Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Meet Volunteer Andrea Boyes

25 April 2017

Special Olympics BC – Victoria volunteer Andrea Boyes says she is constantly inspired by SOBC athletes’ amazing levels of sportsmanship and camaraderie.

As her Local’s Public Relations Coordinator, Boyes says she feels privileged to have the opportunity to tell SOBC athletes’ stories. She says Special Olympics volunteers receive so much more than they give, and helping athletes reach their potential is an incredible experience.

Boyes started with SOBC as a figure skating coach when she was in high school. As a coach, she says her most memorable moments involve helping athletes develop their skills by providing guidance and encouragement. Boyes would like to recognize the hardworking members of SOBC – Victoria’s Local Committee who do so much behind the scenes to support the Local’s sport programs.

When did you start with Special Olympics and how did you get involved?

I started coaching Special Olympics figure skating in Richmond in high school in the 1990s! The SOBC – Richmond skaters trained at my skating club and one of the coaches asked my good friend Krystle Eng and I if we would be interested in assisting with the program. We signed up and loved it so much that we both coached all the way through high school. Years later I would find myself living in Victoria and presented with the opportunity again by my friend and skating partner Martin Newham. We both signed up with SOBC – Victoria and coached figure skating until last year. Martin still coaches in the golf program. Meanwhile, I had also taken on the sub-committee position of Volunteer Recruiter, and moved into the role of Public Relations Coordinator last summer. I also recently had the opportunity to co-facilitate the SOBC Athlete Speakers Bureau Level 2 course, which I really enjoyed. I have now been with the SOBC – Victoria for five years.

What has been your most memorable Special Olympics experience?

There are too many memorable moments to pick just one! I would say every single moment I witness the level of sportsmanship and camaraderie between Special Olympics athletes that is to an extent you won’t find anywhere else. For coaching, I love those moments where you get to play a part in an athlete’s improvement in their sport, be it with a technical suggestion or an encouraging word! As Public Relations Coordinator, I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to tell the stories of these amazing athletes! Recently, I really enjoyed seeing the level of interest our Victoria media had on our alpine skiing athlete Michael Langridge winning two gold medals at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The story was featured in print, on TV, on radio, and online!

What is your favourite thing about being involved with SOBC?  

I think this is something every Special Olympics volunteer can relate to: We all donate our time and expertise for this organization, but we gain SO MUCH MORE than we give – through the opportunity to play a role in and witness our amazing athletes reaching their full potential. I am inspired every day by our athletes.

What would you like others to know about Special Olympics BC – Victoria?

All the work our Local Committee members do! The coaches and athletes are the ones who are the most visible in their efforts and accomplishments in Special O, but if not for our Local Committee members working behind the scenes, our sport programs would not run! Our Local Committee members donate so much time and energy and really pour their whole hearts into everything they do. They are often the ones “taking one for the team” by doing the “less fun tasks” – like crunching numbers or typing up meeting minutes. They are our unsung heroes!

Andrea Boyes (second from right) and SOBC - Victoria athletes and volunteers at the Athlete Leadership workshop April 2017.

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