The 2017 Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games didn’t only leave a lasting impression on the over 900 athletes who competed in summer sports, but it also left a permanent mark with the local Special Olympics program when the Games Organizing Committee presented them with a cheque of $52,852.
“It has allowed us to create a new sport program- floor hockey. As well, we now have the opportunity to host coach competition certification training in Medicine Hat.”
Since the Medicine Hat Summer Games, the program has seen a surge of volunteer interest to be part of the local program.
“Since the summer games, we have gained many more volunteers making it possible for us to have more resources. This increase in volunteers also allows us to open up to more athletes and different programs,” said Funk.
The Medicine Hat affiliate has big goals and dreams of on how they want their city to take on the Special Olympics movement, but their focus has not strayed from making sure that it’s all about the athletes.
“Our goals are based around our athletes,” states Funk.
“This year for our athletes heading for nationals we are hosting a ‘Good Luck, Good Bye’ party to remind them of the support they have here in their home town. Also, we are planning to attend more tournaments in order to increase healthy competition with our athletes. For this upcoming year we have been talking about sending our curling team to their first ever competition. Our bocce ball team has received all new equipment as well. This is exciting to us because bocce ball is a free activity offered to athletes to get them out and moving, and this legacy has allowed us to increase the quality of the sport.”
Special Olympics Alberta-Medicine Hat is making sure this gift will make a big impact for athletes and volunteers and have started a plan on making sure that the affiliate is sustainable. They’re placing efforts in building awareness on a grassroots level by opening their program to be more social on social media and spreading awareness at Children’s Health and Development Services, high schools and being visible at WHL Tigers games.
“Personally, my dream is everyone in our city to know of Special Olympics. Many people here didn’t know Medicine Hat had programs in place till the Summer Games. It is our goal to change that,” said Funk.