As the golf Head Coach for Special Olympics BC – Salt Spring Island, Drew Stotesbury is always amazed at the abilities of his athletes.
He says that the sport itself is hard for anybody, so when he had the opportunity to send two athletes to Regional Qualifiers, he was proud to see their dedicated efforts pay off. Stotesbury enjoys the interactions he has with his athletes and strives to provide an inclusive environment that fosters community through golf.
When did you start with Special Olympics, and how did you get involved?
I started as a bocce volunteer in 2017 or 2018. My previous volunteer experience was sitting on various community boards, while my wife was coaching swimming at SOBC. I’d come home from board meetings frustrated by organizational dysfunction, and she’d come home from the pool as if walking on a cloud. I knew then that I was applying my volunteer efforts in the wrong way. In 2019, I started a golf program for SOBC – Salt Spring Island’s athletes and it was an immediate success.
What do you love about coaching?
Where do I start? In a word, I love interacting with our athletes. Deeper than this, I enjoy creating a safe space for our athletes to benefit from the social, developmental, and recreational opportunities created by our sport.
I also love it when our athletes reveal their unique superpowers!
What have you learned from coaching Special Olympics athletes?
Our athletes in Salt Spring Island are a special group. They remind me that through their actions, not to judge others and live in the moment.
What has been your most favorite or memorable experience at Special Olympics?
Golf is hard for anyone. To succeed at golf, one must possess a Venn diagram of the overlapping attributes of physical ability, mental focus, and sufficient interest.
When I was developing our golf program, I incorrectly assumed that a small subset of our athlete community would want to join, and I was making preparations for a very small team. However, when I put out the invitations to the entire athlete group, I was amazed to get nearly 100 per cent subscription. This caused a complete reworking of the plan, where most of our time was spent on the putting green so every athlete could participate.
The highlight of the program is at the end of practices, we have every athlete participate in a fun putting competition with their teammates cheering them on. This is something that any given athlete might excel at on any given day!
Why should other people get involved with Special Olympics?
Oh man, it is just so much fun! You get to do something good, while creating meaningful connections and learning so much about different abilities.