Special Olympics Wood Buffalo (SOWB) made its official return to the region with its first AGM on Jan. 16, 2020.
Special Olympics Alberta (SOA) Communications and Volunteer Coordinator, Rochelle Chamczuk chaired the meeting.
Chamczuk said SOWB would be a great benefit to all individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ages.
“We’re super excited that Fort McMurray [and] Wood Buffalo has Special Olympics back up and running. The opportunity to not only grow as individuals but to get better at physical literacy and better health is a great opportunity.”
The organization officially makes its return with a local chapter after a gap of eight years.
Sustainability and quality
Outlining its goals for the year, Vice-chair Kim McDougall said SOWB hopes to provide sustainable, athlete-centred programming.
“Right now, there’s not a lot of adult programming for those with special needs. This provides them [with] an opportunity to make new friendships and develop social skills.”
When forming the board of directors, the first vote was for an Athlete Representative.
Several athletes came forward to fill the role with members voting for ten-year Special Olympics athlete, Chantelle Kidd.
Currently, SOWB registered at least 15 athletes and 56 volunteers.
— MyMcMurray (@MyMcMurray) January 17, 2020
They also have 15 coaches in Wood Buffalo that can coach bowling, powerlifting, swimming, floor hockey, and athletics.
Chairperson Tom Albrecht said anyone else interested in competing or volunteering may contact the group at (780) 880-5120.
“What we hear from athletes is they would like sustainable, quality programming. We think we’ll expand programming over the next seven or eight months, but we want to make sure we are compliant and organized so we can serve the best interests of the athletes.”
Updates are also available on the Special Olympics Wood Buffalo Facebook page.
Albrecht said the SOWB bowling program should be in full swing by the end of January 2020.
SOA has more than 3000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and at least 1200 coaches.
Its athletes compete in 18 Olympic-type sports in the summer and winter.