Despite wet conditions, Special Olympics BC Oceanside held another successful Charity Golf Tournament at Pheasant Glen Golf Resort in Qualicum Beach on Sept. 11.
Dark clouds and rain dampened the annual event but not the spirits of the orgnizers and participants.
Barbara McLeod, the SOBC Oceanside co-ordinator, was happy to see the golf tournament happen and was grateful for Pheasant Glen Golf, who has supported the non-profit organization for more than a decade, for providing them with tents to keep them dry and warm.
“This charity golf tournament is our one annual fundraising event,” said McLeod. “We don’t do a whole bunch of small one. Just this one. It helps us to pay for sports programs for the year. It’s a very important event for us.”
Due to COVID-19, McLeod said they limited the numbers this year to 72 participants, who enjoyed playing 18 holes of golf and the following dinner.
Oceanside Pipe Band, Qualicum Beach Pipe Band and Mount Arrowsmith Pipe Band joined forces in livening the day, performing a number of tunes.
McLeod expressed their gratitude for the people and sponsors who generously gave and supported Special Olympics. The full tally of the fundraiser has not been finalized but McLeod indicated they estimated it could be approximately $13,000.
“This is huge for us,” said McLeod. “It’s huge for our athletes. What the tournament allow is for us to run our program at no cost to our athletes. And that effectively removes the barriers from them for participating.”
Special Olympics is geared towards people with intellectual disability. They provide them with an opportunity to enhance their life and celebrate personal achievement through positive sport and leadership experiences.
“Sometimes folks mix that up,” said McLeod. “They mixed up Paralympics with Special Olympics. Paralympics are people with physical challenges.”
The programs give athletes the chance to gain skills – in sports and in life – and to improve their health while enjoying training that could take them to competitions at local, regional, national and international levels.
SOBC Oceanside offers year-round programs for athletes that feature training and competition in individual and team sports that include swimming, curling, club fit, bowling, basketball, softball, golf, track and field, soccer and bocce ball. Some also get to compete in provincial summer and winter games.
“Special Olympics provides an opportunity for inclusion for athletes that are very, otherwise, isolated socially,” said McLeod. “We’ve got some athletes who are super interested in being involved with our community and the opportunities are limited. So by being involved in our sports programs, they’re out there in the community, they’re using community facilities, people are seeing them participate, they are seeing their abilities not their disabilities which is huge.”
McLeod said most of their members are adults between the ages of 15 and 60-plus, coming from Nanoose Bay to Deep Bay.
“The younger people are involved in more strenuous sports and as they age they’ll move more to bowling and bocce ball, less physical sports,” said McLeod.
Currently, SOBC Oceanside are in need of volunteer coaches in basketball, swimming and curling as well as program volunteer for bowling. To get involved you their web page at www.sobcoceanside.ca or contact McLeod via email at email@example.com