A small group of Special Olympics Canada athletes and coaches have been selected to attend the 2019 Special Olympics Global Youth Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi March 14 to 18.
Two Canadian teams of three – one from Special Olympics British Columbia and the other from Special Olympics Nova Scotia – are among 40 teams from around the globe who will receive leadership training as well as funding to carry out a Special Olympics-related project in their communities.
To qualify, each team – made up of one youth leader with an intellectual disability, one youth leader without an intellectual disability and an adult mentor – submitted an application outlining the project they’d like to spearhead in their community.
MEET THE TEAM FROM NOVA SCOTIA
- Lloyd Boutillier, 46, Physical Education Teacher at Central Kings Rural High School, Unified coach
- Brianna Hiltz, 15, student, Unified partner
- Andre Carrier, 17, Unified athlete
THE PROJECT: Expand the Unified Basketball Program in Annapolis Valley, NS to include soccer.
Nova Scotia high school teacher Lloyd Boutillier has been coaching Unified basketball at his Annapolis Valley school for the past five years.
When he heard about the 2019 Special Olympics Global Youth Leadership Summit happening in Abu Dhabi next month, he jumped at the opportunity to expand the program.
Located in a small town, Central Kings Rural High School hasn’t had an opportunity to expand the program beyond basketball. With the help of the Summit, Boutillier, Brianna and Andre plan to add soccer to their Unified program.
“(Unified) is an amazing opportunity,” said Brianna. “I feel like a lot of people miss out because they don’t play basketball. By adding soccer, more people can join in.”
While Boutillier, Brianna and Andre hope to return from Abu Dhabi with a solid plan to roll out the project, they’re also hoping to learn from other youth leaders and mentors.
“It will just be nice to talk to others who have done this before,” said Boutillier. “We’ll learn from others about what they’ve done and bring back some other ideas from the Summit.”
MEET THE TEAM FROM B.C.
- Roshan Gosal, 20, Special Olympics BC coach
- Austin Johnston, 22, Special Olympics BC athlete
- Wayne Williams, 51, Special Olympics BC coach and Manager of Transportation for the Chilliwack School District
THE PROJECT: Expand Spread the Word to End the Word in British Columbia.
Abbotsford’s Roshan Gosal, 20, launched Spread the Word to End the Word – a social initiative to end the use of the R-word – in his community four years ago.
As a Special Olympics BC volunteer coach, he witnessed firsthand the pain the word caused his athletes and friends with an intellectual disability.
He started the campaign with four Abbotsford-based schools and collected 1,500 signatures from students pledging to end the use of the R-word.
Today, the campaign is active in 10 Abbotsford schools, as well as at the University of the Fraser Valley, and collects too many signatures to count.
With help from the 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit, Gosal and his teammates want to expand Spread the Word to End the Word across the province, ultimately creating a more accepting society where individuals with an intellectual disability and those without can participate in activities together.
“Instead of adding 10 schools, I could add more than that and have a bigger impact,” Gosal said, adding that he’s also eager to meet different athletes, volunteers and mentors from around the world at the Summit. “I’d like to get some new information on how I can best run my campaign and also other initiatives that would be beneficial to spreading awareness of Special Olympics.”
MORE INFORMATION ON THE 2019 SPECIAL OLYMPICS GLOBAL YOUTH LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
The 2019 Special Olympics Global Youth Leadership Summit, which coincides with the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, aims to create inclusive communities through the power of youth engagement.
The Summit will bring together youth with and without intellectual disabilities from 40 Special Olympics programs around the globe.
The delegations will unite to launch the next 50 years of the Special Olympics movement as youth-led and drive the world’s most powerful platform for inclusion.
The impact and leadership of those who attend doesn’t end when leaving Abu Dhabi – their experience, perspective and energy will be instrumental in the execution of their post-Summit project.