Missing from photo Golf athlete Gus Vaughn and Head Golf Coach Darren Lane.
Photo Credit: Pat Stuart
Special Olympics athletes travelling to the National Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia from July 30-August 6 were honoured at the SOSC Annual General Meeting on June 25. Swimmers Genny Verge and Stephanie Rogers, and softball players Amanda Boghean and Chris Walker are pictured here with Head swim Coach Cathy Verge and Provincial Executive Members Chelsea Rogers and Darren Inouye after receiving their fancy travel bags containing all they will need for their big adventure..
Missing from photo Golf athlete Gus Vaughn and Head Golf Coach Darren Lane.
Photo Credit: Pat Stuart
Special Olympic Sunshine Coast athletes, coaches and executive members accepted The Lions Club invitation to walk in the Canada Day Parade in Sechelt on July 1st. The Lions have been dedicated supporters of all things Special O and the athletes were pleased to be a part of this event.
Some of the attendees are shown in the photo below. Back row L-R Michael Brooks, Katie Borowski, Ralf Borowski, Sarah Black, Hailey Borowski and Micheal Oswald Front row L-R Chris Walker, Christel Jensen and Jordan McCourt.
Photo Credit: Robert Wotton
Mike Oswald Athlete Reporter July 2, 2018
Hello readers! Final column before the spring/summer season winds up. However, Nationals training will continue for those athletes travelling to Nova Scotia.
On May 12th, the Ravens hosted a softball tourney at Hackett Park. Coquitlam Tigers and Vancouver BC Thunder each played a game against the Ravens. There were great plays, homeruns and fun. Thanks to coach Randy for stepping up as umpire, Leenea from the Lions Club, Kathy for being First Aid Attendant and Tina for managing the players bench.
At the game I interviewed athlete coach, Derick Pye who recently returned from a leadership conference on Peer Mentoring with fellow athlete coach Michael Brooks and coach Mike Gojevic. When asked what he took away from the experience Derick replied that he “learned different techniques” to encourage participation in warm-ups.
Coach Mike reported that Michael and Derick both started with Special O as athletes but as they have grown, they discovered an ability and desire to give back. Both bring very positive attitudes to their sports and both are positive influences on our athletes. They were excellent Ambassadors for the Sunshine Coast as they learned about the importance of Mentorship.
Recently at a fundraiser, Hike For Hospice, I was impressed by the important work that so many volunteers undertake with this organization. It was heartwarming to see so much support from everyone, the Lions Club, musicians and even some zany clowns.
This is a perfect example of the power of volunteerism. Whether it is the SPCA, Hospice or my particular forté, Special Olympics, NONE of them would be possible without these fantastic souls. To give freely of ones time in order to enrich the lives of others is by far the greatest choice a fellow human can make. So take time to thank a volunteer.
Special Olympics honoured our own volunteers on Sunday May 27th at Shirley Macey Park, with an Appreciation BBQ, bocce and terrific weather! Tina Beckman, Mike Gojevic, Daryl Lowey, Sheena McDonald, Dave Sandness, Debbie Schoenberger & Catherine Duncombe were acknowledged for 5 years of contribution, and Sheri Archer, Marylin Downey, Helene Johnston, Judy McDonald, George Proudfoot and Marion West for their decade of service.
I spoke with the two Gibsons District Volunteer Firefighters Dale and Lee, who ran the BBQ, and asked what drove them to donate their time. Dale as it turns out is the dad of Amanda, one of the athletes, so his reasons are self-evident. Lee has played Bball with several of the athletes and thought it only right to come and help out. Thank you to both of you!
Some things we are looking forward to in June are a Bocce tournament on June 10th in Burnaby and our AGM on June 25t.h. There will be a soccer game preceding the meeting between Sechelt and Gibsons teams.
Sunshine Coast Special Olympics Softball Tournament May 12, 2018
On Sunday May 12th, The Sunshine Coast Ravens hosted a softball tourney at Hackett Park. The Coquitlam Tigers and The Vancouver Thunder each played a game against our beloved Ravens. All players did well, with some homeruns and outs on bases.
