This year was supposed to be the year for Special Olympics BC’s provincial games, until COVID caused their cancellation.
Then the Provincial Challenge Games were introduced and these virtual games have athletes tracking their fitness and healthy living points, and competing within the eight regions in the province.
Campbell River, which is part of Region 6, has 26 athletes participating. These athletes are divided into seven teams, each with their own coach. The athletes earn points for daily physical fitness activities, and bonus points for other healthy living activities. Each week, the points are totalled and submitted. The program is running for seven weeks, including virtual opening and closing ceremonies.
Celebrity honorary coaches are encouraging the athletes. Legendary sports broadcaster Bernie Pascall is working with Region 6, participating in their on-line pep rallies. On-line workouts are provided weekly, as well as webinars on topics such as healthy hearing and mental health.
“The challenge games have been good for the athletes,” said Cheryl Clay, Campbell River’s mission staff. “It keeps the athletes connected and participating in activities. It has been a long haul for them, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. They are looking forward to getting back together again.”
With the possibility of resuming programs again in the fall, Campbell River Special Olympics is looking for new coaches and volunteers. Training is provided, and experience is not necessary. Volunteering with Special Olympics is a very rewarding experience – you can find out more by contacting Local Coordinator Maureen Hunter at 250-286-6453 or at https://www.specialolympics.ca/british-columbia/get-involved/volunteer.