Happy Holidays from Special Olympics Nanaimo

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Special Olympics Nanaimo
December Newsletter

All of us at Special Olympics Nanaimo want to wish our athletes, volunteers, families and supporters a happy and safe holiday season!

This has been a year unlike any other and we’re grateful for everyone’s willingness to roll with the changes and keep working to provide sport opportunities in our region as best we can. We know there’s still a lot to do but I want to thank the local committee members that have been meeting monthly to create plans and work to get as many athletes as active as possible. A huge thank you to our coaches that have embraced the changes and to the athletes for bringing your energy and effort back to the programs!

While the holidays will be different this year, there will still be opportunities to connect with others and we hope you take advantage of those. Special Olympics BC is organizing a holiday party for all athletes and volunteers on December 16th so please take a moment to read the info below. We all know how many of you like to join a dance party!

A reminder to stay active and healthy over the holidays and fingers crossed that we’ll get to see you as many of you as soon as possible in the new year!

Special Olympics Nanaimo November Newsletter

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Hello everyone,

It’s been wonderful welcoming back athletes in a limited capacity over the past few weeks but we miss all of you! Rest assured that the local committee and coachers are working hard behind the scenes to be able to get your programs up and running again as soon as possible. And when we can, we’ll be here. The coaches and volunteers are as eager as all of you and can’t wait to see you again!

While you’re waiting for your program to start we hope you continue to stay active and healthy in your own way. We’ve attached more great resources below and encourage everyone to find a way to get a little bit better each week. Healthy food choices and activity are possible every day in your home and we’ve heard from many of you that are doing a great job!

As you know, the number of cases in our community is rising at the moment so we want to encourage all of you to do your part to stay healthy. Please wash your hands often, reduce the number of people in your bubble and wear your masks! Everyone is doing a great job to reduce the spread in our community and we thank you for your efforts!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions and thank you for your understanding.

Dave

Special Olympics Nanaimo October Newsletter

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Welcome Back!

We’re so excited to have athletes and volunteers training again in three different programs – Athletics, Club Fit and Bowling. The training groups are smaller but the effort and fun is the same as always and it has been great to see.

A huge shout out to the athletes in the Athletics program (pictured above) that gave it their all for a competition this week! Their times will be submitted to SO British Columbia where they’ll be divisioned against athletes from around the province and we’ll get the final results in a few weeks. This is just one example of the competition opportunities that will be happening in the programs as we move forward.

Now that more sports are up and running we are asking all athletes and volunteers to fill out their registration forms so that we have your updated information and can keep you in the loop as more training opportunities are announced. A reminder that we will not be collecting a registration fee at this time so get your forms in!

We’ve also shared information below in the newsletter on several virtual programs that are available to all athletes right now. We encourage everyone to find a way to stay active and healthy in a way that works best for you at this time!

If you have any questions about the programs please don’t hesitate to respond to this email and we’ll get back to you right away!

Join Special Olympics Nanaimo for a discussion on the upcoming year!

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We’re very excited to be offering sport programs in our region again and can’t wait to see all of your smiles again soon!

As we gear up to start our Athletics program next Wednesday night and Club Fit on September 28th we realize that there has been a lot of changes since you were last able to attend a sport program. Our guess is that you have some questions about the changes and what the year ahead looks like and we want to make sure you have an opportunity to ask them!

Next Thursday night, September 24th, from 6-7:30pm we’re going to be hosting an online zoom conversation open to all athletes, coaches and caretakers. If you don’t have zoom you’ll also be able to call in to the conversation. In order to answer as many questions as possible we’re hoping you will respond to this email with your questions before 6pm on Wednesday.

Please also let us know if you want to attend the session by responding to this email and we’ll share the login information closer to the event date.

A quick reminder that we are asking for all athletes and volunteers to fill out their registration forms as soon as possible so that we have your updated information and can keep you informed as more programs and training opportunities are announced. Registering is also important as the data is used when applying for funding for our programs and when you indicate which sports you’re interested in it will help us determine who will participate when more sports safely reopen.

Considering that some athletes may not be able to participate right away we will not be collecting a registration fee at this time.

Have a great weekend!

DRAFT – Special Olympics Nanaimo 2020/21 Registration Information

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Hello everyone,

I hope you all enjoyed a fantastic summer and haven taken advantage of the warm weather to get outside and stay healthy! We’re excited to announce that Special Olympics BC has approved the return of some sports for in-person training again and we will be offering an Athletics program on Wednesday evenings and Outdoor Club Fit program on Monday evenings starting soon and running until the weather gets too bad. Both programs will take place at the track behind NDSS.

Please note that we are limited to 12 athletes maximum in each program as the training groups are limited to ensure the health and safety of all of athletes and volunteers. We will be selecting athletes for the programs based on whether an athlete was previously registered in one of the sports offered, the athlete is able to attend the program on a regular basis, the athlete is comfortable participating during this time and able to follow all COVID-19 protocols in place for that sport program and then first come, first serve. If you’d like to learn more about the sport changes please visit: https://www.specialolympics.ca/sites/default/files/SOBC_ReturnToSportPlan_ProgramProgressions_08-10-20.pdf.

Currently we are asking for all athletes and volunteers to fill out their registration forms so that we have your updated information and can keep you informed as more programs and training opportunities are announced. Considering that many athletes won’t be able to participate we will not be collecting a registration fee at this time.

We are exploring virtual training opportunities that will help all athletes get active and healthy during this time and hope to bring you more information on that soon.

To read Special Olympics BC’s full return to sport plan please visit: https://www.specialolympics.ca/british-columbia/return-sport.

