Sunshine Bowler and Special Olympics athlete Ken Hyde hangs out with Smokey the Bear during an outing at Cariboo Bowling Lanes in March of 2012. This year in Williams Lake Special Olympics will be offering up two new sports — swimming and soccer

Sunshine Bowler and Special Olympics athlete Ken Hyde hangs out with Smokey the Bear during an outing at Cariboo Bowling Lanes in March of 2012. This year in Williams Lake Special Olympics will be offering up two new sports — swimming and soccer

Special Olympics program looking for co-ordinator

The Special Olympics program has been thriving off and on for the past 15 years in Williams Lake.

The Special Olympics program has been thriving off and on for the past 15 years in Williams Lake.

But, without more volunteer support, the local programs could be in danger of not receiving the attention they need, said Kristin Webster, North and Central Interior manager of community development with Special Olympics B.C.

“They’ve done a variety of programs over the years in Williams Lake,” Webster said.

“But the program was recently on a hiatus and last season was their first season back.”

Currently there is no local co-ordinator for the Special Olympics program in Williams Lake.

“We would love to find someone by September,” Webster said, adding the Special Olympics program runs from September until June. “Programs are going to move ahead, anyway, because we still want the athletes to have their programs to go to.”

With 25 registered athletes of all ages and new coaches, this year’s Special Olympics program locally offered up five-pin bowling and snowshoeing to its participants.

“What’s exciting is this coming season they’re going to be adding swimming and soccer to that lineup,” Webster said.

“They’re a really great group and really good athletes. Some of them have participated for many, many years and there are also some brand new athletes.”

The five-pin bowling team, the Sunshine Bowlers, have even travelled to other communities like Quesnel, 100 Mile House and Prince George to compete in regional events and tournaments.

But because the program didn’t run last year, Williams Lake’s athletes weren’t able to compete in this July’s Special Olympics provincial competition in Langley.

“When we came back last year we started off rebuilding the program around the Sunshine Bowling team,” Webster said.

“We appreciate the support that we have, the athletes are phenomenal, and people are starting to come forward [to volunteer].

“The athletes are just thrilled to have more options like soccer and swimming.

“But the further we can take it will be good for Williams Lake.”

For more information on Williams Lake’s Special Olympics program, or to volunteer, contact Webster by phone at 250-570-1455 or by e-mail at kwebster@specialolympics.bc.ca.

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