Grassroots programming is at the core of Special Olympics, and in Medicine Hat, the movement is thriving due to dedicated volunteers like Kristen Sept.
Kristen’s journey with Special Olympics started in high school when she signed up to volunteer at a local program and 16 years later, she is more involved than ever before.
Special Olympics is an amazing organization that provides so many opportunities for its participants,” says Kristen. “The athletes are incredible [and] the joy they have is infectious. I look forward to coaching each week - it is the activity that fills my cup.”
She coaches the 5-pin bowling program in Medicine Hat and has helped many athletes grow from learning the game all the way to competing on the world stage.
Her dedication stems from her belief that the movement is important because it provides athletes a safe environment to be themselves, compete, socialize, and meet new friends.
Seeing the look on [athletes] faces when their name is called to the podium and how they cheer and support each other regardless of what uniform they are wearing - it is the joy that is experienced by the athletes being a part of such a great organization,” says Kristen.
As a coach, Kristen has helped lead Team Alberta at National Games as the Assistant Coach for 5-pin bowling in 2018 and the Head Coach in 2020.
Both experiences created incredible memories for Kristen from the atmosphere at the bowling alley to athletes achieving personal bests, something that has shaped her coaching goals for the future.
“My personal goal is to continue to develop myself as a coach,” says Kristen. “I am hooked by what this organization provides, so my goal is to participate in future National competitions and, perhaps, one day, a World Games.”
Since 2006, Kristen’s involvement has evolved not only as a coach but also through taking on various roles within the Medicine Hat Affiliate Management Committee (AMC).
She is currently the Chairperson, and while she added that it has been a unique challenge due to the transition during the pandemic, she is excited to reach new heights locally.
“I hope we can continue to develop some of our existing programs and introduce new sports and opportunities, especially for our younger athletes,” says Kristen.
To develop their programs and introduce new sports, Medicine Hat needs volunteers who are looking to get involved in various roles from coaching to volunteering on the AMC.
“You won’t regret it,” says Kristen. “If you are interested, contact me, we would love to have you!”
April 24-30 marks National Volunteer Week, and this year we want to emphasize how important our volunteers are to us by spotlighting them throughout the week.
Visit https://www1.specialolympics.ab.ca/abvolunteer-week/ to see all of our profiles and share a message with a volunteer who has made an impact in your life using our Twitter message board.
If you’re interested in volunteering, click here to begin your journey with Special Olympics Alberta!