Due to COVID-19, many of our athletes continue to experience prolonged isolation, lack of social interaction, and a lack of Special Olympics Programming. In order to bring back the social aspect of programming we have decided to continue with the Virtual Athlete Meet Ups that started last year in the height of COVID-19.
We invited Special Olympics athletes to attend alongside University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan student-athletes. This was the first time the University of Saskatchewan student-athletes joined which was awesome! We have decided to dedicate a theme to each meet up to encourage engagement and creative freedom from the athletes. We began this group of sessions with a Halloween themed meet up in October which was well attended by both university and Special Olympic athletes. We found that our athletes thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to speak and share thoughts with athletes from all across Saskatchewan.
We had a pre-planned set of questions which were related to sport and Halloween, and held a virtual costume contest at the end! Members of the Special Olympics staff were there to facilitate and guide conversation. Many athletes recognized one another from previous meet ups and conversations flowed naturally and with excitement which is exactly what we want. In the future we are hoping to increase engagement from the university student-athletes by having an equal representation from both male and female athletes covering a wide range of sports.
Thank you to the U of R and U of S athletes who joined the session which allowed for an informational, and exciting evening for our athletes! Our next Virtual Athlete Meet Up is slated for January with a Trivia Night theme. The last Virtual Athlete Meet Up is planned for April. We hope to see you there!