Head coach Randy Younghusband sent this to his team, “Great job hosting Vancouver and Coquitlam Tigers on Saturday!!! It seemed like everyone had a lot of fun, got some sun, and showed off a few good hits. Thank you to all the fans that came out, and the Lions Club for cooking our lunch. Also, thanks to Christel, Michael, Derick, Destiny and others for staying after the games to see our guests off, hand out pins, and help put away equipment.”
Mike Oswald, Athlete Reporter
Photo credit: Randy Younghusband
‘April Showers bring May Flowers’ and the spring/summer season for Special O! Despite soggy weather, soccer, softball golf, track and bocce are underway.
On, April 4th SOBC Sports Consultant Jacques Thibault spoke at a coach’s meeting on the importance of ‘basic skills’ in sports. As a former Olympian, Jacques is very familiar with the results of hard work and dedication.
He emphasized the need for athletes to practice specific skills such as dribbling or catching on their own time. One hour a week practice is not enough. If each athlete had ‘homework’ to practice a skill for even 20 minutes a day, those who dedicate that time will be far more advanced in each of their respective areas.
Thank you Jacques!
On April 5th, Local coordinator Pat Stuart and athletes Genny Verge and Christel Jensen attended a dinner meeting hosted by The Lions Club. Both athletes spoke about Special Olympics and it’s benefits. They also thanked the Lions for their donation to SOSC at last summer’s service for Annette Bertrand.
On April 8th, four track athletes under the guidance of coach Tania Finnigan ran the April Fools Run, relay style. Amber Maher, Genny Verge, Bruce Stuart and Micheal Oswald each ran one leg of the nearly 22 km from Park Road in Upper Gibsons to Davis Bay.
The group, who dubbed themselves The Coast Cannons, blasted out of the starting line and finished the race at a time of 2:24:33. This experience not only benefited them in their respective sports but has also inspired them to look for future challenges as a team.
Sechelt soccer is off to great start. Head coach Mike Gojevic sent in this report,
“We had an energetic group of 10 athletes work out for the first time this year, on a rather wet field. We are looking forward to a full season of fun, getting some exercise and learning about "The Beautiful Game". In addition to our weekly practices, we are looking forward to a joint game with the Gibson's team against our local RCMP members, and travelling to Abbotsford for a weekend tournament in June.”
Upcoming events include a softball tourney on May 12 at Hackett Park where The Ravens will host teams from Coquitlam and possibly North Van and Vancouver; the volunteer Appreciation BBQ at Shirley Macey Park on May 27th with food, fun and bocce in the sun; and Orca swimmer Genny Verge speaking to The “100 Women Who Care” meeting on May 28th.
Finally, we welcome three new volunteers this season. Kathy Garmulewicz who will be helping in bocce and softball, Ralf Borowski who will coach rythmic gymnastics and Katie Duncan who will lend her hand in Track & Field.
Remember sports fans, rain or shine, the show must go on!
The 2018 April Fools’ Run had special meaning for Special Olympics BC on the Sunshine Coast. On Sunday, April 8, four SOBC track and field athletes, Amber Maher, Genny Verge, Bruce Stuart, and Micheal Oswald, put all their hard work together after weeks of training with coach Tania Finnigan in anticipation of the race. Each SOBC athlete ran one leg of the total 21.1-kilometre relay.
The race began on Park Road in Gibsons and finished at Mission Point Park in Davis Bay. It’s thanks to athlete Stuart that coach Finnigan thought to include the other three. Stuart, like Finnigan, is an avid runner who has competed for many years. Stuart wanted to run in this year’s April Fools' Run so Finnigan figured it would be a great chance for the other track and fielders to gain some experience in long distance running. Training began in March with the coach and four athletes meeting weekly to run 5 km as a team. It gave all of them the chance to bond as a unit, who dubbed themselves the Coast Cannons, and to see first-hand the effects of distance running.
