“It’s fun to do workouts like skiing, track and field, and it’s fun to do all the different kind of sports. It’s also fun to see all the different people,” said Torben Schuffert, one of the members of the local Special Olympics athletes.
“I like the sports like track and field,” said Ann Forbes, describing why she participates.
Both were on hand last Thursday as the winners of a holiday fundraising raffle were drawn.
Volunteer coordinator Alexander Blum-Walker was pleased with the results of the raffle, saying that over $2,000 were raised for the group.
“That money will go towards sending athletes to events or purchasing equipment for the team,” he said.
According to Blum-Walker, all 800 tickets sold and there were some donations from different businesses.
One special prize was a Canucks hockey stick signed by Daniel Sedin. In addition, there was a wide variety of gift baskets and prizes which had been donated by local businesses.
There are about 36 participants in the program which features a wide range of sports.
“It’s not just about competition; it’s about healthy lifestyle,” said Blum-Walker.
He indicated that bowling was the most popular activity locally since it was accessible to all skill levels, but there are also athletes who participated in sports such as swimming up to the national level.
“Due to the size of the community, we focus on the individual sports instead of the team sports. Recently we’ve started snowshoeing and we have about eight to nine participants,” he said
Travel cost can be a deterrence for many sports in the area but, according to Blum-Walker, Special Olympics BC has helped.
“Last summer we went down to provincials and we never got a bill. They paid for our bus to go down there,” he said.
Anyone who is interested in helping the Special Olympics or wants information about participation can find contact information on Facebook at Special Olympics BC Smithers or their website at specialolympics.bc.ca/local/sobc-smithers.