Special Olympics Nanaimo Return to Sport Update

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Hello everyone,

We’re getting closer to training again with the announcement by SOBC that a Return to Sport (RTS) plan has been developed and can be found on their website including highlights for athletes. You’ll see that they have put the safety of our volunteers, athletes and staff as the top priority in this plan. I encourage everyone to take some time to read the plan as it will give you a better sense of what you program may look like when it starts running again.

SOBC’s return to sport plan includes 12 pilot programs, in four sports (bocce, track, Club Fit and golf) running until the first week of August. Nanaimo has not been chosen to run any of the pilot programs but once the pilot programs are complete these sports may be opened to our Local.

SOBC will be working over the summer to get the specific sport plans ready for our fall sports and we will share this info with you as soon as we’re able to.

If you have any questions about the Return to Sport plan, SOBC has put together a FAQ that may answer it for you.

We thank you for your patience as we work through these tough times and look forward to getting back to sport as soon as we can!!

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
The Special Olympics Athlete’s Oath

If you have SO Nanaimo stories, results and pictures to share for the newsletter please send them to SOnewsnanaimo. Feedback on the newsletter always welcome!

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Special Olympics Nanaimo Return to Sport Update

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Hello everyone,

We’re excited to see some of the sports fields and training venues re-opening around town for modified usage. We know everyone is missing their programs but wanted to send out a reminder that we don’t have approval to return to sport yet and we’re unsure of when that announcement may come.

SOBC is working hard on return to play plans for each program to ensure all protocols and procedures are up to Government and Provincial Health standards. The plans are not a return to normal, but rather to a “new normal” which will require everyone to modify their behavior, stay informed, apply protective measures and follow public health advice.

You may have noticed many of the other sport organizations that are announcing return to play plans are focused on small groups and skill training mostly. Be prepared that your program may look different upon our return.

While we await more information we encourage everyone to continue to stay active and eat well. We will do our best to keep everyone updated as we move forward. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
The Special Olympics Athlete’s Oath

If you have SO Nanaimo stories, results and pictures to share for the newsletter please send them to SOnewsnanaimo. Feedback on the newsletter always welcome!

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Special Olympics Nanaimo Sport Update, AGM Change and Health Forums Reminder

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Since the Government of B.C.’s announcement of their plan to restart B.C. safely, we have been learning more about what the process will be for returning to sport. There have been some changes to the process since our memo in early May, so we wanted to provide an update on what this currently looks like for Special Olympics BC.

We have been working on the necessary plans to safely reactivate each of our sports and all of our programs and activities. Everyone’s safety is the highest priority. Before a specific sport or activity can reopen, the following things need to happen:

1. Provincial health guidelines for sports need to be released.

2. There needs to be a plan specific to that Special Olympics BC sport or activity.

3. The sport- or activity-specific plan needs to be approved by SOBC’s Board of Directors.

4. SOBC needs to provide education for coaches, Locals, and athletes on all the steps required to safely run that specific activity.

Special Olympics BC staff are building the plans and education for each of our sports and activities, working with fellow provincial sport organizations and provincial officials, to make sure everything will proceed safely.

Special Olympics BC will reopen a few sports at a time. This is in line with provincial health recommendations. Because some sports have less physical closeness and contact than others, those sports may be able to start again sooner than others. But we don’t yet have any dates to confirm. All Special Olympics BC programs and face-to-face activities remain paused until further notice.

Notifications of reopening opportunities will start to come out sport by sport, and activity by activity, as plans are approved and education is provided. Based on current available information, it seems likely there will not be any Special Olympics BC programs restarting before the end of the typical program year in June, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be anything in the summer, if local conditions allow.

The provincial standards are one thing, and we know that opportunities to reopen may look very different in each community. Once the provincial plans and education are available, to reopen a sport in a community there must be the Local Committee’s approval, open and available facilities, available volunteers, and interested athletes.

Special Olympics BC’s Program staff will work with Locals to pilot specific limited numbers of sports as their community capacity allows. Staff will learn from Locals about whether the plans on paper match the actual program experience, and revise accordingly.

We look forward to keeping everyone up to date as we learn more. We can’t wait to restart Special Olympics sports and activities. We know it means a great deal to a great many people. But we must put everyone’s safety first, and proceed in accordance with provincial health guidance.

Throughout the coming phases of the restart plan, we all must remember to keep focusing on personal hygiene, including hand washing, physical distancing, and staying at home if you are sick. For more information about the Government of B.C.’s Restart Plan, please visit: www.gov.bc.ca/restartbc.

Special Olympics BC is continuing the weekly at-home training and activity challenges, and we’re creating new resources to remotely support athletes and coaches as well as new virtual fundraisers. Please check out the SOBC website for tools to stay active, connected, positive, and informed, and stay tuned to our website and social media channels for ongoing updates.

Excerpted message from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry:

Our “new normal” is based on principles that apply to every person and every situation. These principles are the foundation of how we need to move forward with our B.C. plan, and will remain in place for the weeks and months ahead. These principles include:
1. Staying informed, being prepared and following public health advice;
2. Practising good hygiene – hand hygiene, avoid touching your face and respiratory etiquette;
3. Staying at home and away from others if you are feeling ill – with no exceptions – whether for school, work or socializing;
4. Maintaining physical distancing outside the household, e.g., no handshakes or hugs, keeping your number of contacts low and keeping a safe distance;
5. Making necessary contacts safer with appropriate controls, e.g., using plexiglass barriers or redesigning spaces;
6. Increasing cleaning of frequently touched surfaces at home and work;
7. Considering the use of non-medical masks in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as on transit or while shopping; and
8. Continuing to minimize non-essential personal travel.

I have seen the strength and resilience in British Columbians that I know will hold us in good stead in the months ahead. We must continue to keep our firewall strong and remain committed to our efforts to protect our province. Be kind, be calm, be safe.