Special Olympics athletes are on the move

Athletes are gearing up for the summer season and getting ready for the group's big fundraiser, Charity Golf Spectacular

Lexie VanOyen gets ready to compete in her favourite sport with B.C. Special Olympics Vernon.

Lexie VanOyen gets ready to compete in her favourite sport with B.C. Special Olympics Vernon.

Special Olympics in Vernon is busy as ever sending more than 30 athletes to Regional Qualifier Competitions this spring and summer.

“I love bowling, its my favourite sport,” said Lexie VanOyen, after finishing her turn at the bowling competition in Kelowna. “This is so awesome and look at all my friends who come out to play with me.”

Bowling has long been the favourite amongst the sports programs offered in Vernon, and attendance was at a maximum high with more than 70 athletes training every Saturday at Lincoln Lanes.

This is as much a social event as it is fierce competition.

“All of our athletes love to win but they are also proud of their accomplishments and skills,” said Sandee Carson, the head coach for bowling. “When they see themselves improving it builds their self- esteem, which reflects into their social life with family and friends. Going to an out of town competition was a first for my five athletes and they were so excited.”

Special Olympics BC Vernon provides 15 high-quality sport  programs for individuals of all ages who have an intellectual disability. The society strives to enrich lives, and celebrates personal achievement through positive sport experiences. More than 120 athletes are registered and new members are always welcome. Most of them participate in several sports.

“We took athletes to the Lower Mainland for a power lifting qualifier and  to a swim competition to Kelowna,” said program coordinator Heidi Borgeaud. “Track and field athletes are going to Langley in June.

“They all did very well and we are now anxiously waiting for the news who will be going on to Provincials next year.”

Upcoming is a golf tournament on June 10 at Spallumcheen for the region’s qualification round, followed by the popular two-day Charity Golf Spectacular. This annual event is the most significant fundraiser for the society, which needs the funds to pay for facility rentals, equipment, uniforms, competition and travel expenses.

“We are always looking to extend and improve our sports programs and are in need of volunteers to make it all happen,” said Borgeaud. “If you are looking for a way to play a sport, be inspired and have an impact in our community, please come and join us.”

Special Olympics Vernon is urgently looking for new board members as well, especially a treasurer. If you have some time to spare to make a difference, please call 250-306-8954. For more information visit www.sobcvernon.ca