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Spotlight on Special O: Swinging golf clubs as spring season winds up

June sees the end of the spring season. Here are some of the highlights from the past month.
Community development coordinator for Special Olympics BC, Chelsea Tambellini, and athlete Derick Pye.

June sees the end of the spring season. Here are some of the highlights from the past month. More to come over the summer… 

Chelsea Tambellini, community development coordinator for Special Olympics BC made a trip over to the Coast in May to meet with the executive and check out a couple of practices. I met up with her at a soccer practice in Gibsons where she happily led part of the warm up. 

Chelsea has held this position for what will be six years this October. She also helps run the Athlete Leadership Program. She routinely travels from Maple Ridge to our part of Region 5, where she enjoys interacting with the athletes, as well as being inspired by the volunteers. 

Her favourite sport outside of S.O. is swimming but she is partial to alpine skiing as a Special O sport. She has fond memories of representing Team BC at the national games in 2020 in Thunder Bay, ON, which happened just before the global pandemic. 

Two athletes who attended the practice were Kyle VanderHeide, and Derick Pye. Kyle has been playing for two years and what he enjoys most is always learning something new about the sport. Derick, a volunteer peer mentor coach, has held his position for “the last couple of years.” His goal like all the soccer players, is to “get out and have fun.” 

With the sun out and the sky blue, golfers are once again heading to the greens. Head coach Chuck Bertrand has held this position for approximately six years and this year he is working with eight athletes and four assistant coaches. Chuck has fun playing and kidding around with the athletes during regular practices where they begin with a warm up, then hit the driving range before moving onto putting. 

Chuck recalls a time when an athlete, with a hurt ankle, still managed to drive the ball and hit a bucket 20 yards away. 

Christel Jensen, a golfer for four years first joined because she “wanted to try something different.” Her favourite part of the sport is “learning from mistakes and striving to do better.” Her favourite memory is, “Hitting the ball 125 yards at the driving range.” 

With the closing of the spring/summer season approaching, two wind up events that are in the works are the SOSC AGM with a final soccer game and a friendly softball game with SCACL members. 

And on a final note, SOSC is grateful for the support from the District of Sechelt. The grant awarded us helps to cover the cost of facility rentals. Support from the greater community is what keeps Special O swinging and running and is most certainly a driving force.