Goldcorp is firmly rooted in the communities in which they operate, and they are driven by the vision of “Together, Creating Sustainable Value.” The 2016 Goldcorpt Invitational Gold Tournament marked their 10th year as lead sponsor of this significant fundraising event to support Special Olympics BC, and Goldcorp President & CEO David Garofalo reminded the 250 tournament participants what a difference they make with their generous sponsorship and donations.
“What you’re doing today is very meaningful,” Garofalo said. “It’ll perpetuate the good things that Special Olympics BC does here in the province and in the community. I’m honoured to be involved today.”
Held this year on June 21, the Goldcorp Invitational involves two simultaneous tournaments on the outstanding Northview Golf & Country Club courses. In the evening, participants had the opportunity to enjoy the high-quality banquet dinner, magical performers, silent and live auctions, and a moving speech from parent Sandra Hamel, mother of 2½-year-old Esme, an SOBC – Nanaimo Active Start athlete.
Hamel kindly took the time to travel from the Nanaimo for the event with Esme, her husband Jeffrey, and their two older daughters. Sandra Hamel told the Goldcorp Invitational audience about the important growth that Esme has experienced and enjoyed through her first months in Active Start, and she thanked all the tournament sponsors, participants, and volunteers as well as SOBC coaches.
“Definitely as a parent of a child with special needs, you are really aware of the community surrounding you. You’re aware of things like inclusion, about school and community, some that’s positive, some that’s negative. But what you also are introduced to is a huge community such as Special Olympics where people support Esme and they cheer her on and celebrate her successes just as you do as a parent,” Hamel said.
“So if you’re here supporting Special Olympics financially or volunteering, I just really want to thank you. We’re going to probably come back every year, maybe for 25 years, and we’ll be able to tell you lots of stories, but I appreciate just the short time we’ve been part of the program [to date]. It has helped our family and helped Esme.”
There are now 101 SOBC Active Start, FUNdamentals, and Sport Start programs running in communities around the province, where children and youth with intellectual disabilities ages two to 18 have the opportunity to learn vital motor, sport, and social skills in a fun and supportive environment. Goldcorp has had a significant impact with Special Olympics athletes and programs with two gifts of $1 million to SOBC, the first in 2010-2014 and the second for 2014-2018, and much of this funding has supported these important youth programs.
Goldcorp Invitational Chair and emcee Michael Campbell pointed out that Special Olympics offers everything from the fun and skill-building youth programs for children like Esme to the year-round summer and winter sport programs for teenage and adult individuals with intellectual disabilities, as well as empowering competitive opportunities that expand horizons and build skills.
“We look around in our daily lives for opportunities to make a difference. You hear just one story like [the Hamel family’s] and multiply it by hundreds and hundreds, whether it’s an adult with intellectual disabilities who’s literally taking their first trip out of their own home in their lives, and we have many of those; others we help to employment through Special Olympics; right down to this pioneering program called Active Start, which teaches motor skills, and they go on from that to a wonderful program called FUNdamentals,” Campbell said.
After the youth programs, athletes get into playing the 18 summer and winter sports with year-round programming and competitions like Provincial, National, and World Games – “it’s absolutely spectacular,” Campbell said, recalling that tens of thousands of people watched the teams from around the planet in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.
“And it starts with people like yourselves, with companies like Goldcorp or Silver Wheaton, CIBC who are here, BMO Capital Markets, Canaccord Genuity, Scotiabank, Cassels Brock, TD Securities – so many that I recognize from so many different events that Special Olympics puts on, it’s not just at the golf tournament, which shows a big commitment to this. I applaud all of you and I applaud these companies,” Campbell said.
“It’s such an important cause, and it makes such an impact on the lives of the people we try to help,” Goldcorp Chairman Ian Telfer said. “But it takes a large group of people to put this on, and we appreciate all our friends and supporters and employees and everyone that flies quite a ways, many of them, to come here and join us and to support the cause.”