National Coaches Week

National Coaches Week graphic.

During National Coaches Week (September 17 to 25), we celebrated and thanked the thousands of Special Olympics BC coaches who change lives in communities throughout our province!

National Coaches Week was a time to say #ThanksCoach for their positive impact and the gift of their time and talents!

In National Coaches Week 2022, Special Olympics BC hosted multiple training and connection events for SOBC coaches, and shared stories about our outstanding coaches and the enduring impact of their time, skills, and heart! 

Meet some of the motivational individuals who give their time as Special Olympics BC coaches, such as 2022 SOBC Grassroots Coach Award winner Vince Astoria, and 2022 SOBC Howard Carter Award winner Annabel Stanley

Meet more SOBC coaches


Meet some of our inspiring coaches

Meet Coach Cheryl Chan

Meet Coach Drew Stotesbury

Meet Coach Sandra Schuffert

Meet Coach Gerry Bell

Meet Coach Debra Colvin

Meet Coach Jennifer Fyfe

Meet Coach and Regional Coordinator Mark Schnurr

Meet Coach Annabel Stanley


Athletes: Win a Coffee for Your Coach!

Judy smiling with two of her swimming athletes

Winner: Judy Button, from SOBC – Oceanside!

Athlete entry: Brodie Stevens, SOBC – Oceanside

Coach nominee: Judy Button

How has your coach changed your life?

She helped me train and work hard which led me to winning gold medals at the 2022 BC Summer Games in Prince George!

What is your favourite moment with your coach?

My favourite moments are when she coaches me as I do my strokes when I swim.


Thank you to all of the athletes who nominated their amazing coaches for the contest! Read their entries below on the positive impact that their coaches have made on their lives.


Athlete entry: Artisia Wong, SOBC – Burnaby

Coach nominee: Debra Colvin, Paul Colvin, David Shorter

How has your coach changed your life?

They make me more confident in my abilities to be the best I can be.

What is your favourite moment with your coach?

When they encourage me that I can do something that I don't think I can do.


Athlete entry: Kayley Olund-Rak, SOBC – Surrey

Coach nominee: Deborah Carter

How has your coach changed your life?

She has helped me overcome anxiety both on and off the track, as well as overcome challenges by learning to persevere.

What is your favourite moment with your coach?

When she met my teammates and I at the airport coming home from the National Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.


Athlete entry: Ruth Caldwell, SOBC – Prince George

Coach nominee: Fern Russell

How has your coach changed your life?

She has changed my life by giving me pointers on how to be a better skip for my curling team.

What is your favourite moment with your coach?

There was one weekend during Regional Games that she made sure the curling teams all signed "Thank You" cards for the other SOBC - Prince George coaches!


Athlete entry: Torben Schuffert, SOBC – Smithers

Coach nominee: Gale Jones

How has your coach changed your life?

She always encourages me, and she has taught me how to swim.

What is your favourite moment with your coach?

The fun we have at Club Fit, and when she took extra time to teach me how to do grapevines. I eventually did it, and she was so proud of me!


Athlete entry: Sebastian GylanderSOBC – Golden

Coach nominee: Jeff Dolinsky

How has your coach changed your life?

He set me on a path of fitness and encouraged me to get my Level 1 Community Coaching Certificate.

What is your favourite moment with your coach?

Hiking up our local mountains and teaching me to appreciate them. Another moment was when I won the Lake Louise Loppet!


Athlete entry: Paula Prough, SOBC – Trail

Coach nominee: Alan and Linda Prough

How has your coach changed your life?

If it was not for these coaches (who are my parents) stepping up to run 5-pin bowling and bocce, our Local would probably not have these sports. They also took me and other athletes on trips to bowling and bocce tournaments. 

What is your favourite moment with your coach?

When I was in Kamloops at the 2017 SOBC Summer Games for bocce. My mom coached my team, and my dad coached the other team. My team came in second place! It was nice to have them there, because they got to see me compete.


SOBC’s Coaches Week events included:

  • Four free webinars supporting SOBC coach education and mentorship, health, concussion management and injury prevention, and peer connections
  • A virtual NCCP Special Olympics Competition Sport Workshop 
  • And the Win a Coffee for Your Coach Contest!


Bonus: Special Olympics global coach webinars

Special Olympics International is hosting their Coach Webinar Series 2022 presented by Gallagher! In an effort to thank coaches for everything that they do, Special Olympics is running 4 webinars through September and October to provide free coach education and learning opportunities.

Week 1 28th September - Coaching Mixed Ability Athletes
Week 2 5th October - 'What we want from our coaches' discussion from an Athlete Panel
Week 3 12th October - The Coach-Athlete Relationship
Week 4 19th October - Health and Fitness for Sports Coaches

Register here

SOBC athlete embracing their coach with gratitude


SOBC 2022 National Coaches Week webinars

September 19: Coach Education and Mentorship

September 20: Concussion Management and Injury Prevention
Featured speaker: Ben Whiles, SOBC – Kelowna coach and chiropractor

September 21: #WellnessWednesday Health
Featured speaker: Kendal Alston, SOBC – Victoria Local Coordinator

September 22: Coaches Meeting Discussion Forum
Featured speaker: Chris Higgins, Vancouver Canucks Assistant Director of Player Development, former Canucks player, and sibling of a Special Olympics athlete


Virtual NCCP Competition Sport Workshop September 20 to 22

Visit the NCCP Special Olympics Competition Sport Workshop page for more details and upcoming workshops.



To support SOBC coaches, we have developed resources such as:

And much more in the SOBC website resources

Special Olympics BC coach Richard offers a word of encouragement during a floor hockey tournament.
Special Olympics BC coaches always have tips and encouragement for their athletes!