Special volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed for a very special event.

Vernon is hosting the BC Special Olympics Feb. 21-24, and some 800 volunteers are required to make the Games a success.

Ross Parsons, SOBC volunteer co-ordinator, said they have 400 volunteers signed up, but more are needed in the medical field, such as nurses, LPNs and physiotherapists.

People to help out in food services are also needed.

“We have to make 800 lunches Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night,” said Parsons.

Volunteers are also needed in safety, accommodations and other areas.

Parsons said the volunteers will have a wonderful experience helping out.

“You are dealing with these very special athletes. It's just a feel-good thing. These are special, special people. They are just happy people,” said Parsons. “It's just a feel-good event.”

More than 800 athletes and support staff from across the province will be in town for the event.

The 2019 games will be the largest SOBC Winter Games to date, with a new sport being added to the roster. Five-pin bowling is moving from summer to winter, joining alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating.

To volunteer, people can sign up online or by calling 236-426-0109.

"Fifty years ago, a beacon of hope was ignited for people with intellectual disabilities. Previously cast in the shadows and shunned by society, the first Special Olympics Games in 1968 gave individuals with intellectual disabilities a place to shine," stated Meg Ishida, fundraising co-ordinator. "It started a movement that broke down barriers, challenged stereotypes, and shone a light towards inclusion and acceptance."

The event is an exciting and empowering experience for Special Olympics athletes. For many, these Games offer their first opportunity to experience travelling and being part of a team.

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