Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Meet Coach Keith McKeeman

12 December 2017

Special Olympics BC – Dawson Creek’s Keith McKeeman says coaching SOBC athletes is a very fulfilling experience, and he loves to see them having fun at practices and competitions.

As Head Coach of SOBC – Dawson Creek’s speed skating program, McKeeman supports athletes in many ways, including helping them with their technical skills, serving as team equipment manager, and driving them to competitions. McKeeman has worked hard to develop SOBC – Dawson Creek’s speed skating program, and he says every year the program provides athletes with more opportunities to build their skills and attend competitions.

McKeeman says people in Dawson Creek have done a fantastic job of supporting Special Olympics in their community. He says it has been exciting to see SOBC – Dawson Creek add new sport programs, and he is looking forward to seeing the Local continue to grow.

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

When I first moved to Dawson Creek in 2000 with my family, we enrolled our kids in the Dawson Creek Speed Skating Club. I also joined the club to skate with my kids. We did that for three years. The club had a very supportive group of parents and volunteers. After that my kids moved on to hockey, but I never forgot how good the club was for families. Around 2008, I got a job managing the children and youth with special needs life skills and respite programs at the South Peace Child Development Centre in Dawson Creek. In our life skills program we promote a lot of physical activities. I remembered how supportive and accepting the Dawson Creek Speed Skating Club was when I was in it with my kids, so I went to see if our clients could participate in the club. The club was very welcoming to the idea, and they helped me support the kids that wanted to give it a try. Well, things took off from there, and we regularly participated in practices for a few years.

At this time a co-worker (Tracy Heartt) asked me if I was interested in meeting Lois McNary from SOBC to discuss developing a relationship with SOBC. I jumped at this opportunity! Well, the meeting with Ms. McNary was awesome, and from there the relationship with the South Peace Child Development Centre, SOBC, and SOBC – Dawson Creek took off. We have been working together now for about four years and every year the opportunities for the athletes have grown. We now have adult athletes skating and we have gone to meets in Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Grande Prairie, and Coquitlam over the past few years. SOBC has provided funding for dryland training, sports psychology resources, and on-ice training for the athletes. SOBC – Dawson Creek has also been fantastic in supporting its speed skating program.

What has been your most memorable Special Olympics experience?

  1. One that stands out is when SOBC invited me and two athletes to Coquitlam. We drove to the Fort St. John airport to catch the plane and we showed up at the ticket booth at the time the plane landed at Vancouver. I misread the email and showed up at the airport at the arrival time. Thank goodness the ticket people took pity on us and put us on the next available flight at no extra cost!
  2. On the positive side, when I took the two athletes to our first SOBC speed skating meet in Coquitlam, being with the athletes and coaches was an incredible time. They all made us feel so great to be part of this organization!

What would you like others to know about SOBC – Dawson Creek?

The small-town support SOBC – Dawson Creek has received is incredible. People have stepped up to coach and provide funding. We are starting skiing, curling, and Club Fit programs, and bowling and speed skating are well entrenched. We are well on our way to being a powerhouse of SOBC sports!

Coach Keith is an amazing person and so many are very grateful and lucky to have him in our home community. He just gives so much of himself to his community! And are very thankful he became involved with SOBC, as it has opened doors for so many!

Anonymous Tue, 2017-12-19 10:41

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