Special Olympics helps Creston athletes gain confidence

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Creston’s Frances Collison (front row

I have been involved in Special Olympics for three years. First, I became involved in it when I joined the bowling team, next the swim team the following year and then I joined the golf team just last year. I want to share with you what Special Olympics means to me and what it could mean to you.

Special Olympics offers year-round sport programs for individuals two years old and up who have intellectual disabilities. Being a part of Special Olympics helps me gain confidence. I am now training and competing in bowling, swimming and golfing. There are about 3,900 athletes competing, just like I do, in 18 different sports in B.C. There are three million athletes worldwide. None of this is possible without the help of 2,900 volunteers in B.C. who give of their time to help out.

In the three years that I have been involved in Special Olympics, I have gained independence, developed new skills such as leadership and communication skills, and I have become a mentor for other Special Olympic athletes.

Special Olympics is great! One of my favorite memories was the 2015 Halloween dinner and dance with my new friends, fellow athletes. Another wonderful memory was winning a third-place medal for swimming last year. I was very proud of my favorite swim stroke, the butterfly, even if I didn’t win first place. This reminds me of our Special Olympics oath which is, “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

I feel empowered to try my best at all of the Special Olympic sports that I do. When I am in Special Olympics, I have a sense of belonging and I can be myself. Other athletes support me, and I am a good role model for others. I know I make a difference in Special Olympics.

If you would like to get involved in Special Olympics, and I’m sure that you do, please contact co-ordinator Richard Chlopecki at 250-402-0075 or check out our local website, www.SOBC-Creston.com.

I feel really lucky to be part of something so special that brings people together and builds stronger communities. Special Olympics makes me and all the other athletes feel pretty special!

Frances Collison has previously written about working at Spectrum Farms and Gin’s on Canyon, volunteering at the Pet Adoption and Welfare Society, participating in stage productions and the Therapeutic Riding Program, and enjoying events at Creston Flats Stables.

—BY FRANCES COLLISON

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