When and how did you get involved with Special Olympics?
I think it was about eight years ago that I started getting involved with Special Olympics. I started volunteering with the softball practices through my work at Community Living. Later I was approached to be part of the Local Committee, which I had agreed to and became the Program Coordinator for Powell River. Shortly into this role we were struggling with obtaining coaches and moved through several roles to fill in gaps until we found a coach. During this time I had coached curling, golf, and softball. I eventually became the Head Coach for Softball which then led me to meet the Comox coaches. Shortly after that it grew into me also supporting the Floor Hockey Program and they are the reason I am heading to Thunder Bay with Team BC.
Will this be your first Special Olympics Canada Games? If not, which other National Games were you part of and in what role(s)?
Yes, this will be my first National Games with Special Olympics.
What does it mean to you to be part of Special Olympics Team BC 2020?
I believe the best way to describe it would be that it is an honour. I am proud to tell people that I am a part of Special Olympics, the floor hockey team, and the achievements of these athletes. I love to share some of the stories from their journey with people in the community. Overall, I just really enjoy what Special Olympics is able to provide for these athletes and the fact that I get to be part of something at this scale/level.
What is/are your goal(s) for these National Games?
My personal goal for the National Games will be to be the best coach I can be for these athletes. I want to make sure I am there for them to help them through the ups and downs throughout our journey. Then ultimately, whether we win or lose, just to make sure we are all having fun in our attempt. As for one of our team goals, we all agreed we wanted to be supportive to one another and the other teams and spectators at the National Games in Thunder Bay!
What is your favourite Special Olympics experience to date?
Tough question! There have honestly been so many great experiences throughout my time with Special Olympics. The best part is whether the experience is a good one or a not so good you can still always have a laugh and know you have your peers and athletes to support you through it. The experience that stands out the most for me would be the two times our floor hockey team has won gold at the Provincial Winter Games. You know in that last few minutes of the game the medal is near. As my athletes know, it's the perfect time for me to start filming! When that buzzer sounds and the team runs together to celebrate is quite a heartwarming moment. Maybe that is why I hide behind the camera, they can't see me choke up.
What does competing at National Games mean to your athletes? (or, if this is your first National Games, competition in general)
Redemption I think is the word I have heard passed around the most. Last National Winter Games they had the privilege of attending and placing second in Canada for floor hockey. This is their chance, our chance to bring the Gold home to our communities. They are definitely proud to be apart of this team and are more then excited to be apart of this journey.
What storylines are you excited to see develop in your Team BC sport team leading up to the National Games?
I would like to see stories for both our sport and all the other sports that the athletes are taking this opportunity seriously. I think it is important for our nation and our province to see that these athletes are striving to be the best that they can be. These athletes are training hard to make their communities proud. Other then that, I would also like to see stories on the athletes' achievements and the fun that they are having along this journey.
What would you say about Special Olympics to encourage someone to get involved?
As mentioned above, I love sharing the stories of my experiences as a coach. Also, just expressing how rewarding this experience can be and the opportunities I have as a coach as well. It is pretty amazing and heartwarming! So, if people can't commit to a full-time role, I would definitely encourage people to get involved with their Locals for one-off volunteer opportunities. I can guarantee that all Locals will welcome the offer of support with open arms.