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- In the Spotlight
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Year-end stories | Salmon Arm, Sunshine Coast, & Trail
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 stories and photos from Salmon Arm, Sunshine Coast, and Trail below, and turn to the Bulletin to check out more!
Snapshot from SOBC – Salmon Arm
SOBC – Salmon Arm bocce players and coach Jacquie Bolen after winning first place in Division C at the June 2015 tournament hosted by SOBC – South Okanagan. Photo courtesy of the Salmon Arm Observer.
News from SOBC – Sunshine Coast
By Mike Oswald, Athlete Reporter
Hello everybody! 2015 was full of accomplishments for Special Olympics on the Sunshine Coast. Fifty-six athletes, several coaches, and even more volunteers ushered in a season of personal bests, skill improvement and friendly competition, fabulous fundraising, and of course, who can forget World Games in Los Angeles! Swimming Head Coach Marie Telder travelled there and athletes on her team won the first gold medal for Canada and broke the World Games record for a relay!
Other travel adventures included swimmers Genny Verge and Michael Beckman who attended a skills camp at Simon Fraser University, and our whole team travelling to Vancouver for a meet. The Gibsons basketball team went to a tournament in Coquitlam, returning as first in their division! Our softball team, the Ravens, travelled to Coquitlam, the soccer team headed to Delta, and the curling team travelled to Abbotsford.
Pictured at right: SOBC – Sunshine Coast basketball
Floor hockey athletes Dustin Archer, Gus Vaughn, Brandon Lacey, and Chris Walker took part in the skills competition at the SOBC – Vancouver Annual Jon Baillie Invitational Floor Hockey Tournament along with Assistant Coach Darren Lane. Although they were unable to compete because they do not yet have a large enough travel team, the rush of seeing high-level games played was treat enough.
Archer, Vaughn, Lacey, Bryan Ware, Lindsey Pearson, and Derrick Pye along with coaches Chuck and Annette Bertrand travelled to Eaglequest Golf in Surrey for a fun tournament with their team (pictured at left).
We have been fortunate enough to have athletes from off-coast come visit us. The Coquitlam Tigers played softball in the sun against the Ravens, and a team of Vancouver bocce players enjoyed the quiet game with our athletes.
Douglas College’s women’s basketball team held a skills camp at Elphinstone Secondary School and taught us a whole new way to look at the game!
Even on the Coast, we are lucky to have teams in both Sechelt and Gibsons that visit each other for games of basketball and soccer.
Pictured at right: SOBC – Sunshine Coast softball; photo by Darren Inouye, Region 5 Coordinator
Our local RCMP likes to get involved with our Special O teams as well. They have played floor hockey with our Bears and basketball with the Sechelt team, and had planned to participate in a soccer game with the Sechelt and Gibsons teams. We are confident we will see the officers on the field next season.
One of the highlights of the year is the SOBC – Sunshine Coast volunteer appreciation banquet. In 2015, five-year service pins were awarded to Bertrand, Telder, Robert Wotton, Tania Flynn, and Randy Younghusband, with a 10-year pin going to Jeannie Barwise.
Even though people in the community donate their time, dollars are also appreciated. Thanks to fundraising efforts, new equipment was purchased for our rhythmic gymnastics team, among other things. We thank everyone who bought a raffle ticket or attended Ken McBride’s concert at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, and the many people who donate goods and services to help our efforts. Our wonderful athlete/fundraiser Jordan McCourt, who collects bottles and cans all year, donated generously to our organization as well as other notable causes.
So, 2015 was quite the year for Special O in our little slice of paradise. We are all awaiting 2016 as Regional Qualifiers are coming up! Go, Special O!
In 2015 Micheal Oswald's work was featured in The Huffington Post on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
News from SOBC – Trail
By Ben Postmus, Local Coordinator
So, what has life been like in Trail? We like to think that we are truly making a difference for all of the athletes in our Local. All of our sports have healthy numbers. Five-pin bowling, floor hockey, swimming, snowshoeing and Club Fit are all going full speed ahead.
Looking back at January through to the summer, we were so very visible in our community. Silver City Parade, floor hockey nights with local supporters, local Italian Days bocce tourney, volunteering at local events with the United Way and the local health foundation, and being on the sports page of the local paper almost weekly! Alpine skiing struggled a bit due to poor snow conditions, but bocce, swimming, soccer, golf, and basketball all had solid seasons.
A couple of our athletes are currently training for the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Newfoundland and Labrador: William Thatcher in snowshoeing and Jake Miller who was picked up by the Kootenays floor hockey team.
We are very excited to introduce curling as our 11th program. Trail is the only Local in the Kootenays to start up a curling squad.
Kevin Nesbitt and Deane Horning have stepped up and accepted the invitation to coach the SOBC – Trail curling squad. Six athletes showed up for the first night and they were very excited.
The new coaches have lots of experience, with Horning’s Brier trips and Nesbitt having competed at multiple provincials. Nesbitt is also a local golf pro so his teaching skills will come in very handy. They are going to be assisted by Tony Veltri, who is the father of one of the curlers. He is also a fabulous volunteer.
We have two experienced curlers in recent Kelowna import Robert Tarko, who attended the National Games for curling in Ottawa in 2000, and local Adam Bateman who curled in the Rossland men's league.
With these two experienced athletes mentoring our new curlers, Maria Veltri, Stu Hawton, Caren McAndrew, and Jake Miller, it won't be long before we will be looking for some competition in the Okanagan or west Coast.
We already have the support of the Trail Curling Club and they have been just fantastic. It brings so much joy when we are able to start up a new program, and have athlete enthusiasm, community support, and the willingness of such skilled coaches to drive the project and put so many smiles on faces!
Trail and this area truly have embraced all of our athletes and what we do. They support us, compete with us, and cheer us on. We truly do live in the Home Of Champions.