Special Olympics BC – Vancouver’s Melissa DeJong enjoys the empowering experience of coaching athletes with intellectual disabilities.
She got involved with SOBC as a figure skating coach in 2019 through fellow coach Jessica Chapelski. Along with Chapelski and two other figure skating coaches, DeJong is excited to be coaching the figure skating team of the Special Olympics Team BC 2024 Training Squad as they head to the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024, happening February 27 to March 3!
DeJong joins the figure skating coaching crew as part of Special Olympics Canada’s new NextGen Coaching Apprenticeship Program. This coaching program allows apprentice coaches to develop their coaching skills through experiences with Provincial and National Games.
NextGen Apprentice Coaches are attending National Games to gain multisport experience, and to observe and learn from coaches in the Special Olympics community.
“I’m very grateful to be part of Special Olympics Team BC as participant of the NextGen Coaching Apprenticeship Program, and to be part of such an incredible contingent of athletes and coaches!” DeJong says.
Throughout the nine months of training and bonding with her athletes, DeJong is pumped to watch them reach new heights at the National Games.
“My goals for these National Games are to support the athletes and fellow coaches, gain experience coaching in a high stakes environment, and to collect as many high-fives and hugs as I can,” she says. “I’m excited to see how SO Team BC figure skaters support one another as this group of athletes contains seasoned veterans and first-timers to the national stage.”