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In The News...Recruitment Drive

posted 14 Nov 2016, 07:13 by Brockville Webmaster   [ updated 14 Nov 2016, 07:23 ]

Special Olympics Brockville and Area

Special Olympics Brockville and Area


Photo by DOREEN BARNES
Three individuals from the Special Olympics Ontario Brockville and Area Community Council – from left, Registrar Teena Walker, Fundraising Co-ordinator Dave Cavanagh and Public Relations Co-ordinator Jody Curry – are introducing their mascot, Brock the Bear, to the area and promoting the volunteer awareness drive. There’s a contest the week of Sept. 10-15 involving the locations where Brock will be displayed. Movie passes will be awarded to the winner.
St. Lawrence News

For those who are not aware, like many organizations, Special Olympics relies on volunteers to assist in many of the activities that makes the Special Olympics Ontario Brockville and Area Community Council the success it is.

"Brockville and Area Community Council is at a crossroads," said Fundraising Co-ordinator Dave Cavanagh. "Our success over the years has increased membership, and we are reaching our maximums. Our track and field started with six athletes; now we have over 40. We have two softball teams and could start a third, the same with floor hockey and basketball."

Special Olympics is a charitable organization dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals, from eight years old to lifetime, with intellectual disabilities through the opportunity to participate, train and compete in sports activities, on a weekly basis.

"It provides these individuals opportunities to learn new skills, to be active and engaged in their community and probably most importantly, it provides opportunities for these individuals to build confidence, be socially involved and develop friendships between each other and the community," indicated Cavanagh.

In Canada, there are more than 40,000 Special Olympians with approximately 21,000 in Ontario. Worldwide, three million athletes in 175 countries are involved in sports.

"Currently, we have about 70 athletes involved in bowling, basketball, floor hockey, track and field, swimming, softball and Nordic skiing," said Registrar Teena Walker, whose husband Paul is a coach. "Our numbers are growing."

As each sport's participation grows so does the need for more coaches and volunteers.

The Special Olympics Ontario Brockville and Area is asking the community to come forward to either become a coach or to help with coaching duties.

If you have spare time or are retired and want to be involved in a sporting activity, give Special Olympics a try. No coach is expected to be a professional, and there are many levels of coaching.

The requirement for coaches would be at least eight for bowling, six in basketball, four in floor hockey, three in track and field, three in swimming, soft ball is looking for three coaches, particularly females and Nordic skiing could use two.

"The swimming program is most important, because the more challenged individuals participate," said Cavanagh. "Most athletes choose more than one sport to play in."

Weekend training is provided, at no cost to the individuals stepping forward to assist this amazing close knit organization of athletes.

Should anyone wish to volunteer for the Special Olympics Ontario Brockville and Area but does not want to be a coach, there are other areas in administration for people.

"We need council members, a fundraising co-ordinator, members-at-large for fundraising events, people to be on a committee for a specific cause and a community coordinator," stated Public Relations Co-ordinator Jody Curry.

As well, Cavanagh is hoping to build a relationship with the Ontario Provincial Police here in the area with regards to the Torch Run, the Flame of Hope. A liaison is needed as a bridge between the OPP and Special Olympics Ontario Brockville and Area.

This organization would also welcome students working towards their required volunteer hours at school, as well as teachers.

To give the public a glimpse into the competitive games that these wonderful athletes have excelled are numerous.

In July 2015, Sandi Mercier represented Brockville and Area at the World Summer Games in Los Angeles, California.

Several medals came home from the Canadian Winter Games held in Corner Brook, Newfoundland with 15 athletes attending.

As for the Provincial Spring Games in Guelph this last May, a swimmer received gold and will probably go on to the 2018 Nationals.

"Overall we have had 22 athletes attend provincial and national games over the last six years, which is excellent for a small community," mentioned Cavanagh. "For this year, both of our softball teams went to Perth to the qualifier and came home with gold medals in their divisions, which precedes the 2017 Provincial Summer Games."

Continuing, Cavanagh stated that 32 on the track and field team did very well in Belleville, again a qualifier.

"Beginning Saturday, Sept. 10, our local mascot, Brock the Bear, will be spending time on display in various local businesses," said Curry. "We are holding a contest where people are entered by taking a picture of Brock and posting it on Facebook with the hashtag, #BrocktheBear."

The contest ends Thursday, Sept. 15 at registration night, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Wall Street United Church, Brockville.

The winner of Brock the Bear Contest will be notified and awarded movie passes.

A proud mother of a special needs daughter saw her child's personality change when she got involved with Special Olympics Ontario Brockville and Area. Her daughter went from never being asked for a sleep-over or slumber party, never going to a movie or a birthday party, never chatting or texting a friend on the telephone to becoming a very different individual. She became very active in sports and activities, her health improved, she formed friendships, goes to movies, meets friends for lunch or just hangs out.

"I see the friendships that have developed because of Special Olympics," said the mother, whose name is not being published.

Anyone interested in coaching or volunteering with the Special Olympics Ontario Brockville and Area, call 613-342-3961 or email brockville.pastchair@specialolympicsontario.ca or  brockville.prcoordinator@specialolympicsontario.ca

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