In 1984, Special Olympics BC came to Vernon looking to enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities through sport.
Now, 35 years later, Special Olympics BC – Vernon runs one of the most successful Special Olympics programs in the province, offering weekly sport training programs and competitions in alpine skiing, basketball, bocce, bowling, club fit, cross country skiing, curling, floor hockey, golf, powerlifting, softball/t-ball, snowshoeing, soccer, swimming, track and field and FUNdamentals. From individuals as young as two years of age to those in their senior years, and from those skilled in their sport to those just learning, Special Olympics offers a safe, secure, fun, and nurturing environment.
It was the work and vision of a committed group of volunteers that started Special Olympics BC – Vernon 35 years ago, and it is still a group of dedicated volunteers that give generously of their time, expertise, and resources that keeps the organization flourishing and moving forward. Whether they coach athletes, or work on the Local Committee to raise funds, book gyms, create awareness, track the budget, or plan an event, volunteers who help with running the year round Special Olympics BC programs are the heart and soul of the organization.
However, it is not a one way street. Volunteers are often heard to say that they get far more out of involvement in Special Olympics than they put in. When people see the passion, skill, and dedication of Special Olympics athletes, windows of understanding open. Their eyes widen and their attitudes change, not just about what those with intellectual disabilities can do, but also about what they themselves can do to help build a better world. And for 35 years, Special Olympics BC volunteers have been building a better world in Vernon.
That world is about to get a little larger. From Feb. 21-23, Greater Vernon will play host to the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games. More than 800 athletes and their coaches will converge on the Greater Vernon area to compete in these Games. For Special Olympics BC athletes in Vernon who have trained hard and qualified to compete in these Games, it will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase their skills in front of the home town crowd.
For those arriving from out of town, it will be a chance to enjoy the hospitality, great facilities, and excitement made possible because of these Games. And for the residents of the Greater Vernon area, it is an opportunity to support individuals with an intellectual disability by volunteering your time to the Games, or to the ongoing programs offered in Vernon, or donating funds to support the Games. To find out more about the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games in Greater Vernon, or the ongoing Special Olympics programs offered in Vernon, visit www.sobcgamesvernon.ca.