Three local athletes are off to the Special Olympics BC Winter Provincial Games in February, and are preparing for the games with the first-ever Golden Snow Camp.
Sebastian Gylander, Shelly Poland, and John Templeton qualified in the regional snow events last year, and will compete at the BC Provincial Winter Games in Vernon on February 23. If they qualify at the provincial games, they could move onto the Canadian Nationals in Thunder Bay, Ont. in 2020.
The Golden Snow Camp is the first of its kind, on January 19 and 20, in preparation for the coaches and athletes performance at the Special Olympics Winter Provincial Games, which is held in Vernon this year.
At 7:45 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18, the community is invited to Spirit Square for a meet and greet with all of the athletes and coaches. The event is open to the public, and everyone is invited to greet Special Olympics athletes from all over the Kootenays. Bagpipers will bring in the athletes over the pedestrian bridge, and the Golden Rockets will welcome the athletes into Spirit Square. Local officials and others will personally greet the athletes and coaches.
The next day, the Golden Nordic Ski Club and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will host a training sessions day for the athletes and coaches. That evening, the athletes and coaches will enjoy a banquet, and Metis Nation dancers will attend to teach the athletes traditional Metis dancing.
On Sunday, athletes and coaches will attend dryland training sessions before attending an anti-bullying session. Around midday, the athletes will board the bus and return home.
There are more than 50 athletes and coaches participating in the snow camp from Invermere, Kimberley, Cranbrook, Nelson, Trail, Castlegar, and Grand Forks. The camp will develop athletes skills, and provides the opportunity for team building within the Kootenay region.
Special Olympics BC Golden offers various sporting opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities. The group of local athletes range in age from five to 40 years old. Golden offers swimming, bowling, golfing, Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, snowshoeing, and dryland training. Special Olympics BC Golden is a non-profit agency that relies on donations, local fundraising, and volunteers to coach the athletes.