This last year has brought many challenges to our athletes and volunteers. They have succeeded in bringing home medals from various sports. It has been an exciting year for everyone who has participated in all of the different competitions around the province and nationally.
Creston Special Olympics has a wide variety of sports available, and some athletes are involved in two or more at any given time. These athletes are continually training. This means practicing regularly, keeping track of their own nutrition and maintaining a good weight.
In February, four members from the floor hockey team were part of the Kootenay Storm. The team, composed of players from Grand Forks, Trail, Burnaby and Creston, competed and won silver at the national Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Newfoundland. They had previously won gold in two tournaments, in Vancouver in December 2015 and Abbotsford in January 2016. They were also the provincial gold medal winners in Kamloops at the provincial winter games in 2015.
March saw Creston’s Janice Reid bring home a gold medal for power lifting from a tournament held in Richmond. This tournament win may prove to be a place at the upcoming 2017 summer games.
This year, members competed in two bowling competitions. One was in Castlegar early in the season. The other, held in Trail in April, was a qualifier for next summer’s provincial games. The athletes with coach Shelagh Schmidt bowled well during the two-day event, the result being a first-place finish. This might turn out to be the ticket to the provincial summer games next year.
The swim team went to a competition in May, and came home with several wins. They also competed in Cranbrook this month in a qualifier for next summer’s games.
Frances Collison was selected to study under the athlete leadership program this year. She went to Vancouver, where she met with the leadership council, and is mentoring under her mother’s trained guidance to give speeches to local organizations on Special Olympics.
Creston hosted the regional golf tournament in May. Several athletes participated under the guidance of coach Ed Stemler, who organized the event for all of the East Kootenay. Creston Special Olympics appreciates the Creston Golf Club and the support it gave to all who attended.
Local athletes have participated in rhythmic gymnastics, bowling, curling, floor hockey, weightlifting, golf, swimming and bocce. Creston Special Olympics has close to 60 registered participants and numerous volunteers, all from the Creston Valley. Fundamentals, a program for children, and junior swimming would not be possible without the co-operation and support from local schools. All of the programs have coaches and assistant coaches, and organizers are thankful for the volunteers who make a difference in the lives of each participant.
The organization is always looking for extra help. Anyone interested in joining should call co-ordinator Richard Chlopecki at 250-402-0075.
—CRESTON SPECIAL OLYMPICS