Kathryn Creswell loves working with Special Olympics BC athletes – and says they have her hooked for life on volunteering with SOBC.
As part of her role on the SOBC – Smithers Local Committee, she helps onboard new coaches, finds replacements for retiring coaches, and supports current coaches. Creswell is going into her third year as a snowshoeing assistant coach, and says helping athletes develop their skills and shine through sport is a very rewarding experience. She recently signed on as the Head Coach of the SOBC – Smithers athletics program. Creswell says she was inspired to do this after helping run the Local’s first-ever athletics competition, which included a Healthy Athletes screening.
Creswell says the SOBC – Smithers Local Committee works hard to provide athletes with the best possible opportunities. She encourages potential athletes to get involved and says there is always room for enthusiastic volunteers who want to make a difference in their community.
When did you start with Special Olympics, and how did you get involved?
I got involved through an old friend who I met in kindergarten, believe it or not. He and I had kept in touch even after high school and when I saw him for coffee one day he told me about Special Olympics BC – Smithers and how they needed help from volunteers as coaches and on the Local Committee. I started out with a position on the Local Committee and told myself I would stay until they didn't need help anymore. Little did I know, the athletes would hook me in for life. I have been volunteering for almost three years now.
What has been your most memorable Special Olympics experience?
I would say the Regional Qualifiers for snowshoeing in Prince George. We were a brand new team that started a few weeks prior to competition and did two practices a week to make up the number of practices you needed to go to Regional Qualifiers. Both the Head Coach and I did not go with very high expectations with the four athletes that we took. Not only did they surprise us, they surprised every other team there. Our four athletes were invited to Provincial Games to top it off. What really got to me though, was the team spirit between athletes, coaches, and the different Regions. Everyone was helpful, and even coaches were giving tips on coaching or the different equipment available and how that can make a difference for the athletes in order for them to do better. I left that competition knowing this was the organization for me. All the athletes inspired me to keep volunteering so they have the opportunity to show the rest of the world how a sport should and could be played.
What is your favourite thing about being involved with SOBC?
The athletes, 100 per cent. It's all about them having the opportunity to shine and show off what they have been training to do.
What would you like others to know about SOBC – Smithers?
We are a small town in northern B.C. with a lot of talent and love for the outdoors and sports. As a member of a newer Local Committee, our goal is to provide the athletes and coaches every and any opportunity to do better in a sport (competitively or non-competitively) in and around the local and regional areas. So if you know someone who hasn't gotten involved yet and falls in the category of being an athlete, they are always welcome. We are also never short on volunteers for those who just want to help out in and around the community.