The Special Olympics Invermere chapter has been awarded a $2,000 grant from the Province of B.C. to continue its athletic programs in the coming year.
The grant is to be used for the purchase of equipment, uniforms, and programs in the Columbia Valley for athletes with special needs.
The 2011 year was a very active year for the local chapter, with programs offered in alpine skiing, swimming, and golf.
The ski program included eight athletes, numerous coaches, and tremendous support from Panorama Resort and Lusti’s.
The ski season was absolutely fantastic. In the words of athlete Brion Kurbis-Edwards, “I went from not being able to ski at all to skiing with pole support. I also went on the chair for the first time — it was really scary, but really fun.”
Other skiers went from skiing with one on one support to skiing independently. The general population on the mountain was particularly supportive and often offered words of encouragement to our young ski team.
Late spring welcomed the swim program. With the support of swim coaches, five athletes learned to swim at Fairmont Hot Springs.
It was the dream for one swimmer to jump off the diving board. With the support of the swim coaches she was successful in seeing her dream come true to the applause and admiration of the swimmers around her.
With summer, Special Olympics Invermere was able to support a golf program where six athletes were given access to Copper Point Golf Course to learn driving and putting, which culminated in practicing on the fairway.
The patience of our coaches in teaching these young golfers was tremendous and reflected the high quality people found here in the valley.
Special Olympics is proud to be in the Columbia Valley offering programs to athletes with special needs.
Most of our athletes are in the children and youth category and are therefore especially able to benefit from learning sports they can participate in for the rest of their lives.
This is gift that is only made possible by the support of our coaches, local businesses, and the generous support of our funders.
Look out for Special Olympics programs coming this fall and winter.
For more information on Special Olympics Invermere chapter please contact our local co-ordinator, Tom Graves, at 250 347 6584.
Special to The Valley Echo