor hockey head coach Mike Gojevic, recently made his debut at the National Transplant Games at UBC where he snagged a gold and two silvers in golf, lawn bowling and 10-pin. No mean feat.
Mike not only devotes major time to Special O but is also an active participant and was this year’s B.C.’s team manager during that monumental event for transplant survivors.
Special Olympics celebrated 50 years of inclusion on July 21st all across Canada. At participating Tim Hortons a special donut created by Special Olympics Alberta athlete Savannah Lussier was sold with proceeds going to fund Special Olympics.
Many athletes, coaches, family & friends on the Coast came out to Timmy’s in Gibsons and enjoyed munching, and socializing whilst promoting Special Olympics. A good time was had by all.
As a grassroots non-profit organization, Special Olympics depends on volunteerism and other forms of community support. This allows our athletes opportunities to participate in the sports offered here on the Coast. From pool and gym rentals to equipment, uniform and travel costs, the generous backing of our own community helps covers them all and our athletes and coaches play a key role in raising awareness and funds.
Genny Verge, athlete and Local Coordinator Pat Stuart delivered a speech to The 100 Women Who Care group who donated $4,000. They have also invited Genny and Coach Cathy to return in September to share their experience at the National Games.
Athletes Bruce Stuart, Candice Garrett and Wes Harrison enjoyed serving pancakes at The Gibsons Legion Community Days breakfast before the Show and Shine Motorcycle Ride. At that time, the Legion generously donated $500 to Special Olympics Sunshine Coast.
The Gibsons Lions Club also donated $500 to our Sunshine Coast team competing at the SO National Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
Finally, our thanks go to Unifor Local 1119. President Don Rheaume, on behalf of the workers at Howe Sound Pulp & Paper, donated $500 in support of SOBC Sunshine Coast.
It is people and organizations like this that help make Special O on the Coast, shine.
One of our SOSC athletes made news at the BC Summer Games in Comox BC July 19-21. Amber Maher competed in Track and Field and returned toting 7 medals; gold for long jump, shotput and 800 metre and silver for the 100, 200 and 400-metre and a relay! Holy Agility Batman! Way to go Amber!
That about does it for this month! Remember, the summer flies by quickly and registration will be coming up in September. And on and on it goes in the world of Special O!
Fifty years of Special Olympics – Wow! I remember a bowling alley in Gibsons in the nineties where I got my first taste.
Back then, bowling was the only sport we had. Thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and parents, after bowling was over, there were lots more sports to play. Years later, in 2008, I again joined our esteemed ranks at the age of twenty-six. By that time there was softball, track and field, golf, swimming and other sports. But we’ll get to that later. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Fifty years ago, a woman named Eunice Kennedy Shriver had a sister named Rosemary who had an intellectual disability. Eunice sought inclusion for all those with an I.D. She founded the Special Olympics as a tribute to that ideal and her love for her sibling.
Meanwhile in the north end of the world, Dr. Frank Hayden from the University of Toronto was working on research that undid the claim that people with intellectual disabilities could not compete in sports. On July 20, 1968, the first Special O world games were held on Soldier Field in Chicago. A year later, Dr. Frank started a chapter in Canada.
Present day, Sunshine Coast: there are sixty plus athletes, forty-five volunteers, and eleven sports in Special Olympics Sunshine Coast. We have had athletes attend competitions in the Lower Mainland, Kamloops, and as far away as Greece.
I myself have been to two Provincial Games, once in 2013 and again in 2017. I am a swimmer and track and field athlete, and I also play bocce. I am a proud Special Olympian and that’s something I will be for as long as I breathe.
So this is a call to ALL chapters, regions, and locals in the Special O universe and those wishing to know more. Volunteer, become an athlete, and you’ll find a world that will not only open your eyes but open your heart. Together world wide let’s celebrate the oath we have lived for fifty years…
Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
Micheal Oswald is the "media man" / athlete reporter for Special Olympics Sunshine Coast. You can frequently find him out at the many events our local hosts, whether it be taking photos or interviewing participants and/or coaches. His work is published in our local media and beyond, including an article in the Huffington Post.