This activity blends perfectly with SOBC Sports Consultant Jacques Thibault’s view that athletes who train on their own time in their preferred sports gain better knowledge, understanding, and ultimately inability. Maher is a spitfire on the track. A sprinter by nature, she has gone to BC Games as well as the 2017 Provincial Games in Kamloops. She has done very well and continues to exceed all expectations. Verge is also a BC Games and Provincial Games attendee who has the fortune to be on her way to the 2018 National Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia this summer. She is a swimmer who has launched into running and track as a form of cross-training. Oswald is a swimmer and runner who has seen provincial competition twice, once in 2013 and again in 2018. He, like Maher, is a sprinter but through his experiences running with Stuart, is slowly learning the art of endurance running. Finnigan has been coaching track and field for many years and also instructs Club Fit with many SOSC athletes each Monday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Gibson’s Rec Centre.
The success of this first venture has the Coast Cannons considering that their next challenge might be to run the 10 km Four Lakes Run later this summer. Go Special O!
The fall/winter season went out with a splash as the Orca and Chinook swimmers fun meet showcased incredible talent.
A final game for the Gibsons Basketball team saw them matched with the Gibsons Firefighters and set up and primed them for a rematch next season.
On March 13th at Chatelech Secondary, our local RCMP also joined in for the final floor hockey match of the season with The Sunshine Coast Bears.
Head coach Mike Gojevic reported that it was a great game, with the RCMP members being very active participants. A vocal crowd cheered on the SOBC team, who showed great improvement over the past year. “Thanks to Cst. Sheperd and the entire Sunshine Coast detachment”
These events illustrate the aspect of inclusion that is Special Olympics.
The final curling game in Gibsons meant that it was Funny Hat Day with light-up Shamrock Sunglasses provided by Sandi Cavalier to acknowledge St. Patrick’s Day! That means the spring/summer season is with us once again.
By the time you read this, golf, bocce, track & field, softball & soccer will be underway. This season is especially important because the National Games in Nova Scotia are near. Training continues for Amanda Boghean and Chris Walker with the Vancouver Go Go’s. Swimmers Genny Verge and Stephanie Rogers will travel to Kelowna this month for a pre-nationals meet.
Jacques Thibault, a sports consultant for Special Olympics, is travelling around the province to consult with coaches and trainers to discover how SOBC can help them work more effectively with their athletes. Before joining SOBC he worked for “Own The Podium” with Olympic athletes from around the world.
While visiting our regular fitness program in March, with instructor Tania Finnigan, Jacques talked to some of the athletes and heard stories of their accomplishments. Jacques said that training for athletes on practice days and on their own time is essential. He believes that mixing hard work and training means Special O athletes can compete with the best of the best!
It was inspiring to have such a keen eye observing.
The April Fools Run takes place on April 8th, with track athletes, Bruce Stuart, Genny Verge, Amber Maher and Micheal Oswald taking part in the relay run. Thanks to coach Tania Finnigan for the weekly training.
We also look forward to hearing from Michael Brooks and Derick Pye who will attend a Leadership Conference this month and take part in training for peer mentoring. They will be accompanied by coach Mike Gojevic.
Well that’s all for now, stay strong and stay active!
On Sunday, February 18th, eleven members of the Orca swim team travelled to UBC’s updated aquatic facility for the first swim meet of 2018. The new pool was something to see!
With thirteen teams from across the Lower Mainland as far away as Mission, Squamish and Chilliwack all did a wondrous and incredible job truly performing at their utmost best.
The Orcas were proud to call first time competitors Angus McTavish and Lisa Wortley teammates and fellow Orcas. Both swam hard and enjoyed the experience.
Another new athlete to join our ranks is Georgia Randall. We look forward to seeing her shine in swimming and track!
On February 17th the long awaited Region 5 qualifier bonspiel took place at the Gibsons Curling Arena. Two teams from the Coast, The Penguins and The Polar Bears competed against The Panthers and The Dragons from Vancouver. Twenty athletes persevered through 6 one and a half hour games. Penguins skipped by Bruce Stuart came in 1st and Dustin Archer skipped the Polar Bears to 2nd place.
The Coast occasionally has the chance to host other teams for competitions in such sports as golf, softball or curling and it is often a huge event when it happens. This bonspiel would not have been possible without the help of all these people. Bill Climie, George Proudfoot and Dave Sandness; Josh Pollock, Craig Dixon and Stephen Leong from Vancouver; Pat Stuart and Grace Gardner; Peter Beynon and Kate Barrett as well as Subway who helped with the food.
