With sincere thanks to all who have worked so hard to move the Special Olympics BC Return to Sport Plan forward safely, we would like to share the latest step in the slow, phased provincial progression. Bowling (5- and 10-pin), curling, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, Active Start, and FUNdamentals are joining figure skating, speed skating, and swimming in the Pilot Program phase. Locals can apply to the SOBC provincial office to host a pilot for these sports.
While selecting sports, the first thing we looked at was trying to reopen the lowest-risk outdoor sports first. Those were athletics, bocce, golf, and outdoor Club Fit, which are now at Level 1. Now that we are heading into fall, with days getting shorter and bad weather coming, we know we should try to get some of the lower-risk indoor sports open – so that is why the above sports are moving into the Pilot Program phase. These programs will run indoors.
Through all of this, the priority is the safety of participants. We will continue to act based on safety priorities, provincial health circumstances, and the feedback of athletes, coaches, and volunteers.
We want to thank all the volunteers and coaches who are making safe programs possible, and all those who have been attending the SOBC Return to Sport Town Halls and required coach training webinars. The upcoming coach training webinars are:
- September 15 (athletics, bocce, outdoor Club Fit, golf)
- September 17 (curling and swimming)
- September 23 (Club Fit and dryland training)
- September 24 (figure skating and speed skating)
- September 29 (bowling and powerlifting)
More webinars will be added as the need arises.
In the Town Halls, we introduced the core concepts for upcoming provincial virtual programs and virtual competitions. Because the numbers available in the first in-person programs are limited, and in-person competitions will not happen for some time, we want to make sure to provide these additional options. Please stay tuned for further tools that Locals will be able to offer as their time and resources allow.
Sincere thanks also go to everyone who has shared the news about the cancellation of the 2021 Special Olympics BC Summer Games, and provided reassurance and encouragement to those who are disappointed. This was a difficult decision, but it has created yet another opportunity to be inspired by SOBC athletes, coaches, and volunteers. So many have responded with support for each other and have prioritized everyone’s safety. There will be meaningful competitions again, both virtually and in person – we look forward to hearing your feedback on how to make this happen.
SOBC’s current Return to Sport status:
- Athletics, bocce, golf, and outdoor Club Fit are at Level 1, available to be offered by Locals around the province, once they receive approval from SOBC.
- Bowling (5- and 10-pin), curling, figure skating, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, speed skating, swimming, Active Start, and FUNdamentals are in the Pilot Program phase. Interested Locals can apply to SOBC to host a pilot in these sports.
Upcoming virtual options include, but are not limited to:
- Coaches will have access to multi-week SOBC virtual program outlines created by Sport Consultant Jacques Thibault, to help them lead sport-specific training through virtual connections. These virtual program packages will be launched in the coming weeks. These programs are modelled on the SOBC Basic Sport Skills tools, which focus on developing the fundamental skills for each SOBC sport. There are PDF packages online for every sport, and several videos to help athletes with at-home skill training. Videos in additional sports will be released in the coming weeks.
- Coach Development Webinars will begin again in the next few weeks – event details will be posted on the SOBC website.
- Locals can continue to offer the Virtual Fit Families & Friends program.
- Volunteers and coaches can connect with athletes to encourage participation in the SOBC Super September calendar of daily at-home workouts and wellness activities.
- Please continue to check the SOBC website for opportunities and Return to Sport Plan updates and resources.
- Please continue to share your thoughts on what you need and recommend during the slow, phased return to sport. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any SOBC staff member with questions and feedback.