Youth Program Coaches provide fundamental techniques to build lifelong skills

Active start and FUNdevelopment programs

Special Olympics PEI have three Youth Programs for athletes ages 2 - 21.

These programs are based on the knowledge that if young athletes with an intellectual disability are provided early instruction in the areas of basic motor skills and developmentally appropriate play, there is an excellent opportunity for improvement in physical, social and cognitive abilities.

The success of these programs is due to the dedicated coaches and volunteers that are involved. For National Coaches Week, and every week, we say #ThankYouCoach to:

Kieran Goodwin has been volunteering with SOPEI since the summer of 2016 with Charlottetown FUNdamentals and is the Head Coach of Charlottetown Youth Multi-Sport. He continues to be very engaged in coach education and created content for our virtual programming during Covid on the athletes Facebook group. Kieran and his extended family have a close connection to the Special Olympics movement across the country, his sister works for Special Olympics Yukon and they came together to fundraise as Tommy's Angels in the Virtual 5K in August.

Madeline Burdges joined the SOPEI volunteer family in the fall of 2016 as Assistant Coach for Charlottetown Active Start and has been a Program Volunteer with the Charlottetown Adult Community Sport program. She is very committed to the programs in which she serves, along with pursuing her passion in Occupational Therapy, and we are so lucky to have her enriching the lives of many athletes with her leadership.

Ella Morrison also started volunteering in the fall of 2017 as a Program Volunteer with the Charlottetown Active Start program. In this role, she is supporting athletes under the age of 10 who are developing their fundamental movement skills and enriching the lives of athletes and their families.

Tracey Demeulenaere, Charlottetown Active Start Head Coach, started in the fall of 2017 and her whole family is very involved with the Special Olympics movement on PEI. Her husband Mike an integral member of the Law Enforcement Torch Run committee, daughter Kelsey is an Active Start athlete, they have been very open about sharing their story to help other's new to the journey of having a child with an intellectual disability and fundraising to support the programs and services offered across the Island.  Tracey is also a volunteer with the Healthy Athletes programs sharing her background and expertise as a dental hygienist, she is currently taking the clinical director training for the Special Smiles. This year, Mike and Tracey's oldest daughter, Naomi, also plans to begin her journey as a SOPEI volunteer in support of programs that her sister Kelsey is participating in.

Jenna Arbing joined the Charlottetown Active Start program in the winter of 2019 as an Assistant Coach. Her family also has a connection to the Special Olympics movement as her father, Shane, used to work for Special Olympics PEI. Jenna brings a great deal of expertise from her education and work experiences with families and other organizations who serve the needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

Thank you all for sharing your skills and time to enrich the lives of Special Olympics athletes across the Island.

Active Start (ages 2-6)

Active Start is designed for children aged 2 to 6 years with an intellectual disability. This fun program uses colorful activities and movements in a close setting. Children learn basic motor skills in small groups, helping them to grow and become more confident in their movements. Program leaders introduce children to the world of sport by developing fundamental movement skills like walking, running, jumping and balancing. These skills provide support for everyday activities as well as a base for Special Olympics sports training and competition as athletes grow older. Parents / guardians work one-on-one with their child while being led by a head coach.

FUNdamentals (ages 7-12)

FUNdamental program


FUNdamentals is designed for children aged 7-12 years with an intellectual disability. FUNdamentals is a skills specific training program for children with an intellectual disability. Children are taught basic sport motor skills in a fun atmosphere. These skills provide support for everyday activities as well as a base for Special Olympics sports training and competition as athletes grow older. Athletes learn basic rules of sport like softball, basketball, and soccer. FUNdamentals also teaches children cooperation and social skills, along with nutritional information.  The many benefits of this program include building trust, feelings of accomplishment and making new friends. FUNdamentals programs are run by a head coach and program volunteers.

Youth Multi Sport (ages 8-21) 

This NEW Youth Program offers an introduction to a variety of Special Olympics sports, in a recreational, non-competitive environment. Sports being considered for the program include soccer, basketball, bocce, and athletics.