This event was the lead up to the Provincial Winter Games coming to Vernon BC from February 21-23, 2019. Way to go to everyone who came out and hurried hard, hard, hard!
Next year’s Provincial Winter Games will be the largest one ever. More than 250 volunteer coaches and mission staff will be there to support the athletes in such illustrious sports as alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating.
Our local basketball teams travelled to Coquitlam for their annual tourney. The Sechelt team was short two players but Gibsons, in the manner of true sportsmanship, lent out some of their players so all could participate. The court was ablaze with fab plays and many baskets. Special thanks go out to the coaches who made it possible, Samantha Giampa and Laurie Miller for Gibsons along with Marion West and Alec Robertson for Sechelt.
On March 13 at 6:00 pm the annual Sunshine Coast Bears vs. RCMP Floor Hockey game will take place at Chatelech High School. The usual fanfare will ensue so be sure to come out and cheer on the Bears!
Athlete leadership continues to be a way that Special Olympics furthers our athlete’s aspirations. Athlete speakers, coaches and mentors have opportunities to gain and share skills that benefit them and their community. In the past year, both Christel Jensen and Micheal Oswald have spoken at different schools to spread the word of Special O. and athlete Derick Pye and coach Mike Gojevic will participate in a mentor-training program in April.
Teamwork. The essence of what we do.
Well, it's a new year and that means new happenings in the Special O universe! The winter sport athletes on the Coast are practicing as if they had never taken a break.
Coach Cathy reports that: the ‘Meet & Greet’ Swim Camp from January 5-7 for the National Swim Team even included a ‘little swimming’. The Camp gave the Coaches an opportunity to meet the Athletes they will be tracking and meet their fellow Coaches. The weekend included technique consultations with judges, functional testing and Yoga. Physical as well as mental training was emphasized and athletes Stephanie Rogers and Genny Verge were encouraged to set goals and be aware of ways to calm themselves in the midst of the stress of competition.
Coach Darren Lane, reported from the 2-day training camp in Victoria for his athletes, Gus Vaughn, Chris Walker and Amanda Boghean. This session focused on Cross Fit Training such as core strengthening and endurance “All the athletes, performed well but we're a bit winded as were some of the coaches”. The athletes were encouraged to do goal setting as well. Some goals were personal for each one but all athletes were reminded of the importance of ongoing training and participating in SOBC programs.
One of the goals in Basketball this season is to attend a fun tournament. On February 3rd, both teams will travel to Charles Best Secondary in Coquitlam. Sechelt coaches will be Marion West, Alec Robertson and Shelley McKinnon. Gibsons will have Sam Giampa, Laurie Miller and Dave Diether as coaches. Good luck to both teams!
An upcoming qualifying curling bonspiel will happen in Gibsons on February 17th with two teams from the Coast and two teams from Vancouver participating. The outcome will affect which team advances to the winter games.
Thirteen of the Orcas will compete at a swim meet in the new aquatic facility at UBC. It should be a treat to swim in a $38.5 million dollar pool!
Registration Coordinator Allyson Pearson informs us that a Healthy Athlete Screening will take place on Saturday February 24th at Vancouver Tech Senior Secondary in Vancouver.
This very interesting and informative day allows athletes to be assessed and receive professional help in many fields such as hearing, sight, feet, teeth, and nutrition, All athletes will find the experience worthwhile.
Finally head track coach Tania Finnigan has assembled a team dubbed “The Coast Cannons” to run alongside Bruce Stuart in the April Fools Run. Genny Verge, Amber Maher and Micheal Oswald will each in turn run one leg of the event with Bruce. In preparation, all 4 athletes are meeting every Saturday for a group practice and are encouraged to run at least one or two other days on their own.
VIVA SPECIAL O!
Micheal Oswald, our athlete reporter, is also the author of the book I Am A Man Who Cries. The book is a is a heartfelt compilation of essays, songs and poems - many of which address the experiences and challenges Micheal has faced as a person living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. To purchase a book, please telephone Micheal or Helen Halet at 604-885-6210 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.