Special Olympics BC - Cowichan Valley
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The Cowichan Valley local was formed in 1995 and has over 100 athletes age 12 years and up and all have developmental disabilities. We are an entirely volunteer run organization and solely rely on fundraising to keep our programs going.
Special Olympics is a world-wide program providing sports training and competition for people with an intellectual disability. Special Olympics Canada is recognized by Sport Canada as the main provider of these services to people who have an intellectual disability.
In the early sixties Dr. Frank Hayden, a Toronto researcher, proved that given the opportunity, individuals with an intellectual disability could become physically fit and acquire the physical skills necessary to participate in sport. His work came to the attention of the Kennedy Foundation in Washington D.C., and led to the creation of Special Olympics.
In 1968 the first Special Olympics were held in Chicago. Dr. Hayden called upon his friend Harry (Red) Foster to lead the team to Chicago and upon his return, Red began laying the foundation for the Canadian Special Olympics movement. From these modest beginnings the Special Olympics movement has spread across the country.
B.C Special Olympics was incorporated in 1980 and now joins over two million athletes from over 160 countries throughout the world.
Currently, Special Olympics BC provides high-quality sports programs and competitions that help people with intellectual disabilities celebrate personal achievement and gain confidence, skills and friendships. There are now more than 4,100 Special Olympics athletes participating in year-round programs in 55 communities around BC, supported by more than 3,200 dedicated volunteers.