Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Year-end stories | Chilliwack, Kelowna, & Quesnel

30 December 2015

Special Olympics BC's 2015 Bulletin newsletter is now available online for your year-end reading pleasure! Relive this year's inspiring achievements, exciting events, and generous support in the SOBC Bulletin.

The look back at the great stories from the year includes the engaging accounts shared by SOBC Locals recapping the year in their communities. Enjoy the tales from Chilliwack, Kelowna, and Quesnel below, and turn to the Bulletin to check out more!

News from SOBC – Chilliwack

By Val Monty, Co-Local Coordinator

One of our Executive Committee members, Kathy MacDonald, was given a Sports Hero Award by the City of Chilliwack this year for her volunteer contributions with SOBC – Chilliwack over the years.

Joanne Bunnin, one of our powerlifters, won three gold medals at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles this summer.

In addition, we have expanded our programs and increased the number of athletes that we have participating this year. We are looking forward to continued expansion.

News from SOBC – Kelowna

SOBC – Kelowna has had a wonderful year, including the Kelowna Grizzlies softball team being inducted into the SOBC Hall of Fame and the Local’s amazing successes with the Safeway and CrossFit24 fundraising events. In addition, Grizzlies Head Coach Lorena Mead shared the following tribute.

Dennis Richardson (pictured above left) has been a coach with Special Olympics for 15 years. He has coached 10-pin bowling, powerlifting, and softball. As one of the coaches for the last 11 years with the Special Olympics BC – Kelowna Grizzlies, Dennis has been to two Regional Qualifiers, and two Provincial, National, and World Games.

Dennis goes above and beyond the usual aspects of coaching. He has taught the athletes the importance of exercise and eating healthfully as part of a lifelong skill. Dennis treats the athletes with respect, and they respect him. Dennis has made a difference in the lives of the athletes by supporting them both on and off the softball field with his knowledge, humor, positive attitude, and dedication to them and their sport. Dennis mentors and encourages the athletes to be the best that they can be. All of this is done while he is having fun. 

With the help of Dennis, the other coaches, and the softball players, the Kelowna Grizzlies have been named to the Special Olympics BC Hall of Fame as the only team in B.C. to represent Canada and win medals in three World Games. When coaching and being around the athletes, Dennis can often be heard saying, "It doesn't get any better than this."

News from SOBC – Quesnel

By Rick Prosk, Program Coordinator

We're heading to National Games! 2016 will mark the first time that Special Olympics BC – Quesnel athletes have qualified to attend the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

In February 2015, Quesnel sent eight curlers, three snowshoers, and one cross-country skier to the SOBC Winter Games in Kamloops. One curling team finished third in the B Division, while the other went undefeated in C Division and has since been selected to move on to National Games. These athletes are Glenda Melnychuk, Travis Burt, Martin Scriver, and Dean Cake. Alfred Schotel has since been added as a fifth member.

The other athletes also performed well, most notably Danny Dodgson, who won the 100- and 200-metre snowshoeing races with provincial-best times of 16.25 and 30.25 seconds. Cherie Swaan and Cory Melnychuk will join Danny on the provincial team.

SOBC – Quesnel marked another milestone this year with the registration of our 60th athlete.  Our 13 sport programs – alpine skiing, athletics, basketball, bowling, Club Fit, cross-country skiing, curling, floor hockey, golf, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, snowshoeing, and swimming – fill out a year-round schedule. This year, we hosted competitions in bowling, soccer, and golf. Typically, our other sport programs involve travel to competitions, and we headed to Smithers, Fort. St. John, Kelowna, Burnaby, and Prince George.

Fundraising has been and continues to be a top priority. We've had great community support, either through grants or corporate donations, and have partnered with organizations to take advantage of fundraising opportunities. Our fourth annual ticket raffle last year raised over $8,000. 

We also give back to our community. We supported the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign. For the fourth year, our Relay for Life team raised money for cancer research. This year's total of $4,735 brings our grand total to more than $15,000.

In September, we launched a new program called Make Quesnel Proud, which focused on our past accomplishments but also served to motivate the athletes for the year to come, the National Games, and the summer 2016 Regional Qualifiers. The program reminds athletes that they should always strive to represent their community well, both when competing here and elsewhere, and in their everyday lives.

SOBC – Quesnel began quietly back in 1992 in order to enter a group of athletes into the Northern BC Winter Games being hosted in Quesnel the following February. Several volunteers from that time are still involved in the organization either as coaches, Executive Committee members, or both.

It is this dedication that has allowed Quesnel to continue growing and developing. All of our sport programs are currently headed up by coaches who've now put in several years of service.  The commitment they've shown, along with other hard-working volunteers and Executive members, has allowed SOBC – Quesnel to become a well-known and respected volunteer organization in our community.

2015 SOBC Bulletin

Past newsletters

SOBC - Kelowna coach Dennis Richardson celebrating with softball player Dale Ramsden.

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